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Napa City Council to consider buying site previously meant for Sanctuary Village housing

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Sanctuary Village

A pedestrian with a stroller walks past a lot where Sanctuary Village housing project was to be built in Napa before a lease agreement expired in August without a development deal. The city of Napa is considering whether to buy the site to build affordable housing there.

The Napa City Council on Tuesday will consider buying a 2.75-acre parcel at 3875 Jefferson St., once intended for the nonprofit housing project known as Sanctuary Village, for the purpose of building affordable housing there.

The council previously negotiated with the property owner, the Napa Valley Lutheran Church, during a closed session in early September. Authorization on Tuesday will allow the city to move ahead with a $2.5 million purchase of the land — along with $200,000 for appraisal, due diligence and other taxes and fees connected to the purchase — using funds dedicated for affordable housing.  

The Sanctuary Village project was envisioned by the late Napa developer Harry Price to include homes for some of Napa’s most vulnerable residents. Following Price's death in 2019, his widow Linda Price attempted to carry on the project. But she was unable to find a development partner by an Aug. 1 end-of-lease deadline.

Price said in a Friday interview that she’s happy the site will be used for affordable housing, though the eventual project will likely be much different from the Sanctuary Village idea. She also noted that she hopes developing the Sanctuary Village site will take pressure off the possible development of housing in Skyline Wilderness Park, east of the city limits.

Price noted that the original Sanctuary Village vision included plans for housing clients from Napa nonprofits such as NEWS Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse Services and Serenity Homes, along with open space and a vegetable garden.

“I’m just glad it’s at least going to low-income housing,” Price said. “I know they’ve needed places for affordable housing, and this seems like an ideal place.”

Deputy city manager Molly Rattigan said in an email that the deal isn’t yet final, but city staff wouldn’t recommend moving forward with the agreement if they didn’t think it was a viable opportunity they wanted to pursue.

“Tuesday’s requested action will allow the City Manager to enter into a Purchase and Sale Agreement that will include an appraisal and due diligence process,” Rattigan said in an email. “Once those processes are complete and assuming all turns out well, the purchase would then move forward.”

Rattigan also noted that several steps to actually transform the site into affordable housing would be required after the city buys the land — including finding an affordable housing developer and the creation of development plans.

“The proposal is to use funds for affordable housing development to purchase the property but no decisions on number of units, for-sale versus rental opportunities, or what the project will look like has been determined,” wrote Rattigan. “All those pieces will come together once we determine how to move forward.”

Editor's note: A previous version of this story misstated the amount proposed to be authorized by the Napa City Council for purchasing the Jefferson Street parcel.

Joelle Gallagher and Suzanne Truchard are running to represent Napa County's 1st supervisorial district.

You can reach Edward Booth at 707-256-2213.

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