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A planned supportive housing complex that has stirred stiff resistance from its potential neighbors in north Napa will come before the city’s land-use authority Thursday night.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to debate the proposed Heritage House development in a special 6 p.m. meeting at City Hall. The project, which would occupy the site of the former Sunrise Assisted Living senior home at 3700 Valle Verde Drive, would combine low-income housing with a re-housing program for those dealing with homeless, mental illness and addiction.

Endorsement by the five- member commission would put Heritage House on track for a final approval vote by the City Council next year. But in recent months, a group of homeowners has rallied against the plan, warning that such a concentration of transients and substance abusers would endanger lives and property in a neighborhood that includes numerous homes, a retirement center and Vintage High School.

Much of the pushback against Heritage House stems from a key funding source – California’s No Place Like Home program, which uses state bond sales to help cities pay for housing for the mentally ill and long-term homeless.

Project backers Burbank Housing Co. of Santa Rosa and Abode Services, the Napa County homeless outreach contractor, were awarded $7.9 million from the state program, more than a quarter of Heritage House’s $28.5 million budget. The state funding includes a condition to accept tenants “regardless of sobriety, participation in services or treatment, history of incarceration, credit, or history of eviction.”

“A population with several mental disorders, substance abusers, possibly sex offenders … what could possibly go wrong?” Suzanne Berry asked the commission at an August meeting at which more than 15 residents predicted grave risks to public safety unless Heritage House demands sobriety and treatment of its clients.

Other north Napa residents have said they support Heritage House’s goal of re-housing, but have called for such a program to open in south Napa instead, closer to either Napa State Hospital or the county Health and Human Services department at the Napa Valley Commons.

The project, a joint effort of Burbank Housing of Santa Rosa and Napa County’s homeless outreach contractor Abode Services, calls for 58 single-room-occupancy units and eight one-bedroom apartments. People emerging from homelessness would be allotted half the units, while Heritage House would open the other half to tenants with incomes below the local median. Another 24 dwellings would occupy a new three-story apartment building to be built near Salvador Creek.

The fight over Heritage House is the latest skirmish involving the Valle Verde Drive property, where the Sunrise senior home closed 15 years ago. Ever since, attempts to redevelop the site have run into stiff resistance, and even litigation, from neighborhood residents.

When the city approved the 57-unit Napa Creekside Apartments for the property, residents successfully sued to block that project on the grounds of inadequate environmental study of its impact on fish in nearby Salvador Creek. Bridge Housing Co. abandoned the apartment plan in 2016 and sold the parcel to the Gasser Foundation.

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You can reach Howard Yune at 707-256-2214 or hyune@napanews.com

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City of Napa/Town of Yountville Reporter

Howard Yune covers the city of Napa and the town of Yountville. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.