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Downtown Napa

Downtown Napa is seen in September 2016 from a scaffold surrounding the steeple of First Presbyterian Church. The city is seeking a group of up to 15 volunteers to form a committee that will advise city staff, planners and council members on a new general plan, which is expected to guide land-use and development decisions through 2040.

Napa is preparing to write a new guidebook to the city’s growth and development for the next 20 years – with help from a team of advisers to be selected Tuesday afternoon.

In a special meeting, the City Council will choose the members of an advisory committee that will work with city officials to share ideas and criticism for a new general plan that will guide development through about 2040. The document, which will replace an existing plan drafted in 1998, will lay out the patterns of growth and development in various parts of the city of 79,000 residents.

Twenty-three candidates drawn from 66 applicants are scheduled to be interviewed by council members, who are expected to choose 10 to 15 people for the committee. In a recruiting effort that ran from August to September, Napa sought residents, business owners, members of neighborhood groups and others with stakes in the city.

On Tuesday, each interview session between a candidate and a council will last up to six minutes, and council members will score applicants on a 1-to-5 scale before voting on their selections, according to City Clerk Dorothy Roberts.

Those who are chosen as advisers will be asked to meet about once every two months for the next two years, to fulfill a city goal of passing its new general plan in 2020.

City Council member Doris Gentry said Friday, however, that she may press her fellow council members to revisit the entire list of finalists for the committee. The list, selected by a two-member council subcommittee, does not include a broad enough spectrum of city residents and stakeholders, including business owners, she said.

Partnering with Napa in the general plan’s creation is Dyett & Bhatia, an urban planning firm based in Oakland. The process began with two public “conversation starter” forums in May and June to share new developments in technology and urban planning.

Also Tuesday, council members will decide whether to send a letter opposing a U.S. Senate bill intended to streamline the permitting of small-cell wireless transmitters – a step some cities and state argue will strip them of any local oversight or ability to recover costs. If approved, the letter would be sent to California’s two senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.

Introduced in June, Senate Bill 3157 would impose a “shot clock” of between 60 and 150 days for states and cities to approve or deny cell transmitter applications, and declare them “deemed granted” if no decision is made by the deadline. Application fees also would be limited to the “actual and direct costs” of reviewing and processing inquiries, as well as maintenance costs.

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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.