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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 has selected 13 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.

For the next two years, a baker’s dozen of Napa residents and others with ties to the city will advise officials on a new guide to development and growth – a plan that could reshape Napa for two decades.

The City Council on Tuesday accepted 13 members for an advisory committee for Napa’s new general plan, choosing an architect, a winemaker, two engineers, two educators, a bicycling advocate and the lawyer for a hotel developer, among others. Those selected will meet roughly once every two months for the next two years, sharing their expertise with council members and staff as they seek to pass a new general plan by 2020.

The document will replace an existing plan dating to 1998, and set the patterns for growth and development in different sections of Napa through about 2040.

The general plan committee will include:

- Chuck Shinnamon, a civil engineer and member of the Napa Housing Coalition

- John Glaser, former superintendent of the Napa Valley Unified School District

- Stephen Cuddy, a Napa architect

- Danielle Barreca, a real estate broker

- Deborah MacDonald, member of the city Cultural Heritage Commission

- Ted Ward, assistant principal at Redwood Middle School

- Jason Priestley, project engineer at Wright Contracting

- Lauren Ackerman, owner of Ackerman Family Vineyards and the historic Ackerman Heritage House

- Howard Siegel, former Napa County director of housing and intergovernmental affairs

- Patrick Band, executive director of the Napa County Bicycle Coalition

- Jennifer Stewart, executive director of the Napa Valley Education Foundation

- Tony Zand, general counsel for Pacific Hospitality Group, developer of the Meritage Resort and Spa

- Michelle Dahme, a Napa resident who serves as the Yountville town clerk

After a monthlong recruiting campaign that started in August, Napa received applications from 66 candidates and winnowed the list to 23 finalists, of whom all but two appeared Tuesday at City Hall for six-minute interviews with the council. Council members then made their choices after scoring applicants on a 1-to-5 scale, with a 5 as the highest mark.

The selection process will have one more chapter, as council members agreed to leave open two more committee seats in hopes of increasing Hispanic representation while crafting the new general plan. Barreca is the only Hispanic among the 13 chosen Tuesday.

The Napa council moved to fill out the general plan committee despite a call by Councilmember Doris Gentry to delay any decision to January, to let council members chosen in next Tuesday’s election have a say. She also called the list of candidates lacking in business owners and developers, and suggested guaranteeing two slots each for retirees, homemakers, historic preservation experts and others.

Gentry’s suggestion, however, was rejected and the committee chosen as scheduled.

“We’ve narrowed down the field to what’s manageable to interview and select,” Scott Sedgley said at the start of what became a nearly three-hour session. “I’m happy with the list we have; to delay now would be a waste of our time and the applicants’ time.”

Napa’s road to a new general plan began when it hosted two public forums in May and June to publicize technology and urban planning trends that could reshape Napa and other cities over the next 20 years. The city is partnering in its project with Dyett & Bhatia, an urban planning firm based in Oakland.

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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.