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Napa Planning Commission delays decision on Western Meadows Subdivision

Napa Planning Commission delays decision on Western Meadows Subdivision


The proposed 12-home Western Meadows Subdivision is on hold after the city planning commission asked for more technical details.

The project, proposed by Borrette Lane Estates LLC, would divide a 7.56-acre parcel at 1044 Borrette Lane into 12 new lots, build 12 single-family detached houses upon those lots and add a new street to serve those homes.

Access to the project would also be dependent on a 56-foot public right of way easement which the applicant is required by a condition in the project to acquire from the neighboring property owner — Kirk Reid and Karen Reid of Reid Family Vineyards, which is located on the neighboring property — to dedicate to the city.

The commission was expected to make a recommendation this week on the project to the Napa City Council, which is responsible for making a final decision. But the commission voted instead to put aside the item and take it up at a later date — which will be determined by city staff — because architectural elevations listed in the project application didn’t match up with elevations depicted in two renderings of the proposed house designs.

Kirk Geyer, architect of the project, said at the meeting the reason for the discrepancy is because the development team had moved beyond the initial stages of the project to the renderings, which he said are closer to what the developer actually intends to build.

City planner Steven Rosen said the application does contain some elevations that aren’t going to happen, but it also shows the floor plans for each building. The commissioners were therefore expected to look at the two renderings provided and extrapolate the two possible architectural styles for the houses onto the different floor plans, he said.

“Staff normally strives to get exactly what the project is,” Rosen said. “In this case, we didn’t quite achieve that.”

Commissioner Bob Massaro said he was supportive of the map, but it’d be simple for the applicant to come back with two sets of elevations, one for each house design.

Commissioner Gordon Huether said at the meeting that the project is beautiful, consistent with the city’s general plan, and meets the city’s standards. Echoing the other commissioners, he added that he’s willing to support the project, but he wants to see the application come back “fully baked.”

Several Napa residents who live near the proposed subdivision raised concerns in public comments. The project also depends upon the easement that would be provided by the Reids.

Kirk Reid talked at the meeting specifically about the public access easement, which he said would essentially run across his front yard. He said and he and his wife, Karen, are concerned about an increase in traffic noise and risk if 12 homes are developed. He said he’s not against subdivision of the property, and would be supportive of a seven-parcel subdivision.

The easement is the source of a lawsuit filed March 9 by developer Michael Turk, CEO of the San Diego-based KD Development against Kirk and Karen Reid, which alleges that they understood the landlocked lots they sold in 1987 to Donald Logan — sole member of Borrette Lane Estates, LLC — would be eventually be developed, and that an easement for access was intended to accommodate that future development.

The suit asks for an order compelling the defendants to “acknowledge, in a form and format satisfactory to the City of Napa, that the Easement was, and is, contemplative of and created for the purpose of, serving the subdivision and development of lots 3 and 4.”

Reid urged the commission to postpone any decisions on the subdivision project until the easement issue is resolved. His attorney, Malcolm Mackenzie, said they still hope to have a mutual agreement come out of the situation and also urged the commission to not make any decisions.

Erin Morris, planning and code enforcement division manager for the city, said at the meeting that if the applicant isn’t able to obtain the easement, the city would be obligated to enter into an agreement with the applicant to use the eminent domain process to acquire it. The applicant would also have to agree to pay all the city’s costs associated with the eminent domain process, she added.

In response to a question from commissioner Ricardo Hurtado, Randy Gularte, a real estate broker leading the project, said the development team is not interested in lowering the number of proposed housing units. Similarly, Morris said, the planning staff hears from the city council, through the city manager, that housing is a priority for the city and the city should make the best use it can of the land it has left.

Morris added that the city can’t impose a condition of approval that reduces density of the project, because doing so would be at odds with the state’s Housing Accountability Act.

Michael Allen, associate planner for the city, also said the city has long been interested in adding medium to high-density housing, and not low-density housing, as prescribed in the city’s general plan.

“Napa’s a city that’s very landlocked, as you all know, there’s very little land left available for housing,” Allen said. “We don’t really want to waste land that we have very little left of.”

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You can reach Edward Booth at (707) 256-2213 or email him at You can follow him on Twitter at @Edward_E_Booth. 

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