A patch of grapevines surrounded by suburbia — a 3.5-acre remnant of wine country within Napa city limits — may start giving way to 20 new houses.
Napa’s city Planning Commission on Thursday lent its support to Saratoga Vineyard, a subdivision that would replace the vineyard occupying a rectangular tract at the corner of Saratoga and Capitola drives. Edenbridge Homes, a Cupertino developer that previously developed more than 80 Napa homes, seeks to build two-story houses on both sides of a new cul-de-sac branching west from a new, block-long stretch of Capitola that will connect Saratoga with Liberty Drive to the north.
If given final approval next month by the City Council, grading of the property should start in the spring of 2020, with home construction to continue through the end of 2021, said Eric Zweig, planning director of Edenbridge, which has a contract to buy the property.
The company earlier developed Napa projects on Wine Country Road, Napier Court and West Lincoln Avenue, as well as a 32-home development south of the vineyard site.
Saratoga Vineyard’s build-out would continue the housing growth that has reshaped the areas of Napa east of the Silverado Trail.
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The vineyard has continued to produce wine grapes amid the growth of housing tracts at its edges since the early 1990s and the extension of Saratoga Drive in 2014.
All homes at Saratoga Vineyard would be two stories with four bedrooms, and buyers will be offered a choice of three exterior finishes and three floor plans ranging from 1,968 to 2,363 square feet, according to Zweig.
The three commissioners endorsing Saratoga Vineyard (Paul Kelley and Reed Oñate were absent) added a condition for six of the houses to include plumbing and utility connections to allow their owners to easily convert a ground-floor bedroom into a junior dwelling, a step Commissioner Gordon Huether strongly urged to provide more “flexibility and creativity” for households with older relatives or adult children — or the desire to rent out a de facto studio apartment for added income.
Zweig said Edenbridge also may offer a pre-finished accessory dwelling as an option to home buyers on request.
Among about a half-dozen neighborhood residents speaking up on the project, concerns dealt less with the homes themselves than with ensuring safety on nearby streets — especially as the plan calls for developers to close a block-long missing link in Capitola Drive, a step some residents feared could encourage speeding without added safety measures. The new T-shaped intersection formed by the Capitola extension will include stop signs on all three legs, according to Steven Rosen, associate planner for the city.
Napa earlier proposed completing Capitola Drive as a tie-in to another housing proposal, for 17 houses off Terrace Drive to the east. That subdivision won city approval in late 2016, but did not break ground before its permits expired, according to the city.