It was good to hear that the Napa Airport Commission deadlocked on the Palmaz heliport issue. Hopefully, this will give everyone more time to step back and reflect on the irrevocable harm such an installation will have on our community.
Plumas County permitted a heliport, and a resident of that community took the time to share with Napa County supervisors her experiences with the resulting degradation of the quality of life in what was once a quiet and rural valley. I hope Napa County listens, but I don’t know.
Recently, I wrote to the supervisors questioning why wineries that have blatantly violated the terms of their use permits were being granted increases in production capacity as well as the number of visitors permitted. I pointed out that such policies continually alter the quality of life in our valley and adversely impact the environment.
Commendably, most of the supervisors responded, but the message was scripted; were it not for the wine industry Napa Valley would be dotted with ticky-tacky houses. That wasn’t my point; the Ag Preserve took care of the original issue of agriculture vs development, or so I thought. My comments were addressed to expansion.
The preserve allowed the industry to operate within certain parameters; many of which have not been observed.
So back to the heliport. Other than helipads that exist for emergency access, we don’t need it. It represents no part of the greater good. We are a small valley and a 20- minute drive is just not that much of a hardship no matter how busy you are. Use permits enable a municipality to control certain uses that could have a detrimental effect on the community.
There is no way the proposed heliport with its precedent-setting potential is not detrimental to our community. It is up to the supervisors to recognize the 136,000-plus reasons they have to deny a personal heliport; the welfare of the residents of Napa Valley. We have a vibrant tourist industry as evidenced by the 3.5 million visitors last year who think our valley is special; I’d like to see it stay that way.