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The Napa Valley Register editorial board cited the fear of unintended consequences created through the initiative process as its rationale for not endorsing Measure D.

This position ignores a fundamental political reality: the initiative process has become the only way to make land use changes in Napa County.

Measure J adopted in 1990 requires any changes in zoning in the Agricultural Preserve to go before a vote of the people. Measure P adopted in 2008 reaffirmed this bedrock of our preservation of agricultural land.

Napa County Supervisors are nervous to make even small changes to the zoning code for fear of breaking the letter if not the spirit of Measure J and Measure P. Supervisor Dillon recently expressed just such a concern in the meeting to present the 9111 report on the upcoming Measure D.

Whether you agree or disagree with the supervisors, we are left with a situation where the only practical path to updating land use in Napa County is through the initiative process. And yes this does create the risk of unintended consequences.

A leading Bay Area land use law firm drafted Measure D. So it’s not a forgone conclusion Measure D is lacking in concept or execution. Only by taking a closer look at the full text of Measure D can you gauge the risk of unintended consequences.

Measure D removes six words in the zoning code to ban personal use heliports. That’s not a typo – six words. Another 15 words are deleted and 146 added to tighten up the language around the use of helicopters for direct agricultural production. This closes a potential loophole to call personal use agricultural use.

Measure D is about as tight as tight gets. There is no change to the sections of the zoning code for emergency medical use or the installation or maintenance of utility lines. Claims to the contrary are simply false.

It’s easy - Yes on D bans personal use heliports.

Rob Pursell


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