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Take real action on water and development

Take real action on water and development

  • Updated

To the Board of Supervisors: I'm now hopeful that the county will take a more holistic approach to our rivers and streams in the county ("State dissatisfied with Napa wine country groundwater plan," July 19). All of our water resources are connected. Everything is connected.

One cannot simply look at the sub basin; an unrealistic view of only part of our water courses here. You all know we have areas with severe problems and assuming that all is well is contra-indicative.

And we continue to allow development and actually incentivize intensification. A real slap in the face of our need for watershed protections came out of the sham of a water ordinance, which allows more deforestation. FYI: Dr. Amber Manfree finished her analysis, parcel by parcel, of the Water Quality and Tree Protection Ordinance, and, as we warned you, it only saves, at best, an additional 3 percent of forested land. I congratulate you on a most positive political ordinance.

We required the state to step in on Bremer and now the state has to step in to tell us we can't circumvent a real sustainability process through this pathetic attempt at the alternative methodology. How can you continue to ignore the Clean Water Act? Our Napa River is impaired and the fish will not return until the river bottom is rock, not dirt.

As I prepared to assist the Growers/Vintners for Responsible Ag in preparing comments for the new Small Winery Ordinance, I reviewed the 1990 Winery Definition Ordinance (WDO) draft environmental impact report, the meeting notes, the WDO itself and the Grand Jury report from 1989, it jumped out at me that all the various problems with wine industry growth that they listed would require mitigations, have been ignored.

Of course, water quantity and quality was deemed to require mitigations, yet arguably nothing substantive has been done. You won't even leave the forests alone.

But let me give you another quote from the draft environmental impact report: " Any increased demand in service caused by new wineries or expanded uses may adversely affect the ability of County-wide fire protection services to provide adequate response."

Supervisors, take warning. We have passed the thresholds for increased development already. We need to cap all commercial activity in the Agricultural Preserve and especially in the Agricultural Watershed. No more aspirational language and political maneuvering to satisfy the very small greedy segment of the industry.

If you possess any wisdom, you will clearly see that our visitors' experience here in Napa is rapidly turning sour. Would you come back here a second time after getting caught in traffic at 4:15 returning to your hotel in Napa? I don't know anyone that will put up with that kind of experience.

At the same time our residents, our citizens, your bosses are seeing their quality of life here diminish rapidly.

Mike Hackett


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