Webster’s Dictionary: issue, n., v., (1) The act of sending out or putting forth; promulgation; distribution. (2) A point in question or a matter that is in dispute. (3) A matter or dispute, the decision of which is of special or public importance. (4) A point at which a matter is ready for decision. (5) The result or outcome of a proceeding.
The fight to protect Napa Valley’s water from the excesses of development heads to the hills. More
NAPA VISION 2050 website provides a host of resources and up-to-date information on countywide issues and advocates to preserve local values and to protect our water resources, forests, rural communities, agriculture and open space. Visit the website often for details on countywide issues.
BACKGROUND REGARDING COUNTYWIDE ISSUES
Birth of Napa Vision 2050
In the latter half of 2014, community activism in the form of public comments and letters to the Planning Commission and to the Board of Supervisors from a broad base of residents testifying to impacts of various proposed projects increased scrutiny of the cumulative impacts that the current permitting and development practices of the county were having on the county. Added to this fervor were an increasing number of appeals of permit approvals for various proposed discretionary developments and projects around the county. This activity led the county Board of Supervisors to call for better analysis of the current conditions and for greater forward-going community input. A joint meeting of the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors was scheduled for March 10, 2015, to begin that analysis and to potentially revisit county policies and regulations as a county planning staff priority for 2015 and 2016.
As momentum grew among residents attending county meetings it became evident that a broader organization was needed to effect any substantive changes. In January 2015, neighborhood citizen groups that had just been born as well as community and preservation groups that had operated in isolation for many years came together to form a “grand coalition” representing the one constituency - residents - that had consistently been left out of previous planning decisions. Fifty leaders of distinct “stake-holder” organizations from various corners of Napa County met in Napa to organize and pool their energy and resources. The meeting was unprecedented in recent times.
Throughout late January and February 2015, coalition meetings were held in anticipation of and preparation for the March 10, 2015, public meeting and hearing. A Steering Committee, comprising a representative from each of the groups in the coalition, was formed to identify common concerns, develop a name and structure, and discuss objectives and action plans. The group portends collaborative change building on the legacy of the visionary leaders of the 1960’s and ‘70’s who created the Agricultural Preserve and the Rural Urban Limits to prevent Napa County from replicating the sprawl of subdivisions and strip malls that dominate so many communities of the Bay Area. The group seeks a sustainable approach to both agriculture and wine making and marketing that protects local values. From these meetings, NAPA VISION 2050 emerged.
NAPA VISION 2050 was powerfully evident at the March 10, 2015 joint meeting of the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, which drew over 400 people together. Citizens, including Save Rural Angwin representatives, voiced concerns about the impacts of growth, compounding of traffic, diminishing water resources, and movement by wineries to increasingly become “event centers”.
Following the March 10, 2015 joint meeting, NAPA VISION 2050 worked to refine the coalition’s short and long-term goals and objectives, to educate members and general public on land use issues including a CEQA workshop (Grassroots Guide to CEQA’s Purpose, Power and Process), and began participating in educational events and forums such as Earth Day (April) and Watershed Awareness Month (May).
Since the March 10, 2015, public forum, members of NAPA VISION 2050 have regularly attended Planning Commission and Board of Supervisor’s meetings speaking for thorough environmental reviews and in opposition to the County’s practice of issuing after-the-fact permits, believing the practice encourages non-compliance and unfairly penalizes those who do comply with the permitting process. Individual project applications have been reviewed, followed and, in some cases, challenged for a variety of reasons including inappropriate variances, forgiveness of permit violations, excessive production and/or visitation, and ever-increasing event schedules. The organization of affiliated groups seeks more influence in local land use policy and strives for thorough environmental impact discussions. Essentially, NAPA VISION 2050 introduces a new factor into the way business in the County is addressed.