Wednesday January 23, 2008

In closed session on January 22, the Napa City Council directed City Manager Mike Parness to take actions necessary to withdraw the City’s application to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) for the annexation of the 142-acre Ghisletta property in southwest Napa. The decision follows recent strategic planning sessions (January 11-12) where the Council discussed concerns about future residential development on the City’s borders growth. The Ghisletta property is located outside the City limits, but inside the Rural-Urban Limit (RUL) line, and is identified in the current General Plan as a potential site for future housing.

“Our plan was to complete the annexation as the General Plan calls for, and then conduct a formal multi-year Master Plan process with public input,” said Parness. “While that approach is appropriate, the combination of discussions about Ghisletta and the County’s interest in a major housing project at the former Napa Pipe site has created apprehension in the community. The City Council feels we all need to step back and take a look at our needs with a larger view. IN addition to withdrawing the application for annexation, we’re calling on the County to suspend their process involving Napa Pipe, and work cooperatively with us to do what’s best for everyone in the community.”

With the withdrawal of the annexation application, the City seeks to open a dialogue with representatives of the County, property owners, and the community as a whole, and increase communication to achieve the best possible planning for future housing and commercial development. “We are taking a broader view to develop a long term vision,” said Mayor Jill Techel. “We will have a better outcome if we collaborate on housing needs, infrastructure, and the impact on government services, regardless of the jurisdictional boundaries. I am sending a letter to the County Board of Supervisors to ask them to suspend their discussions about the Napa Pipe site and join us in a cooperative planning process.”

Parness will initiate talks with the County on a new collaborative planning process that actively seeks public input to lay out a plan for future housing needs, infrastructure and service delivery. 

The City’s goals in this effort include engaging more residents and business persons in understanding issues such as the jobs-housing balance, State housing allocations, master planning, how the General Plan guides growth, and how growth impacts the demand on City services and infrastructure.