Planners approve plan with significantly less housing
NAPA COUNTY — Development of the 154-acre Napa Pipe commercial and residential project outside of the city of Napa continues to move forward, with planners expecting that zoning provisions related to the development will go before the Napa County Board of Supervisors before the end of the year or in early 2013.
The proposed zoning change — which received unanimous approval from the county Planning Commission in October — will pave the way for more specific planning in a half-billion-dollar project that has been altered significantly since it was first proposed in 2007.
“It’s essentially a new project in many ways,” said Keith Rogal, co-founder of the development firm Rogal + Walsh + Mol, which purchased the site with Farallon Capital Management in 2005 as Napa Redevelopment Partners LLC.
The new zoning will allow for a 154,000-square-foot Costco Wholesale store, including a gas station, on the 91 acre portion east of the railroad tracks that run north-south through the project area. Ten acres are reserved for a future school, five acres for a community garden, 90,000 square feet will be for office space and 75,000 square feet for warehousing.
On the 63-acre west side, the revision seeks rezoning to allow 700 to nearly 1,000 homes, a 150-unit continuing care retirement center, a 150-room hotel, more than 15,000 square feet of community facilities and 10,000 square feet of office space.
The revisions essentially follow previous recommendations of the Planning Commission. It is a marked change from the project’s original proposal, which included 3,200 housing units and a mix of other uses as a redevelopment of the former industrial site.
However, despite changes that include a reduction of about 70 percent of homes, Mr. Rogal said he was pleased at the growing support among various county groups and the unanimous support of the Planning Commission.
“For us, the issue was to get to a project that was fundamentally good for this community,” he said.
Critics of Napa Pipe have said that the project will amount to sprawl from the city of Napa, along with traffic impacts and increased utilization of groundwater. The new proposal directly addresses those concerns, supplying future residents with surface water and providing a lower volume of housing.
The inclusion of Costco in the proposal will also carry several benefits, Mr. Rogal said. Residents of the future Napa Pipe development will be able to shop locally, and the site will draw other Napa shoppers and keep sales tax revenues within the county.
The developer estimated that the project will create more than 800 temporary construction jobs, 900 permanent jobs and more than $4 million in new revenue annually for the county.
Mr. Rogal noted that there was increased momentum behind discussions of creating a pathway to annex the development into the city of Napa.
“We are supportive of that,” he said. “It would be perfectly logical for it to be part of the city.”
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