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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, June 2, 2014, 5:30 am

It’s time to allow Napa Pipe to start

City, county can now reclaim abandoned industrial site to benefit residents

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    Business Journal EditorialFor the better part of a decade, developer Keith Rogal has patiently endured many tests to keep his vision for the Napa Pipe site alive. Few could have withstood what Mr. Rogal has been though, including multiple redesigns, all manner of threats and election politics.

    But he did make it, receiving approval in 2013. And now is the time for Napa city and county officials to assure that this much needed housing and commercial development gets under way this fall whether or not Napa voters decide to annex the 154-acre site.

    No more delays.

    The mixed-use development on the abandoned industrial site would include up to 945 homes, a Costco store, hotel, senior housing, office, retail and other commercial space. Mr. Rogal’s vision for the site has always been about creating a liveable community for Napa residents, many of whom must now commute to their jobs from outside the county largely because of the lack of new housing development in Napa. In 2009, Mr. Rogal said Napa County had 29,000 inbound commuters.

    The reason: Job growth had far outstripped the supply of housing.

    Mr. Rogal, the founder of the widely acclaimed Carneros Inn, notes that from 1994 to 2006, residential unit growth in Napa was 14 percent while jobs grew by 46 percent. In 2007, there were more than 41,000 jobs within 15-minutes of Napa Pipe, he said. Meanwhile, the demographics of Napa has shifted away from the typical single-family home buyer to young singles and couples and older residents requiring new kinds of residential development.

    Napa Pipe addresses these needs directly.

    The good news is that it appears there is a strong political and community consensus that Napa Pipe should be built. But as Mr. Rogal knows so well, delays are always possible unless there is a sense of urgency to move the final project details along toward a November start.

    Mr. Rogal — and the residents of Napa — have earned that sense of urgency.

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