NAPA – After four years of planning and working toward answering questions that may be brought up about the proposed Napa Pipe development, as possible, an Environmental Impact Report has been submitted for public review at a county planning commission meeting.

“This is a contender for the most analysis on a project in the county of Napa,” developer Keith Rogal said.

He said there has been really strong public support, and it is clear people are looking at the site and the issues.

“The biggest topic will be traffic,” he said. Because it is an industrial site, it is not so much an issue of plants and animals, he said.

One of the comments Mr. Rogal is expecting will come from Dr. Karen Smith, county public health officer at the Health and Human Services Department.

She will be submitting a Health Impact Assessment, similar to an EIR, that studies the health consequences of a development.

She said such assessments are becoming more standard in the U.S., but they have been around in Europe for years.

“How we live our lives and how we build our communities impacts our lives,” said Dr. Smith.

The Centers for Disease Control defines an HIA as “a combination of procedures, methods and tools by which a policy, program or project may be judged as to its potential effects on the health of a population and the distribution of those effects within the population.”

Dr. Smith said the study should show what might impact health, not necessarily what will.

She said planning departments will likely work more closely with health departments in the future as these sorts of assessments become standard.

“We want to educate people about how development impacts life,” she said.

At last week's Planning Commission meeting, planning staff provided an overview of the draft EIR prepared for the Napa Pipe project, as well as information on how to obtain a copy of the document and how to submit comments during a 60-day public review period that started on Oct. 23.

Mr. Rogal said every topic on the EIR checklist that could be applied to the site was addressed.

The proposal includes a General Plan amendment and development of a high-density residential neighborhood with open space, neighborhood-serving retail and restaurants on the northern portion of the site and a business park with light industrial, R&D, warehousing, office space, public open space and a condominium hotel on the southern portion of the site.

“I feel comfortable and confident that fears and concerns are addressed in the document,” Mr. Rogal said.

The draft EIR is being circulated for review concurrent with the developer's Comprehensive Development Application, which contains a draft development plan and draft design guidelines in addition to proposed General Plan and zoning amendments. The Comprehensive Development Application is currently undergoing review by county staff and consultants, and public comments are invited.

The next meeting on Napa Pipe will be held in mid-November.