Votes in favor of limits on Napa County vineyard development on hills and mountains were edging barely ahead in early results Tuesday night.
As of the latest posted tally at 10:39 p.m., Measure C was ahead by just 42 votes — 7,191-to-7,149 — with all 170 precincts reporting, according to the Napa County Registrar of Voters. Those 14,340 votes tallied so far are 40 percent to 50 percent of those cast. Napa is a pilot county this year for all mail-in voting. Counting is set to resume Friday and continue into early next week, according to Registrar of Voters John Tuteur.
Napa County Farm Bureau, Napa Valley Vintners, Napa Valley Grapegrowers and Winegrowers of Napa County opposed Measure C. However, some luminaries in the wine business, such as Warren Winiarski of Judgment of Paris fame, supported it.
Measure C would amend the Napa County General Plan and zoning regulations to establish buffer zones around creeks and apply additional regulations on removal of oak trees and oak woodlands.
These buffer zones would reach 25 to 125 feet from the streams and 150 feet from any wetland. Removing downed or dead trees, creating firebreaks and other health and safety improvements would be exempt. Those granted permits to take down trees would have to ensure at least 90 percent of the “affected oak canopy” is retained.
Trees or woodlands removed would also have to be replaced at a 3-to-1 ratio on lands designated as agricultural watersheds or “comparable habitat” be acquired.
Under another provision, if total of oak woodland removed exceeds 795 acres (counted from Sept. 1, 2017) any other oak and oak woodland removal would require permits. Any trees burned for removal would be counted; trees burned via wildfires would not.
Vintners and winegrape growers in Sonoma County have been watching the outcome of the vote, as pressure has been building in the past two decades to further limit vineyard growth there.
CORRECTION: The original version of this story cited Napa Valley Register's quote of John Tuteur that final results would be in Friday. Rather, the next round of counting would resume Friday and continue on Monday, Tuesday and, perhaps, Wednesday, according to Tuteur.