Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Napa County Board of Supervisors Approves Walt Ranch Vineyard Development

The Napa County Board of Supervisors today approved the controversial Walt Ranch development project. The Hall's project passed unanimously, despite vocal community protests.

The Sierra Club has filed an appeal, according to the story in the North Bay Business Journal, "objecting to what it described as plans to clearcut almost 300 acres, or 14,000 trees, for vineyard development, eliminating wild land habitat, wiping out carbon stores meant to absorb greenhouse gases and destabilize the soil."

According to the Napa Valley Register, Supervisor Diane Dillon supported the project, saying that "less than 50,000 acres of vineyards exist and the general plan foresaw another 10,000 acres of vineyards being planted. The entire county is 505,000 acres. This property is 2,300 acre and less than 10 percent would be converted to vineyards if the project is carried out to its entirety."

Dillon warned those opposed to the project that the realities of preserving agricultural land and giving it priority in the general plan is that residents actually have to live with new vineyard development.

Environmentalists don't see it that way. As someone close to the formation of Napa's Ag Preserve put it (which I quoted in an earlier post), "The current planning laws are really quite loose when it comes to wineries and granting variances. I think it is a situation where many will not realize it until it is a bit late."

For background on the story, see the earlier post published on this blog and read additional coverage about the project on James Conaway's blog here. Napa Valley Register's coverage is here.

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