The following letter was sent to the Napa Register, signed by local elected leaders from one end of the valley to the other, stating concern about the county’s development and what that means for our water supply. It’s an election year!
2021 was a difficult year throughout Napa County. A year filled with ups and downs, testing, vaccines then boosters, on top of our daily responsibilities, certainly got our attention. We are confident these challenges will be addressed, but we must continue to maintain our focus on other critical areas as well.
National and state mandates must be evaluated at our local level and in many cases implemented. We need to find short- and long-term solutions to housing, transportation, and climate change. Climate change has brought us many uncertainties and will require monumental change to the way we conduct business. Although California has received a promising start to our winter rain, we know continuing drought cycles will be a recurring feature of our local climate.
Maintaining our local natural environment must remain a top priority. The Napa River, streams, forested hills, and watersheds are literally life sustaining for us.
Pressure to develop every square inch of Napa County is growing. Our cities and towns are reaching capacity. We are implementing increased height and densities requirements for additional housing and building them with energy efficient building standards. We are actively looking for alternative transportation solutions to protect our environment. We are asking our residents and businesses to conserve water.
The pressure to develop our watershed is no different. Altering our remote landscapes for more vineyard production is making the situation much worse. Our oak forests must remain. We need solutions to these issues if we are to maintain our urban environment.
Capacity is an issue not only in our urban areas but in our woodlands in the unincorporated Napa County lands as well. Many new proposed developments must stop because they threaten the sensitive watersheds that surround our reservoirs: Kimball, Bell, Hennessy, Rector and Milliken. We can no longer argue over mitigation measures to lessen the impact of development to our limited water resources.
Land use policies like our 1968 Agricultural Preserve must be strengthened, not weakened, by exemptions and hopeful mitigation promises.
Can we agree this growth of new development near our watersheds is not sustainable? We have learned from our forefathers that the unbridled taking from nature is placing our county in a downward trajectory.
Help us keep the bulldozers off our watersheds. Contact the Napa County Board of Supervisors and ask for their help.
Scott Sedgley, Napa
Gary Kraus, Calistoga
Alan Galbraith, St Helena
Margie Mohler, Yountville
Leon Garcia, American Canyon