Town Council: Meeting Notes – June 1st

I love a Council meeting that clocks in well under three hours and with two Certificates of Appreciation to start the meeting off on the right tone.

First, Lin Pina was recognized for her time and work on the Zoning Design & Review Board (ZDRB) from 2018 to her term end in July 2021. It was encouraging to hear her state that after being on the Envision committee (for the update to the General Plan), she felt the ZDRB was the next step. It was a learning experience and also a challenge. Thank you very much for stepping up for Yountville! We will see her around Town as she continues with the Yountville Chamber.

Sgt. John Hallman was honored for his 26 years of service with the Napa County Sheriff’s Department, of which the past six years have been spent in Yountville. We saw his personal approach to law enforcement, which worked so well with our community for those who experienced the Sergeant. And many of us did as we could see him at coffee at Kelly’s on riding the police bike through Town. His time here involved many new experiences for us all, major fires and a major shooting incident. Both the Mayor and Town Manager spoke to his deep involvement during those trying times in our community. With his parting words, Sgt. Hallman stated, “I can truly say I love you guys; I love Yountville.”

The current owner of 1 Lande Way, Ryan Schiestel, presented a proposal for tandem parking for the remodel of his home. The current municipal code does not allow for tandem parking, so the applicant had to come to the Council for a Use Permit. This was happening in parallel to modifications that he wants to make at home, which is currently before the ZDRB. It was made clear that the Council was only considering the tandem parking, not the changes that were leading to the tandem parking. As the Staff report stated, The applicant’s proposal would reduce this to one covered space and one open space on the driveway partially screened by an entrance gate and landscaping in compliance with the Town’s parking requirements. However, since the proposed configuration of the parking spaces would require one car to be in front of the other with no ability to access it independently, it is considered tandem parking, and thus a use permit is required.

And for those of you as interested in parking as I; here are the six considerations for tandem parking: configuration/lot width, location of parking spaces, increasing efficiency in the use of available space, facilitating in-fill development, minimizing impacts to adjoining properties, and parking for 2nd units is facilitated. As the Town Attorney, Gary Bell, stated, in response to a statement from Vice Mayor Dorman and a question from Mayor Dunbar, these are Considerations and not Findings. The Vice Mayor had concerns with all six considerations and felt that “… the applicant has created the situation he wants us to correct” about his remodel plans. The remaining Council members and Mayor felt the applicant had a right to create tandem parking and fell within the Considerations. Councilmember Knight stressed that this was support for this particular parcel and not blanket support for tandem parking throughout Yountville. The vote was 4 – 1, with the Dorman dissenting.

Another note on this discussion: Should Use Permits for all residential zones be a competence of the ZDRB, which is the traditional decision-making body for most issues like this, or should Use Permits continue to go to the Council? This current process bifurcates the process and could lead to a case where design is approved, but (in this case) tandem parking is denied. The Council will take up this discussion at a later meeting.

The monthly financial update for April 2021 included a very bright spot with Property Tax collection over budget by $250,000, and TOT is lower but gaining ground to inch closer to 2019 revenue. In addition, enterprise Funds are at or above budgeted numbers for revenue.

And another reminder that gas leaf blowers are being banned from the Town of Yountville on July 1, 2021. The Town never fails to get information out: 2,000 informational mailers, including mailers to landscaping companies based in Napa. $3,036 has been distributed for rebates and purchases, and another $10,000 will be added for the fiscal year 2021/2022. Town Manager, Steve Rogers, reminded residents to have a conversation with their landscapers. There has also been use of the funds by local homeowners who have purchased electric blowers for their landscapers. Both Mayor Dunbar and Councilmember Dorenbecher, who serve on the Napa County Climate Action Committee, stated that other municipalities in the county and the county are headed in the same direction as Yountville. Like it or not, we need to start preparing for this change.

Lots of individual updates for the state and countywide. Watch the meeting!

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