Napa County District 3 Supervisor Candidates for Vineyard and Environmental Positions | News
Vineyard and winery development, water and the environment are among the issues dominating the Napa County District 3 Supervisor’s campaign.
After a 20-year term, Supervisor Diane Dillon announced in January 2021 that she would not seek a sixth term in 2022, sparking a six-man contest to represent the sprawling and predominantly rural district, which includes Yountville, St. Helena , Calistoga, Angwin and Pope Valley.
The six nominees are St. Helena City Councilmember Anna Chouteau, Napa County Planning Commissioner Anne Cottrell, Yountville Mayor John Dunbar, retired biotech executive Matt Hooper, winemaker Cio Perez and l lawyer Rafael Rios.
A potential seventh candidate, Ines DeLuna, filed election papers but decided not to run in order to focus on her job as administrator of Napa Valley College.
All six candidates, with the exception of Rios, responded in writing to questions posed by the Napa Valley Register. This article, the first in a two-part series, is based on their answers to questions about vineyard and winery development, water and the environment.
People also read…
A follow-up article will examine the candidates’ positions on wildfires, Measure L and housing, as well as their qualifications to oversee county finances.
Perez is proposing a moratorium on new wineries and winery expansions to give the county time to “review the limits of our resources, including housing, water, traffic, and carbon sequestration.”
Perez is also asking for a moratorium on new vineyards in the Ag Watershed District until the county completes and approves a climate action plan.
“Once we have a plan in place, the impacts of each new development project, and any proposed mitigation measures, can be examined more realistically as to its overall impacts,” Perez writes.
Perez also wants to extend the deadline for the county approval process, give at least four weeks of public notice before the planning commission or board of supervisors discusses new projects, and extend the time for public comment during meetings. county meetings.
Chouteau said the county should develop and implement a countywide climate action effort and groundwater sustainability plan.
“We must integrate climate action goals into everything we do, including urban and land use planning, residential and commercial development, transport, energy, food and waste management , as well as farming and farming practices,” Chouteau said.
Meanwhile, the county should allow vineyards “when they’re environmentally friendly and deny them when they’re not,” she wrote.
Chouteau wants to update the county’s general plan policies and zoning regulations “to deal with the realities of climate change, fires and drought.”
The county should also work with cities to study municipal reservoirs and collaborate with cities, landowners, local agencies and nonprofits to “educate our community on best practices for protecting sensitive habitat, ecological balance and healthy watersheds,” Chouteau said.
Cottrell said new vineyards must prove that there is sufficient water available for the long term and that the new planting will not harm surrounding areas, which is “a high bar in our hillsides”.
She highlighted her experience with the Watershed Conservation and Information Council (WICC), which tracks projects like the drought contingency plan.
The county needs to do more to respond to new groundwater data and ensure its mitigation and monitoring mechanisms for new projects are “robust and ongoing,” Cottrell said.
She said she also wants to strike a balance between “protecting the original values of the founders of Ag Preserve” and supporting a sustainable wine industry that relies more than ever on direct-to-consumer sales.
“We need to better understand our current resources and how we use and conserve those resources, and then build a plan for sustainable growth,” Cottrell said.
Hooper opposes the removal of old oaks and conifers to make way for vineyards. He said applications in vineyards should be evaluated based on how their water use would affect nearby properties that rely on the same groundwater sources.
“Groundwater assessments at the location of the proposed development may also warrant a restriction on the proposed size of the vineyard or requirements to use more recycled water for operations,” Hooper said.
As for whether the county has too many wineries, Hooper said that’s a question for winery candidates to address, depending on the competitive business climate and any objections from neighbors that might derail a project.
“If the public pressure on (capping the number of wineries) increases significantly, I think it should ultimately be decided by a vote of county residents, not supervisors,” Hooper said.
Dunbar said decisions about vineyard and winery development should be based on the county’s existing general plan regulations, ordinances and policies.
Dunbar opposes a moratorium on the development of new wineries and wineries, which he says “follows planned or lower rates as outlined in the general plan,” Dunbar said.
He noted that vineyards make up about 9% of Napa County, and a recent projection calculated that it will reach 10% by 2030.
“Should the number of acres of approved vineyards approach the amount estimated in the general plan, additional discretionary review would be appropriate to remain consistent with the adopted plan,” Dunbar said.
A couple from Napa Valley took in a family of Ukrainian refugees. Meet the Romanchenkos.
Jack Cakebread, one of the pioneers who led the transformation of Napa Valley in the 1970s, died April 26.
Farmer’s market patrons may view these events as a leisure activity to accompany brunch, but for produce vendors who stock the…
Miss Terri of Napa Valley has spent decades helping others. Now she’s the one who needs it.
Napa Valley winery Heitz Cellar has filed a lawsuit against one of its keg suppliers, claiming the company sold them defective kegs.
Tor Kenward’s new book “Reflections of a Vintner” conveys lessons learned for nearly 50 years in Napa Valley winemaking alongside friends and…
Brandon LaRocco has stepped down after 18 years as a football teacher and coach at Justin-Siena, including the last six seasons at the helm of the university.
The Napa County Sheriff’s Department — which contracts with the American Canyon Police Department — has identified 28 pieces of equipment, and the…
What is Napa County doing as another wildfire season approaches?
Alex Slarve just completed a home in the city of Napa that will run entirely on solar power and batteries, and has no connection to…
You can reach Jesse Duarte at (707) 967-6803 or [email protected]