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Eyes on Napa - November 27, 2019

Keeping Greed Out of Solar

We want solar, but let's do this right:
Appropriate locations, not in the Ag Preserve or Watershed. No deforestation.
Clear guidelines, best practices. 
 
A Quick Background 
At this stage, 
the current Napa County draft Renewable Energy Ordinance has addressed several concerns that a local, grass-roots coalition, the Napa Valley Citizens for Smart Planning have presented to the Planning Department.

The group, and Napa Vision 2050, have serious concerns regarding the locations of large scale commercial renewable energy projects. Last December, Napa County's Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved one such solar project in the AG Watershed of American Canyon despite objections from many concerned residents. Since then, Citizens for Smart Planning has been working with county staff and the BOS to introduce a well-crafted, guiding ordinance that will prevent the compromise of the protected AG Watershed and AG Preserve with commercial solar projects.

Where We Are Now
The ordinance now declares that commercial and industrial zones would be acceptable for siting such projects. Napa County follows a “permissive zoning” policy, which means that areas not specifically called out in the ordinance as being zoned acceptable, will be off limits. In other words, the AG Watershed, residential zoned areas, and the AG Preserve will be off limits for commercial renewable energy projects. This will ensure that a project such as the one that was proposed (now withdrawn) for Palm Drive in Napa (17 acres of solar with 3+ acres of mature oaks to be removed) in the middle of a residential community, will not happen. Developers of such projects must be denied access to our valuable AG land so that it is not compromised and our remaining trees are allowed to sequester the carbon that is so crucial to the fight against climate change.

 
Beware
The private, for profit, developer of the American Canyon Commercial Solar project, Renewable Properties, is going back on its promise not to use the American Canyon project, which is located in the AG Watershed, as a precedent.  He has submitted an objection to the draft ordinance claiming precedent and seeking to locate such projects in the AG Watershed and AG Preserve. 


We cannot let this happen. 
 
We Need Your Presence and Your Voice
The Planning Commission reviewed the draft ordinance and will be continuing the review and accepting public comment on December 4, 2019. It is critical that our community members attend this meeting in support of the draft ordinance. It will then go to the Board of Supervisors on December 17, 2019. 
Please join us in making sure we do solar right. 
More questions?
Contact Laura Tinthoff,
  lauratinthoff@gmail.com; 707.339.1481
Where and when to attend for discussion and public comment: 
  • Planning Commission: December 4, 2019, 9:00 am 1195 Third Street, Suite 310, Napa, CA 94559. Agenda will be posted here a few days before the meeting. 
  • Board of Supervisors:  December 17, 2019, 9:00 am.  1195 Third Street, Suite 310, Napa, CA 94559. Agenda will be posted here a few days before the meeting. 
 
More information:
Napa Valley Register, November 25, 2019, Napa County taking a close look at utility-scale solar farms
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Eyes on Napa: Co-editors, Patricia Damery and Debby Fortune, Editorial Board: Charlotte Williams, Kathy Felch, Rusty Cohn.