©2016 Save Rural Angwin

Save Rural Angwin
       Protecting Ag Land and Angwin's Rural Character

"Delay is preferable to error."

          Thomas Jefferson

From Our Mailbag

May 3, 2013 - Napa Register:  "Mediation of Angwin land dispute goes nowhere".  Mediation intended to resolve a land-use dispute between Pacific Union College and Save Rural Angwin is being put on hold.  More

March 12, 2011 - Napa Register:  "First-time homebuyer program looking for applicants."  Since February 1, 2011, only one person has turned in an application.  Read Here

March 9, 2013 - Napa Register:  "Opposing groups file briefs in county housing lawsuit".  Angwin remains in the county-wide affordable housing feud as court decisions could have statewide implications. More

March 2, 2013 - Napa Register:  "Angwin land dispute remains unresolved".  Napa County, Pacific Union College and Save Rural Angwin have yet to meet and discuss brokering a compromise on a land-use dispute in the Up-valley community of Angwin. More

February 12, 2013 - Napa Register:  "Angwin land-use battle topped election spending".  Pacific Union College was Napa County's biggest spender in the 2012 election cycle, as it pumped in almost $500,000 of its own money to defeat a land-use initiative that targeted three of the college's parcels in Angwin. More

February 2, 2013 - The Sacramento Bee:  "West Village complex has yet to fulfill UC Davis' vision".  Before construction began, UC Davis laid out a vision for West Village, its new on-campus community, as a showcase of energy efficiency that would provide affordable housing for faculty and students.  Nearly two years after the $300 million development opened, it has not yet fulfilled those expectations.  More

December 28, 2012 - Napa Register:  "County willing to mediate Angwin land dispute".  Getting a compromise on land-use issues in Angwin may be difficult following an emotional, hotly contested election that ended in Measure U's defeat, but Napa County supervisor Diane Dillon said she's willing to try. More

December 26, 2012 - Napa Register:  "Top 10: fight over Angwin land will spill over to 2013."  The Angwin land battle ranks as the Napa Valley Register's No. 7 story of the year.  More

December 15, 2012 - Bohemian:  "Pinot, Poverty and Politics".  Voters reelect a supervisor who promises to use his position at ABAG to limit housing requirements in Napa.  More

December 6, 2012 - St. Helena Star:  "Save Rural Angwin undeterred by Measure U defeat".  The Angwin community's Save Rural Angwin will continue to battle for its conservation objectives.  More

December 5, 2012 - Napa Register:  "Reasons Measure U was defeated".  Now that the voting is over, I (author, Duane Cronk) join the host of others who wonder how Pacific Union College could have won so many voters against Measure U.    More

December 1, 2012 - Napa Register:  "What Napa voters told us in November".  Now that the mercury has dropped in Napa's political thermometer, focus can shift to the messages left behind by voters... Precinct tallies showed that countywide campaigns - like those for Angwin-specific Measure U - must still look to the population centers for their support.  If a countywide measure is to pass, it can only do so by winning in Napa's two largest communities, the cities of Napa and American Canyon.  More

November 29, 2012 - Napa Register:  "Urban voters key to Measure U's election defeat."  St. Helena was the only jurisdiction in the county to approve the measure, with 53% of voters casting yes votes. More

November 27, 2012 - St. Helena Star:  "Election results certified".    More

November 8, 2012 - The Weekly Calistogan:  "County ballot measure wrap-up: Road tax passes, PUC restrictions fail". Save Rural Angwin faced a large fundraising gap against Measure U's detractors.  The No on U movement received $450,000.00 from Pacific Union for a publicity drive that included television commercials, while the conservation group raised $108,000.00 in Measure U's support.    More


February 9, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "County should address zoning in Angwin".  Set aside the politics, emotion, litigation and the money attached to long-burning land-use arguments in Angwin, one of Napa County's most remote and rural enclaves, and what remains is a call to action contained within the county's General Plan.  Read More

February 7, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Angwin group to push county for rezoning of college parcels".  With Pacific Union College's plans to sell land in Angwin to a developer now exposed in court, Save Rural Angwin is making a new push to get the Board of Supervisors to address a five-year-old commitment it made to deal with the land-use designation in some of that property. Read More

January 27, 2014, Wine Executive News, A Wine Industry Insight Publication:  "Napa lawsuits snarl Chinese Tycoon's Howell Mountain land buy". More

January 25, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Preservation group determined to protect Angwin lands".  Two weeks ago, the Napa Valley Register broke the story that PUC and its long-term relationship with developer Curt Johansen has fractured and imploded.  SRA remains committed and hopeful that PUC, already noted as having one of the most beautiful campuses in the United States, will begin serious dialogue with all of us in the Angwin community and the entire Napa Valley. Read the details

January 17, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Pacific Union College loses motion vs Angwin developer".  Napa County Superior Court Judge ruled Sustained Community Partners can record a notice of a pending lawsuit on 100's of acres of PUC property.  Read the details

January 12, 2014, Times-Herald: "Settlement of Vallejo developer (TRIAD) multi-year lawsuit on the horizon. Sound Familiar? Read More

January 11, 2014, Napa Valley Register and January 16, 2014, St. Helena Star:  "Pacific Union College (PUC) sues over failed Angwin land deal".  PUC and Sustained Community Partners (SCP) have been negotiating a land sale agreement since 2012 and signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement on February 13, 2013.  The purchaser, SCP, was to develop residential units on the two existing designated affordable housing sites, re-locate or refurbish the commercial center, develop up to 4 agricultural estates, develop up to 600 new housing units and upgrade the PUC sewage treatment plant including establishing a Utility District.  The land sale fell through when SCP failed to make a 2nd required deposit of $210,000.00.  PUC swiftly terminated the agreement and entered a sale agreement with a third party to close a deal no later than February 24, 2014.  Then December 18, 2013, PUC filed a court complaint to restrain SCP from suing them for their decision to terminate the purchase-sale agreement with SCP. Read the details.

September 17, 2013 - Napa Valley Register: "County housing requirement will benefit from Napa Pipe".  The Napa County Housing Element is a part of the county's General Plan.  It spells out suitable locations in the unincorporated area that could be the site(s) for the housing allocation, which includes moderate, above moderate, low and very low income units.  The 2007-2014 cycle required 651 housing units in the unincorporated area.  The State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) refused to certify the County's plan for 2007-2014, calling the Angwin and other east county locations too far away from urban centers to be affordable for low-income households.    The new cycle runs from 2014-2022 and requires a total of 180 units (all categories for the entire time period) to plan for.  As the planned home of 700-945 housing units, the Napa Pipe site will accommodate the majority of the requirement for the next several cycles. 
  Read More

September 11, 2013 - Napa Valley Register:  "Hillary Gitelman departing county post for Palo Alto".  Napa County Planning director since 2005, Hillary Gitelman, will be taking a new job as the director of planning for the city of Palo Alto.    Read More

July 12, 2013 - Napa County website:  "Housing lawsuit decided largely in county's favor".  The First District Court of Appeal issued its ruling on the County's long standing housing litigation, affirming that the County's adopted Housing Element complies with requirements of State Housing Law.     Read More

May 10, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Challenge in the Third District".  Having two strong candidates competing for the same office is a good problem to have.  But it is still a problem.  The Napa Valley Register Editorial Board endorses Diane Dillon.  More

May 8, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Work remains on affordable housing task force report".  Last spring's recommendations from a task force devoted to increasing the supply of affordable housing in Napa County are proving difficult to implement.  More

May 1, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Easy solutions for affordable housing elude panelists."  Litigation costs, a lack of available land and costly building fees were some of the barriers that officials cited Wednesday at a public meeting on the lack of affordable housing.  More

April 30, 2014, St. Helena Star:  "Candidates forums planned."  At least three upcoming candidate forums will feature races of interest to up-valley voters. More

April 26, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "District 3 primary race swirls over rural Napa County."  More

April 26, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Incumbent and challenger take their cases to voters."    More

April 12, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Democrats in Napa to hold forum on affordable housing."  The forum will be Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at 6:30 pm at Napa County Library, 580 Coombs St., Napa.  Angwin is identified in the County Housing Element as a significant affordable housing location. More

March 7, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Planners want backup for Napa Pipe housing".  Having spent four years and nearly $1 million legally defending three areas of rural Napa County as appropriate housing sites (Angwin, Moskowite Corner and Spanish Flat), county staff isn't willing to toss them by the wayside in the county's new housing plan.  More

March 7, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Yolo County administrator tapped for county planning post."  David Morrison, formerly assistant planning director and public works director for Yolo County has been hired as Napa County's Planning Director.  More

March 7, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Pacific Union College wins land dispute against ex-partner."   Judge rules against Sustainable Community Partners in Angwin property battle.  More

February 26, 2014, St. Helena Star:  Editorial:  "It's time for supervisors to fix the Angwin bubble."  For too long the future of Angwin has been the subject of vague land use policies, rumors, political campaigns, secretive and unsuccessful real estate negotiations and, most recently, litigation.    More
November 6, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Supervisors endorse making Lake Berryessa a national monument".  The Napa County Board of Supervisors voted to support national monument status for an area that includes 96 square miles of existing public lands in eastern Napa County. Download

November 6, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Enrollment at Pacific Union College hits 19-year high."  This fall quarter, 1,634 students are enrolled at PUC's Angwin campus, the highest on-campus enrollment since 1995.  Download News Release

October 3, 2014, County Executive Office:  "Napa County Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission Meetings Relocated."  Since the Napa earthquake and subsequent damage to the County Building, meetings of the Board of Supervisors and meetings of the Planning Commission have been re-located to South Napa.  The address and driving directions are provided.    Download Notice

July 22, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "Supervisors favor less residential growth in Angwin."  Five years after initially pledging to address the residential development potential of two parts of Angwin, a majority of the Napa County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday that more housing units are ill-suited for those areas in the rural community atop Howell Mountain.  The Board took no formal action, however, directed the Planning Director to begin drafting options for how to change parcels' land-use designations in the General Plan  More

July 20, 2014, Napa Valley Register: "Supervisors to address Angwin development issues Tuesday."  Five years delayed, a "study session" on how to address the land issues in Angwin, with no formal action expected, will be a part of the Board of Supervisor's scheduled meeting on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at approximately 0955 AM.       More

February 15, 2015, Napa Valley Register:  "Napa County to explore the price of wine success."  Napa County's wine country is facing a type of soul-searching that often comes with wealth and fame - is it being true to its roots or in danger of being ruined by its own success?  The county Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission will meet on March 10 to discuss what Supervisor Diane Dillon has called "the big picture".  That could be just the beginning of a months-long public discussion that could shape Napa's future. More

February 3, 2015, St. Helena Star:  "Working together" by The Napa Valley Register Editorial Board.  The NVR Editorial Board sat down last week with the county's five mayors and the chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors to discuss how problems that confront Napa County are playing out in all corners of the county.  Development has often been haphazard, with little regard to the effect it may have on other parts of the county.  A public meeting set for March 10, 2015, will examine growth issues in the unincorporated county. Read More

January 2, 2015, The Press Democrat:  "Volker Eisele, Napa winemaker who led the fight for farmland protection, dies at 77."  "No one in the North Bay has done more for farmland protection than Volker Eisele", said Sandy Ellis, executive director of the Napa County Farm Bureau.  Full Article

January 2, 2015, Napa Valley Register:  "Agricultural land advocate Volker Eisele dies."  Napa County has lost Volker Eisele, the man who helped put local agricultural protection in the hands of voters.  "Volker was the lion of land use in Napa County,' said Sandy Elles, executive director of the Napa County Farm Bureau.  There will be much more said about this incredible man who has for the past decade championed appropriate land use designation for Angwin.
 Full Article
December 29, 2014, Napa Valley Register: "Governor Brown appoints Pedroza to Board of Supervisors".  Gov. Jerry Brown announced he has appointed Napa City Councilman Alfredo Predoza to the 4th District supervisor's seat through 2016.  Pedroza will replace Bill Dodd who has become a member of the state Assembly.  What this means for Angwin remains to be seen.Full Article

December 23, 2014, Napa Valley Register:  "How much wine should there be in wine country?"  Napa County for years has tried to find a balance between agriculture and tourism and between agriculture and the natural environment.  "We need to have the bigger discussion and look at the bigger picture," Diane Dillon said. 
Full Article

November 29, 2014 , Napa Valley Register:  "Dodd goes to Sacramento."   Full Article<

April 17 , 2015, St. Helena Star:  "We all benefit by protecting valley land."  Every minute America loses more than 1 acre of farmland to urban development.  Farmland preservation is not a priority for most Americans and perhaps especially not for today 's young adults.  ...the greatest challenge is indifference.  More

April 11
, 2015, Napa Valley Register:  "Ag protection committee to plunge into knotty issues."  The Napa County Board of Supervisors appointed 17 members to the Agricultural Protection Advisory Committee, supported by 12 alternates.  More than 50 people applied to help the county with policy recommendations.  Supervisors gave the committee topics to explore.  The committee is to make recommendations to the county Planning Commission by September 2 , 2015 on a variety of topics; among the discussion concerns are such topics as minimum parcel size for new wineries, limiting the amount of variance allowed for setbacks on new wineries, and requiring different development standards for wineries located in the Agricultural Preserve (AP) and Agricultural Watershed (AW) zoning districts. More

March 29 , 2015, Napa Valley Register:  "A new coalition, Vision 2050, will scrutinize county's future."   Vision 2050 is a coalition of local groups, including Save Rural Angwin, that seek to merge their individual voices into a much louder voice.  Supervisor Wagenknecht expects Vision 2050 will be taking part in the county's upcoming Agricultural Protection Advisory Committee effort to look at county growth policies. More 

March 10 , 2015, Napa Valley Register:  "County officials tackle wine industry growth questions." Napa County's growth summit, held March 10 , 2015, before an audience of over 400 ended after six hours of discussion including three hours of public testimony.  County leaders agreed to launch a larger community conversation that is expected to last into Fall 2015.  The Board of Supervisors wants to create a forum with the cities to discuss regional land use issues, form a committee to review the Winery Definition Ordinance and investigate creating a traffic mitigation development fee.  It also wants the county to complete a stalled climate action plan. More

May 28, 2015, Napa Valley Register: "Grand Jury wants more winery audits." Napa County's policy of choosing 20 wineries at random each year to see if they are complying with county rules doesn't go far enough for the grand jury. For the audits done for 2011-2013, 30% to 40% of the wineries each year failed to meet at least one use permit requirement, the grand jury report said.   More

May 19, 2015, St. Helena Star: "Save Rural Angwin joins Vision 2050 coalition". Save Rural Angwin has joined Vision 2050, a coalition of organizations dedicated to land and resource preservation in Napa County. More
May 19, 2015, Napa Valley Register: "Documentary shows danger to our watersheds". One of the most important documentaries to see this fifth year of severe drought is "The Russian River: All rivers - The Value of an American Watershed". This film should be required viewing for every governing official, vintner and voting citizen. It is particularly pertinent for those of us who live here in the Napa Valley and are concerned about its environmental future.More

May 15, 2015, Napa Valley Register: "Symposium throws spotlights on Napa's watersheds." Napa County celebrated its watershed improvement successes and looked at challenges ahead amid a four-year drought and climate change predictions. Senator Lois Wolk, keynote speaker for the symposium, stated, "We have to start thinking about our water policies in a new way." More

October 31, 2015, Napa Valley Register: "Shrinking Napa farmland raises questions for Farm Bureau". Napa County, a rural county devoted to protecting agriculture, has lost 5,919 acres of farmland - an area bigger than St. Helena and Calistoga combined - since 1984. On the other hand, Napa County added 285 acres of irrigated farmland. Adding vineyards can generate its own controversies when the gain involves cutting down forests. That can be seen with the recent opposition by Save Rural Angwin to Davis Estates proposed 13.6-acre Friesen vineyard at the top of Bell Canyon. More

October 3 , 2015, Napa Valley Register:  “Napa prepares for drought or deluge.”  Some prognosticators think waves of El Nino-fueled storms will make the upcoming rain season a gully-washer.  Others fear a fifth consecutive drought year will sear an already parched state.  Whichever it is, Napa County is in a bit of a drought twilight zone. More

September 28 , 2015, Napa Valley Register:  “Planned vineyard near reservoir worries St. Helena”.  While not big in itself, a proposed Friesen 13-acre vineyard in Bell Canyon could potentially have environmental consequences and adversely impact the quantity or quality of St. Helena's water supply.  It may impact Dunn-Wildlake Land Trust property as well as the Howell Mountain Mutual Water Company.  More

September 26 , 2015, Napa Valley Register:  “Proposed hillside vineyard in Angwin seeks timber-cutting permit”.  Watershed advocates have many concerns about trading mountainside landscapes for vineyards.  They range from runoff leading to less groundwater recharge to pesticides in runoff to more sediments washing into streams and, ultimately, the Napa River, where they can hinder salmon spawning.  More

September 16 , 2015, Napa Valley Register:  “Gill appointed to county Planning Commission.”  Nominated by Supervisor Keith Caldwell from among 15 applicants, Napa County CEO Jeri Gill joined the Napa County Planning Commission.  Gill takes the District 5 seat vacated by Matt Pope.  Her term lasts through December 2016 .   More

September 15 , 2015, Napa Valley Register:  “Angwin residents say they dodged a fire disaster.”  Napa County fire chief Barry Biermann said that drought conditions have made the wildfire problem worse than usual in California this year, and the fire risk will not go down as long as the drought persists. More

August 25 , 2015, Napa Valley Register:  “Ag Protection Committee proposes countywide growth summit”.  Napa County’s agricultural protection committee sees a sequel to its now-completed work - it wants the county and its cities to hold a summit addressing regional land use and transportation issues.   More

January 27 , 2016, Napa Valley Register:  “Proposed initiative targets watershed protection”.  The “Water, Forest and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative” would protect the County’s oak woodlands and preserve forests and tree canopy along County streams and wetlands within the Agricultural Watershed. MORE

January 7 , 2016, Napa Valley Register: “Supervisors Chairman Pedroza touts housing, transportation agenda”.  The newly appointed chairman of the Board of Supervisors gave his “state of the county” speech at the January 5 Board meeting.  Supervisor Keith Caldwell is vice chairman.  Pedroza wants to use surplus county properties as sites for affordable housing.  While Pedroza looked ahead, Supervisor Diane Dillon looked back at the year that just ended.  She was the Board of Supervisors chairwoman during 2015.   More
January 6 , 2016, St. Helena Star:  “New fire chief for Angwin”.  J.R. Rogers has assumed the role of Angwin Volunteer Fire Department (AVFD) chief, effective January 1 , 2016.  The members of the Angwin Community Council voted unanimously for Rogers, a 12-year AVFD veteran.  Rogers has lived in the Angwin community for 13 years. More
December 29 , 2015, Weekly Calistogan:  “Growth of wine industry scrutinized in 2015.”  Growth debates, Napa County-style, came to a head in 2015.  At the close of 2015, the county’s growth debate has a “to be continued” tag.   More
December 16 , 2015, Napa Valley Register:  “County may limit special events on major roads.”  Napa County Supervisors are trying to figure out the rules of the road for special events such as marathons and cycling tours that draw hundreds - sometimes thousands - of participants.  The Board approved having staff put a number of special event proposals in the form of an ordinance for a future meeting.  It also asked for alternatives to the proposal.  A sampling of proposed special road event rules is included in the article.   More
December 15 , 2015, Napa Valley Register:  “Supervisors may put open space sales tax on ballot.”  County residents could decide whether to increase the sales tax a quarter-cent to raise $8 million annually for open space preservation and watershed and habitat protection.  Supervisors unanimously directed staff to work with the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District on ballot language that will come back to the Board for further discussion.  More
December 1 , 2015, Napa Valley Register:  “Grassroots groups look to flex political muscle.”  Local activists in such areas as the environment and affordable housing are talking about teaming up more often to amplify their voices and magnify their clout. More

November 4, 2015, Napa Valley Register: "Agricultural protection ideas going to supervisors". Napa County's latest quest to balance winery success and farmland protection will go to the Board of Supervisors on December 8 for what could be a resolution. More

November 2, 2015. Napa Valley Register: “Locals working on creative traffic solutions.” Everyone talks about Napa Valley’s traffic problems. A group of 85 local leaders met to talk about remedies by discussing solutions in use throughout the United States. More</

March 21 , 2016, Napa Valley Register:  “Officials dedicate Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument”.  Officials dedicated the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument on Saturday, March 19 , 2016.  The monument covers 350,000 acres of public lands, including 62,000 acres in eastern Napa County. MORE

March 12 , 2016, Napa Valley Register:  "Initiative proponents hope to defuse opposition”.  A Napa County oak and watershed protection initiative proposed for the November ballot has been retooled with the hope of defusing opposition from a wine industry that says tough rules already exist.   MORE

February 25
, 2016, Napa Valley Register:  “County tallies up its greenhouse gas emissions”.  Vehicle exhausts are one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in unincorporated Napa County.  A task force is studying ways to reduce emissions from a variety of sources.  Next, Napa County must set a greenhouse gas reduction goal.  The schedule calls for a draft climate action plan to be available for public review by this summer and public hearings and adoption in the fall.   MORE

February 16 , 2016, Napa Valley Register:  “Pity the poor supervisor”.  With Napa County’s election season upon us…” MORE

February 4
, 2016, Napa Valley Register: “Protect our precious commons”.  A property and vineyard owner assesses the watershed protection initiative drafted by the law firm of Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger, the firm that also drafted and defended our current Agricultural Preserve, the first in the nation. MORE