Napa County Growth Controls, Measure N (June 2008)
Measure N was also known as the "Responsible Growth Initiative."
If Measure N had passed, it would have imposed growth controls in unincorporated parts of the county in addition to Napa County's existing laws which prevent development on any agricultural and open-space lands. Any exceptions to the county's existing 1 percent annual residential growth cap would have required approval at the ballot box under Measure N's provisions. The measure also incorporated a 35-foot height limit on buildings and reduced the length of time affordable housing would remain affordable from the current 40 years to 10 years. Additionally, it would have removed moderate income families from the county's affordable housing effort.
The Napa Coalition for Responsible Growth supported Measure N. They argued, "Measure N puts land use decisions about major housing developments where they belong ... in the hands of Napa County voters." Proponents also say that Measure N is needed to clamp down on potential growth. They specifically have in mind the Napa Pipe project, which is a proposed development of 3,200 homes on the Napa Pipe industrial site covering about 152 acres along the Napa River.
Opponents of Measure N argued that Measure N would drive growth to agricultural and open-space land around the cities and town in Napa County (City of Napa, City of St. Helena, City of Calistoga, Town of Yountville, City of American Canyon). Opponents also contended that Measure N would lead to more traffic in Napa County by encouraging sprawl development and necessitating the use of the automobile for transportation. Furthermore, as Measure N reinstates a law that was repealed as a result of litigation (DeHaro, et al. v. County of Napa,et al. , Napa Superior Court Case 26-22255), the costs to Napa County taxpayers from future lawsuits also become an issue in the campaign.
Napa Redevelopment Partners (NRP) was the primary funder of the group that opposed Measure N. NRP is the corporation that wanted to build the 3,200-home Napa Pipe project--a project that in 2008 was in the initial stages of environmental review by the county. NRP purchased the Napa Pipe property in 2006 for about $40 million. The group is headed by Keith Rogal, and is funded substantially by a San Francisco investment firm called Farallon Capital Management. NRP donated more than $700,000 to the "No on N" campaign.
Other organizations opposing Measure N included the Napa Chamber of Commerce, Napa Valley Vintners, The Napa County Democratic Party, Save Napa's Agricultural Gateway, The Napa Valley Register, and the St Helena Star.
Path to the ballot
Measure N was placed on the ballot through a paid petition drive conducted by Mike Arno. 6,409 signatures were collected by the paid signature gatherers.
- Napa Valley Vintners Association, opponents of Measure N
- Napa Chamber of Commerce, opponents of Measure N
- Keep Napa Napa, No on N, a coalition of concerned citizens from the environmental, agricultural, and business communities, opponents of Measure N
- Get A Grip on Growth, supporters of Measure N
- Measure N, a cure worse than disease, St. Helena Star editorial.
- The trouble with Measure N, Napa Valley Register Editorial.
- Vote No on Measure N, Napa Valley Register Editorial.
- Voices grow against Measure N, May 1, 2008, Napa Valley Register.
- Measure N fight is heating up
- Measure N: What it is, what it isn't and how it may change the physical and political landscape of Napa Valley, May 4, 2008
- Who is behind "Keep Napa Napa"?
- Measure N side picks up endorsements, April 1, 2008, American Canyon Eagle.
- Crying foul over Measure N, Napa Valley Register, April 2, 2008
- Locals complain Keep Napa Napa listed supporters who didn't sign on, February 29, 2008
- Napans faced with a bad choice, Napa Valley Register editorial, May 8, 2008
- The trouble with Nape Pipe