New State rules for private roads in hillside areas

The Board of Supervisors was recently required to adopt changes to the Napa County Road and Street Standards specifically affecting property owners in the SRA (State Responsibility Area).  The SRA is generally described as (a) anywhere outside a city/town and (b) on a hillside – so basically everywhere north of Napa City except on the valley floor between Hwy 29 and Silverado Trail.  See map below, and read more to learn about a public meeting about this process.

These changes were mandated by the State if we wanted to maintain local participation in the road approval process for steep hillside and road width exceptions.  When we (the Board of Supervisors) learned of the rule changes, I was very upset to learn that stakeholders – i.e., the affected landowners – also had not been informed about these changes when they were adopted by the State last summer.  I demanded that we create a process to help the public understand why we (the Board) basically were forced to adopt these changes.  These Flow charts for understanding application of new road standards for SRA – 2016 Feb – are what staff created with my input, and what the Board reviewed and approved last week.

The first chart shows shows what would have happened if we had not adopted the rules: they would still apply, but local property owners would have to get approval directly from the State Board of Forestry/CalFire.  The second chart shows the process we have by adopting the rules.  We have already seen the effects of of these rules on some pending projects; I am impressing upon staff the need to do whatever is possible to minimize the consequences to local landowners.

Napa County staff and Cal Fire will hold a public meeting to discuss why the changes were necessary, ideas for potential changes that incorporate the new Fire Safe regulations, and the timeline for updating the standards.  If you wish to have input, try to be there.  The meeting will be Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, 1195 Third St., Napa.

There will be another meeting on April 7.  Here is the Timeline for implementation of new Road and Street Standards – 2016 Feb going forward.  And of course you can always write to us about this issue; good ideas are always welcome!

SRA map as of 2016 Jan 1

Categories: General Information

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