For decades residents of Napa County have been going to the polls, voting to protect agricultural lands and natural environments from developments. The Ag. Preserve, Measure J and Measure P - all have won handily. So Napa Valley is known for its scenic beauty, instead of a carpet of houses.
It was in that honored tradition that Save Rural Angwin (SRA) started the initiative process several weeks ago to protect similar lands in Angwin. The organization completed its petition drive, with more than 6,000 county residents signing up in support. The County Board of Supervisors reviewed potential impacts, but voted 5 to 5 to put the measure on the November ballot as Measure U.
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Measure U is seeking changes primarily in the designation of two areas on PUC land.
1) One would seek the redesignation of a swath of the green fields stretching from the tennis courts northward to the Angwin Plaza. The initiative would designate that stretch as "Agriculture, Watershed and Open Space" (AWOS). That is the same designation which covers the adjoining stretch southward from the tennis courts and accommodates the college's ball fields. These green fields have been farmed or open space for many decades, and Measure U would conserve the entire stretch in that category.
2) The other area is in what is known as the college's "old farm," but which was designated decades ago as "Urban Residential. " Measure U would change that designation to "Institutional, " the same designation that covers the existing PUC campus. That designation would prevent the college from selling the land for public commercial or residential, but would permit it to build educational facilities, dormitories, and faculty-staff housing. In essence, it would just expand the existing campus area to serve its long-range goal for 2300 students, or more.
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The effect of Measure U would be to prevent a developer from building hundreds of houses on those two locations. Highly distrustful, Save Rural Angwin remembers when the college proposed 580 housing units surrounding the campus. And the college still plans to sell off excess lands for development.