Loewke Planning Associates Michael T. Loewke, AICP Richard T. Loewke, AICP

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Polson Road Napa County Vineyard:

Constraints Analysis & Entitlement for Vineyard in Napa County

Merrill, Noruma & Molineux LLP / Bank of Alameda - 2011

This 91-acre property in the Jameson Canyon area of Napa County received preliminary entitlements in 2001 for 34 acres of vineyard, but failed to resolve key environmental constraints and develop required mitigation consistent with the County's adopted MND. A second effort to refine and expand the initial entitlements was unsuccessfully undertaken in 2008, and the property was subsequently foreclosed upon. Loewke Planning Associates was retained in 2011 by the Bank and their legal counsel for purposes of conducting an audit of the previous entitlements and to explore the potential for expansion of planned vineyards. Our study included review of previous engineering studies, meetings with County staff, preparation of an updated environmental constraints analysis, and testing of opportunities for expanding the original vineyard entitlement. Our research included a strategy for resolution of various slope stability and related geotechnical issues, refinement of the initial plans and entitlements to improve overall production efficiency, documentation of water supply, verification of avoidance of jurisdictional wetlands, and integration of mitigation consistent with the April 2010 final rule published by the USFWS for protection of critical habitat for the California red-legged frog. Our work confirmed the potential for a substantial expansion of initial 2001 vineyard blocks, based on development of a refined erosion control plan and supporting environmental documentation. Our firm concurrently developed a PowerPoint presentation to delineate the key environmental constraints, and to facilitate a better understanding of the geographical relationship between individual factors.
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