Questions & Answers regarding Measure C

Question: What is Measure C, and when will I be voting on it?

Answer: Measure C is the ballot measure letter assigned to the Napa County Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative of 2018. Voters throughout Napa County will have an opportunity to vote on Measure C in the June 5, 2018 primary election (ballots will be mailed to voters the week of May 7th).

Question: Who would be impacted by Measure C?

Answer: All properties over one acre in Napa County zoned as “Agricultural Watershed”.

Question: Aren’t there existing regulations that protect our watersheds and oak woodland areas?

Answer: Yes. The Napa County General Plan, Napa County Conservation Regulations, Erosion Control Plans, Viewshed Ordinance, Water Availability Analysis and Agricultural Lands Preservation Initiative (voter-approved Measure J) all go to great lengths to ensure the preservation of our watersheds and oak woodland areas.

Question: Could oak woodlands still be removed if Measure C passes?

Answer: Yes. Measure C allows for 795 acres of oak woodlands to be removed, at which point a use permit would be required for further oak woodland removal. “Oak woodlands” are defined by the Initiative as two or more adjoining oaks whose trunk is 5” in diameter or greater, and once the oak removal limit is reached, a permit would be required to remove just two oaks on one’s property.

Question: How will water quality be protected by Measure C?

Answer: Proponents of Measure C have not disclosed how water quality will be protected under Measure C. The measure would redefine streams and wetlands as well as prescribe standard buffer zones versus Napa’s existing practice of establishing setbacks based on slope and concern. , There is no scientific analysis to explain how our watersheds or water quality will be protected or improved under this measure.

Question: Is there any quantifiable evidence to substantiate the need to enhance protections for our watershed and oak woodland areas?

Answer: No. While Measure C’s authors contend that existing regulations don’t go far enough to protect our environment, they have not been able to provide any scientific research or other compelling evidence to support their claim that this measure will further improve the watershed, the oak woodlands or the quality and/or quantity of Napa’s drinking water.

Question: Has there been a legal review of Measure C?

Answer: Yes. The law firm Miller Starr Regalia recently released an independent legal analysis of Measure C, concluding the measure is “arguably unlawfully vague and misleading,” “subject(s) property owners to enforcement actions and criminal penalties who, through no fault of their own, lose trees due to wildfire” and creates a “significant likelihood the Initiative could be (legally) challenged.”

Question: What are the fiscal impacts of Measure C?

Answer: Napa County has not conducted a thorough fiscal analysis of Measure C, but should it pass, an independent legal analysis notes the likelihood of decreased property tax revenues from parcels within the Agricultural Watershed whose property rights are restricted by the measure, the likelihood of litigation that would have to be defended from the County Counsel’s Office at taxpayer expense, and increased enforcement actions which typically only recover 35% of the cost of enforcement through administrative penalties and fines; the rest of those enforcement costs would be paid by taxpayers. Collectively, these fiscal impacts could result in hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in taxpayer expenses, thereby reducing flexibility and resources to fund other essential county services.

Question: What groups are opposing Measure C?

Answer:Measure C is opposed by every agricultural organization in Napa County, including Napa County Farm Bureau, Napa Valley Vintners, Napa Valley Grapegrowers and Winegrowers of Napa County. Measure C is also opposed by Sustainable Napa County and Coalition Napa Valley, as well as numerous residents and elected officials.

Question: If Measure C passes, if future agricultural proposals diminish within Agricultural Watershed parcels, are there other revenue-generating land uses that could be developed?

Answer: Yes. Measure C narrowly targets agriculture, yet does not factor in other types of development that could pose a greater long-term threat to the Napa Valley. If one’s property is not viable for agriculture, then other uses will be explored.