SACRAMENTO -- The
pace of urbanization increased in Napa
County, with 511 acres of land converted
to urban uses between 1998-2000,
according to a map released today by the
California Department of Conservation.
Such maps are designed to help local
governments evaluate land use-planning
The Farmland Mapping
and Monitoring Program (FMMP), part of
DOC's Division of Land Resource
Protection, maps 44.1 million acres of
California's public and private land to
produce a major study every two years.
In Napa County, 432
acres of agricultural land -- including
99 acres of prime farmland -- were
reclassified as urban land by the FMMP.
An additional 79 acres of new urban land
came from land classified as "other" --
a category that includes wetlands,
low-density "ranchettes" and brush or
timberlands unsuitable for grazing.
Since the FMMP began
in 1984, just over 3,000 acres have been
urbanized in Napa County, and the county
has actually gained about 5,000 acres of
farmland. Bucking the statewide trend,
Napa joins Solano, Sonoma and Santa
Barbara as counties in which the
planting of wine grapes has exceeded the
pace of urbanization. During the 1996-98
mapping cycle, the total urbanization in
Napa County was 274 acres.
During the latest
mapping cycle, 1,296 acres of new
farmland were created due to the
reclassification of grazing and "other"
land. The survey found new vineyards
throughout the county, especially in the
Napa Junction and Pope Valley areas.
Of the 505,859 total
acres mapped in Napa County, 259,697 (51
percent) were in agricultural use,
202,621 acres (40 percent) were "other"
and 21,110 (4 percent) were urbanized.
The remainder is in water areas.
The map has been sent
to Napa County planning officials, and
interested organizations such as the
county Farm Bureau, Local Agency
Formation Commission, planning
consultants and area resource
conservation districts have received
"We do this mapping
to help counties plan and prepare for
their expected growth in the coming
years," explained Department of
Conservation Director Darryl Young.
"This information is a tool that can
help Napa County and other local
governments balance the needs of a
growing population with those of the
agricultural land will continue to face
development pressure in the foreseeable
future. The California Department of
Finance projects that the county's
population will grow from its current
123,300 to 148,800 by 2020.
According to the
California Department of Food and
Agriculture, Napa ranks No. 20 among 58
California counties in gross value of
agricultural production (about $344
million in 2000).
Following are some of
the examples of agricultural land being
urbanized in Napa County found by the
The new Yountville
Golf Course adjacent to the Veteran's
Home and the Villagio Inn and Spa
across the highway.
About 150 acres of
new warehouses and industrial
buildings in the vicinity of the Napa
County Airport, particularly in the
Napa Valley Gateway Business Park.
New homes and
buildings in the Napa and American
Canyon areas totaling approximately 50
The latest statewide
study by the FMMP, Farmland Conversion
Report 1996-98, was released last fall.
About 70,000 acres were urbanized
throughout the state; more than 43,000
acres of the new urban land, an area
about the size of the city of Modesto,
were developed on agricultural land.
Department of Conservation, the state
offers several programs that provide
financial incentives to keep land in