Water Quality and Tree Protection Ordinance

On January 15, 2019, the Board of Supervisors approved the Napa County Strategic Plan (2019-2022). As a part of its approval, the Board directed staff to initiate an effort to update the Conservation Regulations and to develop to other regulations as needed regarding the following specific Strategic Actions:

12.A: Update the Conservation Regulations to improve requirements for stream setbacks, to better protect riparian habitat while providing flexibility for farming.

12.B: Improve tree preservation by adopting a separate ordinance increasing canopy protection and mitigation requirements throughout the unincorporated area.

12.E: Evaluate modification of buffers around municipal reservoirs.

On April 9, 2019, the Napa County Board of Supervisors (BOS) amended the County’s Conservation Regulations with the adoption of the Water Quality and Tree Protection Ordinance (WQTPO) to enhance requirements for stream, wetland, municipal reservoir setbacks, and to increase tree canopy retention and preservation. These new requirements will go into effect on May 10, 2019.

Since 1991, the County’s Conservation Regulations (Chapter 18.108) prohibited the construction of main or accessory structures, earthmoving activity, grading or removal of vegetation or agricultural uses of land within required stream setbacks. With the adoption of the WQTPO, existing requirements were expanded to apply setbacks to wetlands and ephemeral and intermittent streams. In addition, the Conservation Regulations have required minimum vegetation retention requirements within municipal water supply watersheds. These retention requirements for vegetation canopy have been increased from sixty to seventy percent and expanded to apply to the Agricultural Watershed (AW) zoning district outside of municipal watersheds.

The ordinance is implemented by the Napa County Department of Planning, Building, and Environmental Services (PBES). An Implementation Guide has been prepared and is available to provide landowners and applicants with general background and guidance to help facilitate the building permit and land use entitlement application process. The guide also lists additional resources available at PBES.

Contact Information

PBES Director: David Morrison
Email David Morrison
Phone: 707-253-4805

Conservation Supervising Planner: Brian Bordona
Email Brian Bordona
Phone: 707-259-5935

Project Documents

(documents below are organized by meeting date)

Planning Commission (PC) Meeting - February 20, 2019

  1. Staff Report

  2. Public Notice

BOS Meeting - March 26, 2019

  1. Updated Draft Ordinance *
    * County staff discovered formatting errors in the draft ordinance below.  These errors likely resulted from conversion of the draft document from Word to PDF.  Staff corrected those formatting errors, and made other non-substantive clerical corrections.  Staff also identified and corrected two outdated and incorrect references in the current chapter.  

  2. Draft Ordinance

  3. BOS Summary Table (from 1/29 meeting) and PC Direction (from 3/6 meeting)

  4. Public Notice

  5. Draft Ordinance, final red line version

  6. Ordinance No. 1438: Water Quality and Tree Protection Ordinance (Clean Version)