Planning & Building Department Expenditures

General Fund Department 01-2115

Planning and Building Department Mission Statement

"The mission of the Planning and Building Department is to provide professional and equitable administration of the State of California and Town of Yountville's codes and policies while fostering creative and diverse design and uses for an exceptional, safe, and quality-designed livable built environment."

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Department Overview

The Planning & Building Department is responsible for maintaining policies and regulations contained in the Town’s General Plan, Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance, Climate Action Plan, and Building Code. The implementation of these policies and regulations ensures balanced land uses, orderly development, protection of public health and safety, and conservation of environmental and historic resources and compliance with State and Federal Legislation.

The department has a staff of three (3) led by the Planning and Building Director, with programs managed by two Assistant Planners. Historically the department is supported by a Planning Manager and one (1) Assistant/Associate Planner level position, however this position is currently under-filled at the Assistant Planner position level. Department administrative duties are supported by a shared, part-time Administrative Assistant with the Finance Department. The Department utilizes contracted services to perform building plan check/building inspection/building official, and code compliance officer functions, and on-call, as needed case planners for projects such as the Housing Element Update.

The department is responsible for all aspects of community development including the following functions:

  • Respond to daily inquires and assist citizens in understanding land use and building regulations.
  • Manage and influence the entitlement process.
  • Evaluate development proposals; prepare and present staff reports.
  • Provide and maintain up-to-date public information on the Town website.
  • Administer legal/public notices, and direct press releases.
  • Clerk public hearings before the Zoning, Design, Review Board (ZDRB).
  • Engage the public, ZDRB, and Town Council in topic-specific discussions to develop new or amended policy.
  • Prepare and incorporate State-mandated codes related to planning and building.
  • Manage interagency coordination, such as Napa County Planning, Building, and Environmental Management; Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA), Department of Fish and Wildlife, Napa County Fire Department/CALFire, Caltrans, and Corp of Engineers as necessary.
  • Maintain and report demographic and housing data as required to other agencies including the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), Department of Finance, the Napa Valley Unified School District, and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).
  • Implement the Town’s affordable housing goals.
  • Direct and manage the Town’s contract building permit plan check and inspection services.
  • Perform code compliance investigations, site inspections, and compliance follow-up.
  • Manage the employee parking management program.
  • Administer ministerial permits such as tree removal, minor home occupations, residential rental permits, and ABC permits.
  • Manage all Commercial Use Permits and conduct annual review and management as needed.
  • Manage, and maintain the wayfinding sign program.

Fiscal Year 2021/2022 Accomplishments

  • Successfully handled staff turnover with the hiring of completely new team including a Planning and Building Director and two Assistant Planners.
  • Transitioned to a new contracted consultant team to provide plan check, building inspection, and building official services.
  • Executed a contract with OpenGov for the online permitting processing.
  • Developed interactive Zoning map for the public to use on the Town website.
  • Responded to major changes in California State Legislation regarding infill housing, adopting Ordinances to respond to Two-Dwelling Unit developments, Urban lot splits, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), and Multi-family development.
  • Completed a historical inventory of the Old Town Historic Zoning district.
  • Kicked off the 2023-2031 Housing Element Update process including hiring PlaceWorks as project consultant; launched a new housing element website; holding 6 public meetings and 4 ad hoc meetings , submittal of the draft document to HCD is on time and expected in July 2022.
  • Adopted a new Zoning District, Zoning text amendment, and new Zoning Map to allow for higher density development and affordable housing to comply with the Housing Element Update policies.
  • Consolidated the Zoning and Design Ordinances (ZODO) into one Zoning Ordinance.
  • Adopted a Washington Street Activation Ordinance to support the positive outcomes of the pandemic – outdoor seating, curbside pickup, and temporary retail activation use permits.
  • Conducted Conditional Use Permit Monitoring for 38 businesses as part of an enhanced formal monitoring program. This includes 18 restaurants, 10 tasting rooms, six (6) hotels, and four (4) retail or service businesses.
  • Adopted Vehicle Miles Traveled thresholds for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to fulfill State requirements.
  • As of April 30, the department handled 42 code compliance cases, thirteen of which resulted in the issuance of Notice of Violations (NOV), 15 that resulted in courtesy letters, and fourteen that were able to be successfully addressed without issuance of a courtesy notice or an NOV.
  • As of April 30, the department approved 33 tree removal permit applications.

Fiscal Year 2022/2023 Goals and Objectives

  • Launch online building permit portal for over the counter building permits by the Summer of 2022.
  • Utilize electronic tablets for building inspection, land use public inquiries, and code enforcement.
  • Expand the online building permit programs with a goal to include all land use/planning related permits managed online by end of Fiscal Year 2022-23.
  • Scan additional Planning and Building Department paper files by the end of 2022-2023 Fiscal Year to make them available to the public via user-friendly public website portal.
  • Adopt the Housing Element Update with HCD approval for the 6th Cycle Housing Element Update by January 2023.
  • Encourage workforce rentals with the adoption of a grant for deed restricted units, senior and workforce share program, and others.
  • Continue conversations with various partners to enhance affordable housing opportunities within the town limits.
  • Initiate a comprehensive review of the Sign Ordinance in coordination with the industry and the Chamber of Commerce, and the ZDRB.
  • Revise the recommended tree list to include only drought tolerant trees.
  • Adopt a riparian friendly landscape plant list for landscaping within the Hopper Creek setback.

Budget Highlights

  • The Contract Services budget has increased to account for foreseen demands in the department with the increase of activity post pandemic. This includes re-establishing the code enforcement contract services, specialized services, such as the Housing Element Update, technology training, transition support, attorney services, specialized consulting including, but not limited to arborist, historic architects, environmental analysis, as well as to aid with regular department needs.
    • $97,000 is budgeted in Contract Services for continuation of the Housing Element Update, includes costs such as CEQA compliance..
    • $60,000 is budgeted in Contract Services for legal assistance from the Town Attorney for items including development project legalities, Municipal Code amendments, and code compliance.
    • $15,000 is budgeted for on-call specialty consultants to service needs for arborists, (historical) architects, environmental consultants (CEQA).
    • $45,000 is budgeted for Contract Services for master planning and environmental planning on an as needed basis.
  • Travel budget increased from $4,250 to $7,300 to allow for investment in the training and development of employees, including anticipated participation in the Esri, Laserfiche Empower, and American Planning Association (APA) annual conferences.

Did You Know?

  • The median income for the County of Napa is $110,000 for a family of four, which means anything less you could be considered for affordable housing opportunities; approximately 41% of Yountville households are considered lower income.
  • The trend of the valuation of the current building permits for new construction is about $1000/square feet.
  • Now in its fifth year, the Rental Registration Program requires all residential rental properties within the Town to obtain a permit. Staff manages nearly 170 permits, which account for more than 340 rental housing units.
  • The Town’s Wayfinding Sign Program includes 48 participants, a decrease of 11 name plates in the 2021-2022 fiscal year due to attrition from V Marketplace.
  • The Town’s Employee Parking Management Program includes 18 businesses, representing over 600 employee vehicles. This shows about a 50% increase in employees from last fiscal year, largely due to the reinstatement of permits that had been removed due to COVID-19.
  • The Town initiated an Economic Recovery Program that supported nearly 40 Yountville businesses.

Department Expenditures

Program Revenues

Full-Time Staff Allocations

*Deputy Director of HR & IT position was formerly titled Management Analyst II.

**Planning Manager position currently underfilled at the Assistant/Associate Planner level. Planning Manager position was formerly titled Management Analyst II.

***Assistant/Associate Planner position was formerly titled Assistant Planner.

Performance Measures

The Town of Yountville considers it crucial to measure how individual department activity ties into the overall Town Strategic Plan. The Planning Department focuses on two of the Town's Strategic Plan Critical Success Factors: