Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2012-02-21 "Demolition of Cuttings Wharf cottages alters area’s zoning" by Peter Jensen from Napa Valley Register
The 23 low-income cottages on Cuttings Wharf Road have been razed and almost all of the scrap debris removed, but what the future holds for the site is unclear.
Demolition of the cottages, which stood for decades and provided residents some of the cheapest rents in Napa County, began last month and was expected to wrap up last week. On Monday, five people were at the site removing the last of the wood debris.
Most tenants paid less than $350 a month in rent, but were evicted in 2011 after the county found that the cottages weren’t up to safety and building codes. Owner Kenneth Moore decided to demolish the buildings instead of bringing them up to code, saying the repairs were too costly.
Once the residences were demolished, the property lost its zoning as a residential site — which had been grandfathered in — and its zoning reverted to agricultural watershed, says Larry Florin, the director of the county’s Housing and Intergovernmental Affairs Department.
Moore didn’t respond to attempts to contact him on Monday about what he has planned for the property. Attempts to reach former residents were also unsuccessful.
Napa resident Curtis Hayes was fishing on a dock at Cuttings Wharf on Monday, and said he lamented the evictions and demolition of the cottages.
Hayes said he’s been fishing at Cuttings Wharf for 40 years, and sometimes encountered former tenants. He said he found them to be nice people.
“It’s kind of too bad,” Hayes said. “The people who lived in the houses lived there a real long time. They were all kind of sorry to see the places go.”
The loss of the cottages hasn’t put a dent in business at the nearby Moore’s Landing restaurant, owner Carl Larsen said.
“Business has been unbelievable,” said Larsen, who took over as owner at the start of this year. “It’s tremendous.”
Larsen said a side room that once had a pool table in it has been renovated to include televisions and more seating for bar patrons and diners. He has plans to renovate an outside area so it could potentially have live music, he said.
“It’s been gangbusters,” Larsen said.
Larsen said Moore also owns the restaurant’s building, but he hadn’t heard what Moore has planned for the cottage site.
Hayes said he supported it being rebuilt, but considers that unlikely.
“It would be neat to see them rebuilt, but I don’t see that happening,” Hayes said. “All they did was lose a bunch of low-income housing. I don’t know where (the tenants went). I’m sure they’re all paying more rent these days.”

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