As of late Tuesday, there were 14,393 votes against the measure that would limit vineyard development and provide greater protection to the watersheds and oak woodlands. Some 14,080 votes were cast in favor. It was the first time since counting began that the no votes had taken the lead.
There were an estimated 7,000 ballots left to be counted. Election officials expect to release a further update on Wednesday afternoon. The tally won’t become final until the election results are certified and released at the end of the month.
Measure C asked voters to amend the Napa County General Plan and zoning code to create water quality buffer zones within the region’s agricultural watershed, and to restrict tree removal within those zones. The restrictions would include a permitting process for oak tree removal once 795 acres of oak woodland have been removed.
Opponents fear approval of the measure will have a chilling effect on Napa’s agricultural economy, specifically viticulture, the backbone of the area’s world-famous wine industry.