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Old 03-16-2007, 07:37 PM
 
Location: The Frenchie Farm, Where We Grow 'em Big!
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My Partner and I are looking in to the Napa Valley area, including Vacaville, for a possible relocation from Southern CA. One of the things we are curious about are the flood plains, risk of flood, etc., how residents prepare for that, what is the risk, etc. We read a more hisotrical report on the floods in Napa, but it appears to be happening evey six to nine years.

Also Vacaville seems like a nice, affordabe area (for us) as far as living and purchasing a home. Is the commute from Vacaville to Napa bad? Are there better areas that are more accessible to Napa? Good enough schools, affordable level of housing, etc.? What about Novato, Vallejo, Benicia? Or the areas of Hercules, Pinole, Crockett, Martinez, etc?

Any info is greatly appreciated.
Thanks
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Old 03-16-2007, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Burlington VT
1,405 posts, read 4,612,236 times
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I'm not in Ca. I'm in VT. But my parents live in Santa Rosa. That's the biggest city between SF and the Northen border I'm told. It's in Sonoma County. My understanding is that it's less expensive and less developed. But I can tell you it has all the charm (wineries, scenery, etc) I associate with that part of the world. They seem to think it compares favorably with Napa County. And Santa Rosa itself impresses me. But as I said - I don't really know Ca.
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Old 03-26-2007, 08:02 PM
 
Location: The Frenchie Farm, Where We Grow 'em Big!
2,079 posts, read 6,427,080 times
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Question Thanks, Chaz Lounge!

Hey, thanks for your feedback. If anyone else is out there who is commuting to or from Napa, or to or from Vacaville, or from Vacaville to Napa, I would realy like to kow what the commute is like and anything elsde about either city. Also, about cities around Napa that are in commuting distance to Napa.THANKS!
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Old 03-27-2007, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Nashville
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Vacaville is really expensive (700 and up or a new home) its about a 30 minute to Sac ...nothing real special
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Old 04-09-2007, 07:36 PM
 
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I used to live about 10 minutes out of St. Helena, which is around the middle of the Napa Valley. Vacaville is absolutely nothing like the Napa Valley. I haven't been there in about 3 years, but when I lived up there (7 years ago) it was about as generic of a town as you get: Housing developments, strip malls, chain stores/restaurants etc... Same with Fairfield. These are not necessarily bad places, but definitely nothing at all special.

The commute to Napa is not a good one, although you may find that your against the main flow of rush hour on at least some of the roads. Jameson Canyon Road is a narrow, curvy, two lane road, which you can not pass on (even if it's allowed, there is always too much traffic). I used to plan on at least a half hour for that road alone, and it easily could take longer on a bad day. Highway 12 is also considerably more congested than you might think, and can be slow in every direction at rush hour. I didn't drive much on the 80, but just the one mile/interchange I drove on a regular basis (from Jameson Canyon Road to the 680) could take 10 minutes at rush hour.

Santa Rosa is too far to commute, since there is no direct route, and traffic from that side is even worse than from the direction of Vacaville. The 101 is a horrible commute, and once you get off of it onto the 12/121, you are again on a 2 lane road to get into Napa, but here you would probably be against at least some traffic.

Traveling from Novato would at least put you against traffic on the 101, but it is a long drive, and housing isn't going to be any cheaper there than Napa.

I would not even consider Vallejo, Benicia, Hercules, Pinole, Crockett, Martinez, or American Canyon if your worried about schools or safety at all. Vallejo is one of the worst areas for crime/gangs etc. in the Bay Area.

My sister substituted in the Vallejo school district for a few months, and would come home in tears around 4-5 days a week because of the horrible conditions the students faced, and the conditions of the schools there. She regularly had to work with CPS and social workers because so many of her students were in severly abusive situations. Most of her students did not have even the most basic skills for their level, and often didn't even have basic supplies like paper and pencils etc.

If your really set on commuting, I would suggest checking Petaluma, and possibly some areas toward Berryessa on the 121. I would recommend looking in Napa though. I think you may find that the housing there isn't much worse than the other areas your considering (except for those with very high crime).
As far as floods, there were major floods there every single year I lived there. I lived on a mountain above the valley, so was never flooded, but every year I would get stranded up there because the roads in the valley were under water. People who lived on the floodplain would regularly get their houses flooded. I worked with people who tried to raise their house, or sandbag etc, but it never worked, and year after year, they would loose a bunch of stuff to water damage. I never understood why they stayed, but some people just love where they live I guess. The fact is that houses built on a flood plain are going to get flooded no matter what you do. The houses I'm talking about were right on the Napa River though, in the middle of the valley, so if your wise in picking your location, and if your looking south of the valley in Napa etc, it will be a lot easier to find places that are not in the floodplain.

hope this is helpful!
good luck
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:01 PM
 
39 posts, read 147,020 times
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Wow - I'm beginning to question where I've been living for the last 7 years. I believe I live in Vacaville - commuted to St. Helena (beyond Napa) for 2 or so years but my experience is nothing like any of the other posts I'm reading. I was a So Cal person when I moved here so long commutes are no biggie. The commute to St. Helena was a beautiful drive and definitly do-able. 30 minutes with the smell of grapes in the air and hot air balloons to watch as I drove - I went in I-12 and then the Silverado Trail - it was a very pleasent commute. There are homes in Vacaville well under 700k. You won't find that in Napa - that's why we live here. The town is pleasant - more country then Sac, way cleaner and less frenzied then SF and yet we can easily get to both big towns. If I had my choice I'd pay the million or so and have a small, small, small starter home in Napa but without being able to qualify for that home loan I'm very happy to live in Vacaville.
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Old 05-04-2007, 12:52 AM
 
100 posts, read 368,814 times
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Talking Napa/ Vacaville commute

[QUOTE/]I would not even consider Vallejo, Benicia, Hercules, Pinole, Crockett, Martinez, or American Canyon if your worried about schools or safety at all. Vallejo is one of the worst areas for crime/gangs etc. in the Bay Area. [/quote]



[QUOTE/]If your really set on commuting, I would suggest checking Petaluma, and possibly some areas toward Berryessa on the 121. I would recommend looking in Napa though. I think you may find that the housing there isn't much worse than the other areas your considering (except for those with very high crime).
As far as floods, there were major floods there every single year I lived there. I lived on a mountain above the valley, so was never flooded, but every year I would get stranded up there because the roads in the valley were under water. People who lived on the floodplain would regularly get their houses flooded. I worked with people who tried to raise their house, or sandbag etc, but it never worked, and year after year, they would loose a bunch of stuff to water damage. I never understood why they stayed, but some people just love where they live I guess. The fact is that houses built on a flood plain are going to get flooded no matter what you do. The houses I'm talking about were right on the Napa River though, in the middle of the valley, so if your wise in picking your location, and if your looking south of the valley in Napa etc, it will be a lot easier to find places that are not in the floodplain.[/quote]

Hi --
Ok, I have to clarify a few things with this post. First of all, I lived in Napa for 7 years and grew up visiting grandparents in Napa for many years, so I have seen the area change a lot. While Napa has grown IMMENSELY in the last 10 years and gotten much more expensive, it is a nice spot. Our biggest complaint was getting in and out of the valley on weekends and in the summer when all of the tourists are coming into the valley to wine taste -- big drag as far as traffic goes, because there is only really one main way in and out (with a few variations on how to catch the freeway).

Napa does NOT flood every year. They tend to get more rain than much of the Bay Area, but unless you live in the river area, you are usually ok. We lived north of downtown and did just fine. Newer housing developments (which are now all over the place) tend to have better plans for drainage, and even downtown, which used to take the brunt of the river cresting in winter, has made drastic changes to the area to reduce flooding. Still, you don't want to live in the downtown area and take that risk, IMO.

The commute to Vacaville is not too bad -- I did it for years. About 35-40 min. is a safe guesstimate, allowing for some slow areas and depending on your time of day. Yes, Jamison Canyon Rd. can be a pain, but it is a beautiful drive--just leave yourself enough time to get out to 80. I detest Vacaville and you could not pay me to live there! It is HOT in summer and pretty much a city of outlet and strip malls.

Marinez and Benicia are fine areas to live in! Parts of both are very quaint, others swanky. Elementary schools in much of Martinez are quite good, but when you get to high school, as in much of CA, not as good. I consider Martinez and Benicia generally quite safe. I wouldn't choose to live in Crockett, AMerican Cyn., or Vallejo for safety reasons -- not good.

Hope this helps!

Last edited by fishstix3; 05-04-2007 at 12:53 AM.. Reason: unnecessary info.
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Old 05-04-2007, 07:43 PM
 
18 posts, read 176,827 times
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Benicia is a great town. Its nothing like Vallejo. Really, nothing like it at all.

Benicia is very small, with lots of upper middle class. It has VERY low crime (the lowest in the area and it feels very safe here), great schools, gorgeous parks everywhere, cute mom and pop restaurants, quaint downtown, and its a mostly white-collar area. We not are native Benicians, but we love it here.
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Old 12-11-2007, 03:31 PM
 
10 posts, read 40,416 times
Reputation: 17
Default Not So Fast about Vallejo

I know a number of people who live in Vallejo, and some of the comments being posted here are out of date. Vallejo is in the midst of a resurgence, and neighborhoods are being upgraded & revitalized. The market is at work, and given that Vallejo is VERY much of the Bay Area--and literally ON the Bay, economic pressures will elevate Vallejo to a higher level of amenities and safety. What is going on on Mare Island, the former US Naval shipyard, is a prime example, but there are others.

These kinds of transformations take time and money, but it is happening in Vallejo.
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Old 02-15-2008, 11:12 AM
 
5 posts, read 17,453 times
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I grew up in Napa, parents are still there...the weekends in and out of the Valley are horrible...but commuting out during the week is a nice and beautiful drive. I used to go to Travis AFB everyday! It is expensive housing, but my parents are in a home that is paid for and enjoy the shopping on a fixed income. they are thrifty.
As to the floods...having seen the fear and pictures the media shows regarding Napa floods...we laugh as it is the same downtown area by the river they show everytime. A close up that has a spill over.
My parents have a sump pump for the deluges that come in the winter. The downtown is beautiful, with the Chef's market and River complexes.
We are moving back to cali from NewMex and looking forward to many drives back to the valley.
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