Worried that future politicians might not always have what’s best for agriculture in the Napa Valley in mind, local voters enacted Measure J in 1990. Measure J gives the electorate the final say on whether agricultural land can be converted to other uses, stripping that power from the politicians, in this case the Napa County Board of Supervisors.

To conservationists, these new measures have, in essence, constructed a protective wall around the Ag Preserve to block out development, and given citizens the key to the gate. “The voters hold the vision for the community,” Supervisor Mark Luce said at the time.

In 2008, local voters overwhelmingly passed Measure P, extending the provisions of Measure J until 2058. Unlike Measure J, however, Measure P allows state-mandated affordable housing to be built on agricultural land if no other sites are available.

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