Thursday, November 06, 2003

Work has started on 10 single family homes Tourtelot site

Thursday November 6, 2003

Benicia mayor Steve Messina speaks at ceremonies marking the remediation and reuse of the Tourtelot Property along Rose Drive on Wednesday afternoon. Construction of homes has already begun on the former defense site, known to contain ordnance and
Ordnance cleared from Tourtelot site.

Ordnance cleared from Tourtelot site

By GREG MOBERLY, Times-Herald staff writer

BENICIA - In three to five years, developers hope to have the entire Tourtelot property built out but on Wednesday local community members and dignitaries were celebrating the simple fact that home development has begun.

Unexploded ordnance from the former Arsenal site has been successfully cleared so work has started on 10 single family homes, said Pacific Bay Homes senior vice president Scott Goldie. Pacific Bay Homes is the developer of the site.

The state Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have signed off on the private cleanup effort for the first 81 lots off McAllister Drive, Goldie said.

When the DTSC and the Army Corps sign off, the entire cleanup the Water's End neighborhood is expected to include 417 homes on 225 acres.

Several officials spoke Wednesday while perched atop a cleared area just north of Rose Drive. Home construction could be seen below the plateau.

"This large and difficult journey broke new ground (in intergovernmental cooperation)," Goldie said. The project shows what can be accomplished with community members and state and federal officials working together to clear the site, he said.

Speakers mentioned the work of several committees that worked to get the cleanup done since unexploded ordnance was discovered in 1996.

The development that would complete the Southampton neighborhood was first proposed in 1989.

DTSC and Army Corps officials said the Tourtelot property is the first former U.S. Department of Defense site that has been cleared for unrestricted residential use.

Without community help the project would have never happened, said Mayor Steve Messina. "This project represents everything that is great about Benicia."

Assemblymember Lois Wolk, D-Davis, said the project is an example of what needs to be done to meet California's housing needs.

"The big picture is more of us in California need to tread carefully," Wolk said. "There's not a drop of earth to waste."

- E-mail Greg Moberly at or call 553-6833.

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