Wednesday, October 13, 2004

School district OKs land swap

By Audrey Wong

FAIRFIELD -- Travis school board members gave official approval Tuesday to a property exchange with a developer so the district would have land for future schools in Vacaville.

The district will swap two properties, amounting to nearly 11 acres, near Foxboro Elementary School and Nut Tree Road for 30 acres owned by Meritage Homes of California Inc. The Meritage property is off Nut Tree Road between Youngsdale Drive and Foxboro Parkway.

By securing the land, the district won't have to shell out potentially millions of dollars when it needs to build a new elementary school and a middle school. The Meritage property would cost much more when it's developed, district officials said. The district is down 70 students this year, but developers are buildings homes in Vacaville, which may draw more families with school-age children.

Board member Harry Axhelm said the district is paying less per acre for the Meritage property than in a normal purchasing transaction.

"This is a tremendous bargain today," he said.

The deal calls for the district to pay Meritage $1.2 million plus the two properties. But the district is exploring waiving about $1.2 million in fees that Meritage would have to pay the school district for buildings homes on the land. If that happens, it wouldn't have to pay the developer any money.

If the district must pay Meritage, then it will use funds designated solely for facilities and not general fund money. Board member Ed Sanderson was concerned about what would happen if there was a depression and the developer didn't build homes on the property. With no construction the developer wouldn't have fees and the district would have to pay the whole $1.2 million.

The district has garnered enough from Mello Roos property taxes to cover that amount, said Bill Taylor, assistant superintendent of business and fiscal resources.

Reach Audrey Wong at 427-6951 or

Solano's Got It!

Solano's Got It!
The Best That Northern California Has To Offer.