Monday, February 28, 2005

Booming Vacaville plans for more growth

Booming Vacaville plans for more

By Claire St. John

VACAVILLE - Under a deluge of new projects, the City Council and department heads rolled up their sleeves and sank their teeth into plans for even more.

Some of the major goals talked about at a strategic plan meeting Friday were a fire and police training facility, beginning work on the Nut Tree development, a streamlined approach to preventing and reducing crime and various methods of maintaining and revitalizing the city.

Participants frequently paused during the four-hour meeting to praise staff, compliment council members and give congratulations for work completed, but Mayor Len Augustine said everyone deserved it.

"We have placed great demands on you through (the previous two-year) strategic plan and somehow you've always rallied," he said. "We're sometimes embarrassed about always bragging about you at council meetings, but we really feel that way."

Since the last strategic plan two years ago, Vacaville has undergone major changes. A new police department is being built and downtown's storefronts are almost all open for business. Executive housing is on the way now that the Lagoon Valley project, with 1,025 homes, was approved last week and an affordable housing study has been completed.

"I think we can be proud of the last two years," City Manager David Van Kirk said.

Potential problems lay ahead in the next two years, and to ensure they'd be just as proud in 2007, the council made goals to keep abreast of increasing health care and retirement costs, to find methods of funding 220 miles of slumping storm drainage and make sure the police and fire training center gets built.

Councilwoman Pauline Clancy said she wanted land ready if an industry's eye lands on Vacaville, as it did when Mercedes briefly considered the city.

"In 10, 12 years we're going to be close to buildout," Clancy said. "We have to start looking for land for industry. I would like to keep enough land set aside instead of building homes all the way to Dixon."

But Clancy and others said they didn't want Vacaville's booming growth to get in the way of its "hamburger and milkshake" feel, as Don Schatzel, director of community services, said of Vacaville's small-town character.

"These sessions are so important because they really allow us to plan for a future," Councilman Steve Hardy said.

Reach Claire St. John at 427-6955 or

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