Monday, March 14, 2005

More than 5,000 residences on horizon in Vacaville

Metropolis in making
More than 5,000 residences on horizon

By Tom Hall/Staff Writer

If Vacaville isn't already considered a metropolis, the day when it is may be coming soon.

Projections show that by 2025, Vacaville could have more than 120,000 residents - not counting inmates at the two state correctional institutions in town. More than 5,000 homes are in the city's approval pipeline.

Some major projects, like North Village in northeastern Vacaville, are already under way. North Village is expected to bring up to 2,400 homes to the city.

Other projects, like development in Lagoon Valley, are still moving through final approvals. Lagoon Valley won't break ground until late 2006 at the earliest, and it will bring in a little more than 1,000 homes.

There are also mostly speculative projects to consider including possible apartment units at the redeveloped Nut Tree site. Developer Roger Snell has tentative plans in place for as many as 200 apartments in the remake of the once-popular highway stop.

Some projects will build small, affordable units for niche groups, like the Vanden Road Townhomes development, which will be targeted at personnel at Travis Air Force Base.

Other projects are focusing on a different group of homebuyers with larger offerings, such as the Reynolds Ranch, which boasts lot sizes of up to an acre.

Regardless of the size, shape or cost of the housing units, they all have one thing in common: They're bringing more residents to Vacaville.

Chris Gustin, the city's assistant director of community development, said each new housing unit is estimated to bring an average of 2.83 new residents to Vacaville.

Using that figure, 5,000 new homes would bring more than 14,000 new residents to the city.

The actual tally of new homes may be closer to 6,000, Gustin said, because of the various infill projects in the works. That would mean just less than 17,000 new residents for Vacaville.

Ken Campo, the city's finance manager, said an influx of new homes means an immediate boost to the local economy.

"The new residents help in the short-term," Campo said. "There's more property taxes being paid, more sales tax is being paid."

Property tax revenue for the city could increase as much as $21 million, depending on the value of the homes eventually built. Campo said the impact on the long-term health of the local economy more heavily relies on the creation of local jobs.

"If you've got jobs, that means you have employers here," Campo said. "Then you have people going out to lunch, stopping at the store here and keeping people off the freeway."

Gustin said the city should be at full build-out in the year 2025. As a result of negotiations involved in the Lagoon Valley development, the city is looking at creating an urban limit line that would restrict how far out Vacaville could spread.

Most land that falls within the general guidelines of that limit line either is developed or has development plans under way. Gustin said population increases would be very modest once full build-out is accomplished.

But an influx of residents comes with some costs. Along with new residents comes an increase in demand for city services.

As such, three new fire stations are in the works - at Lagoon Valley, the Southtown area on Vanden Road, and near North Village. New schools are also planned, including an elementary school in the Reynolds Ranch area and a high school off Leisure Town Road.

Campo said to offset a lot of costs, nearly all new homes will be part of community development districts. Fees will be assessed on property owners in those areas to pay for infrastructure, park improvements and, in some cases, private roads.

Tom Hall can be reached at

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