July 28, 2005
Bordoni project moving forward
City Council OKs 1st steps in process
By CHRIS G. DENINA, Times-Herald staff writer
Amid concerns from residents, Vallejo officials have approved several early steps in the process to consider a proposed 445-unit housing project called Bordoni Ranch.
The City Council reached its decision late Tuesday night after hearing from dozens of speakers, including some supporters of the proposal by Danville-based Braddock & Logan Services Inc. Opponents, however, helped pack the council chambers and submitted letters and petitions asking the council to leave the 190 acres as mostly open space.
The council voted after 11 p.m. to move forward and consider pre-zoning the project, certifying a report on the development's impacts and asking a county commission to let Vallejo annex the ranch land into its city limits.
With the city's population expected to grow in coming years, Vallejo needs more housing, Councilmember Gary Cloutier said.
"We're going to have to make room for people to live, and that's the unfortunate reality," Cloutier said.
He added he saw no legitimate reason to reject the environmental report, a major hurdle for the development to proceed.
Vallejo officials said the city would be able to handle the new residents the proposed neighborhoods would bring. But opponents said the Bordoni Ranch development would put a strain on resources including the fire department.
"Developers need to foot the bill for their projects, not the citizens of Vallejo," Margo Myles, who lives near Bordoni Ranch, told the council. "We don't need this project."
A grassroots opposition group (available online at SmartGrowthOpenSpace4Vallejo.org) turned in about 2,000 petition signatures against the project. A lawyer for the group couldn't immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
While the development raises some concerns, it's important to point out some positives, Councilmember Tony Pearsall said. The project would leave 97 acres as open space, add 3,400 feet of trails and expand Highlands Park by 10 acres, he said.
Local union representatives said the project could help the local economy, bringing many new jobs to the area.
"It's going to put Vallejo workers to work," said Rod Cameron, business manager of Plumbers & Steamfitters Union, Local 343.
Consultants hired to study the project's impacts on the area said the housing project could cause some problems. For example, the added homes would bring more traffic to the area, especially along Columbus Parkway.
A representative for the developer said the company's open to talks about helping pay for the road-widening work.
The environmental analysis also highlighted plans to build a single road for the western side of the project, which is divided by Columbus Parkway. Having only one road to enter the neighborhood could be an issue in an emergency. The report said leaving the western parcel as open space is the preferred alternative.
City officials said the report accomplished its job - raising major issues with the development.
"I think we've had a good discussion," Councilmember Gerald Davis said. "I know that not everybody is going to leave here happy."
- E-mail Chris G. Denina at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 553-6835.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
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