Friday, August 05, 2005

Solano County prepares to update its General Plan

Article Last Updated: Wednesday, Aug 03, 2005 - 11:08:18 pm PDT

County prepares to update its General Plan

By Barry Eberling

- Solano County will create a multi-year vision for the unincorporated areas that includes roads, open space and housing.

The county will update its General Plan in a three-year, $1.5 million effort, which will include a series of public meetings.

County planners don't have to start from scratch, since the county has a General Plan. But some sections are 23 years to 33 years old.

The resource conservation and open space section dates back to 1972. The scenic highway section dates back to 1977. The land use section dates back to 1980.

It's time for an update, county officials said.

The county Planning Commission is to hear a presentation tonight on how the General Plan will be updated. Commissioners meet at 7 p.m. in the government center, 675 Texas St.

Supervisor Mike Reagan has goals for the updated vision. He wants a Solano County that's prepared for predicted growth that could double the population by 2050.

Most development under county law is to take place in cities and Reagan wants to make certain the county roads linking cities can handle the traffic.

He wants to look at where the county can zone areas for job creation. Another issue is where habitat will be preserved to comply with environmental laws for developing habitat elsewhere.

Such issues as recreation, housing requirements imposed by the state and airport land use must be addressed, he said.

This is a big task, Reagan said. The vast majority of work is driven by state laws, he said.

Supervisor Barbara Kondylis also has goals for the General Plan. She wants to update the 1979 section for Collinsville.

This remote area along the Sacramento River is zoned for industry and a deep water port. That vision never became reality and Kondylis wants to zone the land for agriculture.

She also wants to look at designating areas in the county for scenic, open space and recreational values, Kondylis said. She mentioned the Vacaville hills as an example.

"As so much development pressures come on us, we should be more cognizant of special areas," she said.

Meeting state-imposed housing goals for the unincorporated areas poses a challenge, she said.

The state wants Solano County to preserve ag land and create housing, Kondylis said. County officials must decide how to do both, she said.

The county plans to form a citizens advisory committee for the General Plan this fall. It will hire a consultant and will do an environmental study. It will hold public workshops.

All of this is to culminate in 2008 with hearings before the Board of Supervisors and adoption of the new General Plan.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

Some General Plan sections

-- Land Use. Designates how land will be used for housing, business, industry, open space and education, among other things.

-- Circulation. Identifies where roads are and where they should go. Also deals with such things as bike paths, truck routes, airports and ship routes.

-- Housing. Assesses existing and predicted housing needs.

-- Conservation. Looks at natural resources, among them water, forests, soils and minerals.

-- Open space. Looks at preserving open space for nature, resources, recreation and public health and safety. Identifies agricultural land.

-- Noise. Looks at noise problems and land use.

-- Safety. Includes programs for earthquakes, flooding and wildfires.

-- Collinsville-Montezuma Hills plan. Sets policies for the rural area between Suisun City and Rio Vista.

-- Tri-City and County plan. Sets policy the rural hills between Fairfield, Benicia and Fairfield.

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