Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Development dilemma Some neighbors want planned homes to be bigger

Article Launched: 09/12/2005 06:48:55 AM
Development dilemma
Some neighbors want planned homes to be bigger

By Tom Hall/Staff Writer

An abandoned driveway, lined with giant walnut trees, could soon be a small subdivision if plans by developer Edenbridge Inc. go through. (Rick Roach/The Reporter)

Controversial developments in Vacaville usually come a bit larger than the 48-home project set for Nut Tree Road and Summerfield Drive.

And of developments that come under fire, you won't find many where angry neighbors argue for bigger buildings.

But the budding battle over the "upscale townhomes" planned for the edge of Vacaville's Summerfield neighborhood isn't very ordinary.

Residents squared off at the meeting of the Vacaville Planning Commission Tuesday in the first public skirmish over Edenbridge Inc.'s planned development of 48 small-lot homes on 4.95 acres in southeastern Vacaville.

But they came armed not with fiery words and demands for project downsizing; instead, they were calm and had a prepared presentation.

Led by area resident Greg Duffy, the opponents laid out their case over a little more than hour about why Edenbridge's project doesn't fit next to Hawkins Park, which sits on the south edge of Ulatis Creek. They cited some of the usual concerns: quality of life, environmental impact and traffic issues.

But some argued that the houses just weren't big enough.

Neighbor Michael Denning said the 3,500-square-foot lots just don't fit in with the surrounding area. He said the developer should reduce the number of homes planned in order to increase the lot size to 5,000 square feet each.

Tom Phillippi, who is working with Edenbridge on the project, said Tuesday that this is the third attempt to develop the parcel that now sits full of old walnut trees. Previous incarnations of the development called for housing more dense than is now planned, he said.

City planner Tyra Hays said the project is tricky to classify. It could be considered a single-family residence project, or a multi-family development. When planning commissioners take action on the project, they'll have to decide under what conditions the development will be classified.

Neighbors also expressed concern over what they feel is a burgeoning traffic problem: the intersection of Summerfield and Nut Tree.

Residents said Tuesday that turning left onto northbound Nut Tree off of Summerfield is a daunting task that will only become worse if more residents are added to the area. City traffic engineer Ozzie Hilton said a traffic light cannot be placed at the intersection because of its proximity to Nut Tree's signalized intersections at Ulatis Drive and Elmira Road.

Residents said a proposed sound wall around the new development could further traffic issues, forcing drivers to jut out into Nut Tree to see past the wall.

Edenbridge's Tom Simonson said Tuesday that the developer will look into moving the soundwall back away from the road.

The issue is far from over. The commission meeting Tuesday was a study session for the project. The commission is expected to vote on the development Sept. 20. A City Council debate would follow.

Chris Gustin, the city's assistant director of community development, said the developer will continue to work with neighbors to try to come up with a project everyone can live with.

"There's a lot of give and take on this," Gustin said.

Solano's Got It!

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

Blog Archive