Monday, September 19, 2005

The Villages at Fairfield building 2,327 homes and apartments on 434 acres by Lewis Planned Communities before Fairfield City Council on Tuesday

Article Last Updated: Sunday, Sep 18, 2005 - 11:19:29 pm PDT

Council to consider large development near Cement Hill

By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - City councilmembers on Tuesday will pass judgment on a massive, proposed community near Cement Hill Road in northeast Fairfield.

The Villages at Fairfield is one of the council's last chances within existing city growth boundaries to shape a large development from scratch. The council advocates pedestrian-friendly communities.

But building 2,327 homes and apartments on 434 acres at this particular site poses challenges. The developer must work around such constraints as wetlands and a stand of rare Contra Costa goldfield flowers.

Council members meet at 7 p.m. in their chamber at 1000 Webster St.

Vice Mayor Harry Price on Friday said the plan by Lewis Planned Communities addresses most of his major concerns. The developer has worked with the city for months on the proposal, including appearing at City Council study sessions.

Residents in the new development will be able to walk to school, a planned shopping center and the planned Fairfield-Vacaville train station, Price said. The trail and path system in the development will take vehicle traffic off nearby roads, he said.

"That was a major one for me," Price said.

He also praised such things as the 130 units in the Homecomings apartment complex to be set aside for Travis Air Force Base personnel and a community center Lewis is to build near the planned elementary school.

"I know there are folks in town that are looking at this project as the next place they'd like to live," Price said.

But, Price said, even if Lewis gets council approval, it must still get environmental permits from various regulatory agencies.

"That I'm sure is going to be a challenge," Price said. "Any time you're dealing with wetlands issues or endangered species, there is always that big question."

The Planning Commission on Aug. 17 recommended approval of the Villages.

Commissioners had been particularly concerned about traffic problems the new development could cause.

Lewis proposes to make improvements to various roads in the area, such as Manuel Campos Parkway. Some of these improvements are beyond those called for in the environmental study.

"Pretty much all the traffic has been taken care of," Commissioner Thomas Mattis said at the Aug. 17 hearing.

To approve the project, the council must also approve a "statement of overriding considerations." This statement acknowledges there are environmental effects from the project that cannot be overcome.

The Villages environmental study finds one such case: Air pollution. Building the development means more cars and more smog. The City Council can rule the benefits of the development outweigh this negative.

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

At a glance

Who: Fairfield City Council

What: The Villages at Fairfield development

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: City Council chamber, 1000 Webster St.

Info: 428-7461

Solano's Got It!

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

Blog Archive