Article Launched: 09/18/2005 08:02:14 AM
Milk Farm Vision Vies on Reality
By David Henson/Staff Writer
A Davis inventor's vision to revitalize the former Milk Farm restaurant site in Dixon may move closer to reality Tuesday night. Transforming the long-vacant landmark back into the city's gateway, however, will take more time and additional environmental studies.
Dixon planning commissioners will consider recommending four separate measures relating to the 62-acre project, which has been in the works, off and on, since 1997.
In addition to two resolutions relating to the zoning for the project, commissioners also will weigh the project's final environmental impact report and a request for the Solano Local Agency Formation Commission for the city to annex the land.
Chief among the issues raised in the environmental impact report are the unavoidable effects the project will have on traffic in the city and along an already congested Interstate 80.
But the ultimate effects the project could have on traffic and other issues is somewhat nebulous, since the developer, Milk Farm Associates, headed by Davis businessman and inventor Paul Moller, has yet to pitch firm development plans - only a visionary, conceptual plan.
"The applicant's intent is to submit development applications at a later date," City Manager Warren Salmons said in a staff report.
Those more detailed plans would be subject to additional review by the city before work on the site could begin.
"This is definitely not the last word," said Steve Peterson, Moller's Milk Farm project point man. He added that there is still plenty of time to collaborate with community members on the project.
Under the project's current conceptual plan, Milk Farm Associates wants to build a two-phase, 30-acre development. The first phase would transform 14 acres into a 200,000-square-foot retail center to include a transportation center, a cafe similar to the historic Milk Farm restaurant, a fine-dining restaurant and shops that support the site's historical, agricultural themes.
The group also could include a four acre campus-style headquarters for Moller International, Paul Moller's vehicle for researching, manufacturing and promoting his flying car called a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft.
The project's second phase could include a hotel and conference center.
The plan also calls for 30 acres of agricultural land, including a pond.
By getting the project site rezoned and annexed prior to submitting development plans, the development group could increase the value of the land and give businesses confidence in investing in the project, said Jack Allison, former vice president of Moller International and an investor in the Milk Farm project.
"We want to use this project as a new gateway to Dixon," Allison said. "We will move ahead as rapidly as we can."
It also simplifies the approval process, said Peterson, who works for Environmental Stewardship and Planning in Sacramento.
"Gaining the annexation makes the development process more streamlined," Peterson added. "Actually, we prefer it. There's great logic in taking it in a step-by-step manner."
Planning commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall on 600 East A St.
David Henson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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