Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ranchotel owner offers to share land with K-9 facility

Article Last Updated: Wednesday, Nov 02, 2005 - 11:06:08 pm PST

Ranchotel owner offers to share land with K-9 facility

By Ian Thompson

- A proposal to give search-and-rescue K-9 units a place to train received favorable reviews from the Vacaville Community Services Commission in its first public presentation Wednesday night.

While commissioners said the proposal by Ranchotel Horse Center owner Del Berg was one that would benefit the community, they told city staff to critically look at it and consider dropping the idea in the Vacaville Planning Department's lap.

Berg's appearance before the Community Services Commission is the latest stop in his campaign for a land swap that would protect his business and give the Office of Emergency Services training facilities it needs.

Vacaville K-9 officer Mark Raymond said Berg's proposal would give the Vacaville K-9 units a local place to train in, saving them from long drives to Sacramento or the San Francisco Bay Area training facilities.

The owner of the Ranchotel has been talking with Triad Communities, the firm planning to develop Lagoon Valley, about a land swap involving four acres of land just west of Ranchotel.

Berg proposes signing off any development rights he has in return for four acres of land. Solano County's Office of Emergency Services would exchange five acres it has on the southeast side of the lake for another five acres next to the four acres Berg wants.

The Ranchotel owner promises to build and maintain staging and training facilities that would include two barns and an obstacle course that the OES, police and search-and-rescue units could use.

Berg also wants to provide shade for the land by putting in an orchard, which will provide a screen between his ranch and a proposed church slated to go in on land immediately to the south.

The OES would relocate there and use the site whenever they needed and Berg would use it when they don't, allowing him pasture land to keep his horse ranch competitive in that business.

“They can stage at the site and it would not interfere with the ranch,” Berg said.

It would also help him with plans to create a hands-on high school agricultural program for Vacaville students with training ranging from pruning and plowing to marketing and payroll.

If Berg gets the approvals he needs, he estimated it will take 10 years using his own money to build everything, less if he can get deals from local businesses to lower the costs.

“The taxpayers won't pay a dime,” Berg said. “The city (Vacaville) won't have to build or maintain anything.”

If Berg can get the swap, Office of Emergency Services Director Bob Powell said the facilities would help OES.

“We met with him a few times. This is an extension of what was offered to us by the city of Vacaville. This would allow us to do some search and rescue training and mounted patrol training,” Powell said

Powell called it “a great deal for us because it would be of no cost to the county. The citizens would reap the benefit since we could better train our search and rescue.”

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or

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