Monday, February 13, 2006

Council's OK Would Give Flood Protection

Council's OK Would Give Flood Protection
By Tom Hall/Staff Writer

Vacaville officials have reached a purchase agreement with landowners for a 60-acre chunk of land crucial for the city's flood protection plans.

The City Council is expected to authorize the purchase of the 60 acres west of city limits and south of Alamo Creek at its meeting Tuesday night.

Negotiations on the land have been in progress for about three years, said Rod Moresco, the city's deputy director of maintenance administration.

Because there were eight landowners involved, Van Kirk said the negotiations were complex and time-consuming.

He added that the New Year's Eve flood that caused an estimated $25 million in damage for Vacaville did not affect the speed of negotiations.

The city will pay $1.85 million over 10 years for the property, which puts the land's price around 70 cents per square-foot.

Van Kirk said the tab is based on an appraisal, and that he feels comfortable with the purchase price.

Moresco said the money to purchase the land and turn it into a detention basin will come from a number of sources, including a $250,000 state parks grant awarded to the city last year.

Development impact fees, collected for both drainage system improvement and open space acquisition, will also be used to fund the project, Moresco said.

Encinosa Creek cuts through the southern portion of the land. The project would work to reduce peak flows on that creek on its way from the Vaca Mountains to its confluence with Alamo Creek within city limits.

It would also capture overland run-off from the higher western elevations, Moresco said, helping protect the ability of drainage systems within the city to function properly during heavy rains.

A 1990 watershed study pointed to four areas where detention basins were needed to mitigate flood threats, the Pleasants Valley area, this project is slotted for, being one of them.

Basins reducing flows on Alamo, Ulatis and Laguna creeks are also planned. Van Kirk said the city will make every effort to get flood protection projects in place.

Moresco said the city is currently compiling a preliminary design report for the Pleasants Valley project. He said sections of the basin could hold up to eight feet of overflow water, while knolls and the like wouldn't be designed to capture any water.

Along with being used as a basin, the land will also serve as a passive open space park.

Moresco said it's not clear how more the project will cost in total, but said he did not expect the cost of improvements to exceed the $1.85 million land price tag.

Tom Hall can be reached at

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