Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hurdle Scaled in Dixon

Hurdle Scaled in Dixon
By Erin Pursell/Staff Writer

LAFCO on Monday approved Dixon's annexation of the 60-acre former Milk Farm site on I-80. (Rick Roach/The Reporter)

Long considered a Dixon landmark, the old Milk Farm restaurant property is now officially part of the city.

The Local Agency Formation Commission decided Monday to allow the annexation of the historic area to the city of Dixon.

Future plans for the property, which once was home to a restaurant where many travelers stopped en route between the Bay Area and Sacramento from the late 1930s to the late 1980s, likely will be related to highway commercial uses, including restaurants and shops.

"The (Milk Farm) project historically is the the 'front door to Dixon' because the city of Dixon wasn't visible at that time from the highways," explained Dixon City Manager Warren Salmons. "The redevelopment project will hopefully serve the traveling public and be even better than what it once was."

Milk Farm Associates have presented a conceptual plan for the 60 acres located north of Interstate 80 at the interchange of Curry Road and State Route 113. The proposal includes a possible research park, recreation facility and a hotel, among other provisions.

"It's a good economic development project for the city," said LAFCO Executive Officer Shaun Pritchard.

While Milk Farm Associates has clarified its vision for the property, commercial development of the area, which still needs water and sewer service, is not expected to begin until June 2007.

Topping concerns about the annexation were a number of environmental issues.

Commissioner Duane Kromm, a county supervisor, worried that development could encroach on prime agricultural land.

"90 percent of it (the plan) I agree with, but was concerned with adequate buffers on the western agricultural edge," Kromm said.

The project does call for some 30 acres of agricultural buffers as well as conservation easements, although there is still some uncertainty regarding agricultural zoning.

"I'm a farmer myself and I would like to keep part of it a farming operation," said Paul Moller, a general partner of Milk Farm Associates, better known as an aviation visionary for his research into flying vehicles.

Dixon Mayor and LAFCO commissioner Mary Ann Courville added that the city's general plan would provide protection to the area's open space.

In other action Monday, the commission annexed nearly 100 acres known as Mariani Packing Partnership to the city of Vacaville. The company occupies 57 acres of the site located at the northern end of Crocker Drive within the Interchange Business Park, completely surrounded by Vacaville.

There are no immediate plans for the undeveloped portion of the site. The annexation will allow the firm to connect with the city's Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant, a matter to be considered tonight when the Vacaville City Council meets.

Erin Pursell can be reached at vacaville@thereporter.com.

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