Wednesday, August 16, 2006

New Facilities for AmCan to be Discussed at Council Meeting

New Facilities for AmCan to be Discussed at Council Meeting
By DAN JUDGE/Times-Herald staff writer
Vallejo Times Herald

AMERICAN CANYON - The construction of more than a thousand new homes, a community center, sports complex and school in American Canyon are all part of a plan that the City Council will consider Thursday.
The council is scheduled to receive an update on the master plan for the Oat Hill area, American Canyon's largest chunk of undeveloped land.

It will also be asked to determine if a financing plan should be put in place for public facilities in the nearly 364-acre project, and an environmental impact report prepared.

Some of those who live and work in the Oat Hill area say they're still unsure of the plan.

Longtime Hess Road resident Fran Lemos, who said a 29-acre sports complex is being planned for a portion of the 30 acres she owns with a brother-in-law, is finding herself in that camp.

Despite being a tireless cheerleader for the city since it incorporated in 1992, Lemos said she may need to obtain legal consultation before the matter is finished.

"The land was given to me and I wanted to pass it on to my children," she said Tuesday. "I want the best thing for the city - I always have - but it looks like I'm going to have to get an attorney to make sure my interests are protected."

Helene Marshall, who along with her husband Spencer owns the nearby Marshall's Farm honey producing facility, said she's concerned because their four-and-a-half acre parcel was meant to provide a retirement nest egg.

"We want to make sure when we decide to exit that we get a fair return," she said.

The Oat Hill plan proposes a combination of residential, commercial, open space and public uses.

The project site consists of about 72 parcels owned by more than 30 individuals, corporations and public entities. Steven Brock and Rick Hess are the main developers.

Existing commercial uses would remain with the addition of new commercial activities on the site's eastern portion of the site, according to interim Planning Director Sandra Cleisz' report to the council.

The balance of the development would consist of about 140 acres of various forms of residential development, 33 acres of public roadway, 69 acres of open space and 20 acres of public and semi-public uses, Cleisz wrote. Those public uses would include a new fire station, community center, elementary school, church and the existing water tanks on the top of Oat Hill.

Residential development would provide a variety of housing types, including townhouses, single-family detached homes, cluster homes, hillside homes and residential estates. The master plan proposes up to 1,428 new dwelling units.

The open space would be interspersed with residential development to preserve existing views and natural features, while supplying recreational opportunities within walking distance of the new homes, the report states.

If the council approves the plan, it will be asked to direct staff to draw up a financing plan for facilities like the new school and fire station. The city's planning staff also will request an OK for an environmental impact report.

Mayor Cecil Shaver said he has briefly reviewed the plan but already has some issues with it.

He voiced concern about the location of earthquake faults on the property and the city's ability to provide water to homes built on top of Oat Hill, which would be above existing water tanks.

Shaver said he would prefer to see the top of the hill kept as open space or a large park.

"I have to look at some of the population figures, too," Shaver said. "They keep trying to overload that area with housing and I'm not really happy with that."

The council will consider the matter at its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Recreation Center, 2185 Elliott Dr.

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