Wednesday, November 29, 2006

City OKs Marina Project Accord

City OKs Marina Project Accord
Shorter Buildings, Wetland Park Part of Long-Delayed Deal
By Chris G. Denina, Times-Herald staff writer

As early as March, residents will get the chance to give their two cents on design standards for a controversial waterfront project.

That's because the Vallejo City Council on Tuesday approved a settlement deal putting to rest a lawsuit a grassroots group filed nearly a year ago against the plan.

After nine years trying to get the project off the ground, developer Joe Callahan of Callahan DeSilva Vallejo LLC said he is glad to see the issue resolved. He said the settlement is "good for everybody, and I think will work for everybody."

The agreement between the city, its Redevelopment Agency, the developer and the Vallejo Waterfront Coalition - the latter which sued to stop the project - requires public input through workshops and a review board.

Under the settlement, buildings will be shorter than previously planned, said Senior Community Development Analyst Bonnie Robinson Lipscomb. For instance, retail buildings along Mare Island Way will be limited to 45 feet instead of 65, she said.

"So it's a pretty dramatic change," Robinson Lipscomb said.

The deal also requires the developer to pay for a 4-acre wetland park and the use of water-conservation equipment in new developments.

"This is a much superior waterfront project ..." said coalition co-chairperson Marti Brown, noting the parties met numerous times to reach the deal.

One issue not addressed in the settlement was the replacement of recently stolen plaques honoring American war veterans from the waterfront's Marina Vista Memorial Park. Staff said the issue would be discussed in March, but Mayor Tony Intintoli Jr. said he had concerns about waiting until then. The bronze plaques were discovered shortly before Veterans' Day observances at the waterfront.

"The veterans' memorial needs to be restored," Intintoli said.

Intintoli asked Councilmember Stephanie Gomes to comment on the settlement, since she was a founding member of the coalition before she was elected last year. Gomes, who resigned before taking office last year, said it was unfortunate the coalition had to sue to get changes made to the waterfront plans.

"The public needs to be involved early and often," Gomes said.

E-mail Chris G. Denina at or call 553-6835.

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