Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dixon Puts Biotech in its 'Beaker'

Dixon Puts Biotech in its 'Beaker'
By Melissa Murphy/Staff Writer

Chances of attracting biotechnology to Dixon received a boost Tuesday night with a Planning Commission decision to add appropriate terminology to city zoning ordinances.

"We wanted to be ahead of the curve," said Community Development Director Dave Dowswell. "To be safe and let that particular land use be added. We're really trying to take a proactive approach."

The idea first surfaced earlier this year during debate over a proposed horse racetrack and entertainment facility.

During the recent debate over Ontario, Canada-based Magna Entertainment Corp.'s Dixon Downs racetrack proposal, a number of citizens questioned city leaders as to why Dixon has not yet attracted bioscience businesses such as Genentech or ALZA, located in Vacaville. They argued that such businesses would be much more welcomed to the community than a racetrack.

Dowswell researched what types of businesses would be permitted uses in various zoning districts under current city law. He found that bioscience businesses were not listed as permitted uses in any city zone.

Dowswell decided to add the term "bioscience" as a listed permitted use in the city's light-industrial zone.

Dowswell explained that he had the authority to add the term without approval by the commission, but chose to advise commissioners of his decision. He also will inform the City Council during a meeting in January.

The commission agreed with Dowswell's decision.

In other action, the commission agreed to continue until a date that has yet to be determined, a discussion about the Country Faire Unit 2 Subdivision, which would involve dividing a 2.2-acre parcel into 14 lots for residential use.

Matters relating to an expansion to the Blood Bank Warehouse also will be continued since the applicant was not present during Tuesday's meeting and commissioners still have questions about the project.

Tuesday's meeting was Commissioner Diane Hefner's last. She decided a few months ago to resign her position on the commission to focus more on her job and give time back to herself.

"I'm walking away with a wealth of information," Hefner said. "I have enjoyed this from top to bottom."

Commissioner Dan Ayala gave Hefner a certificate of appreciation for her service on the commission.

"You've been very instrumental in all of our landscaping projects," Ayala said. "You will truly be missed."

Commissioner Yvonne McCluskey agreed.

"You've been a positive influence," she said. "You've been very productive and I'm glad to have had your expertise."

Melissa Murphy can be reached at

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