Monday, December 18, 2006

Dixon Yearns for a Piece of Biotech 'Pie'

Dixon Yearns for a Piece of Biotech 'Pie'
Planners to weigh zoning change in new ploy to attract lifescience firms to Dixon.
By Melissa Murphy/Staff Writer

Biotechnology is booming in Northern Solano County but so far, Dixon hasn't joined the ranks of local cities capitalizing on the trend.

That could change if the Dixon Planning Commission approves a proposed change in city zoning laws Tuesday.

The commission meets at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, 600 West A. St.

On tap for Tuesday is a proposal aimed at attracting bioscience businesses to the city.

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

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

City staffers researched what types of businesses would be permitted uses in various zoning districts under current city law. What they found was that bioscience businesses were not listed as a permitted use in any city zone. They found the only use that might be considered similar to bioscience is laboratories.

Staff is recommending that the Planning Commission change that situation and add "bioscience" to the permitted uses in the city's light industrial zones.

If they approve the idea, it would go to the City Council at a future hearing.

In other action Tuesday, the Commission will discuss a proposal to divide a more than two-acre parcel into 14 lots in the existing County Faire Subdivision. The change would allow for multiple residential development at the site.

The project is consistent with the zoning ordinance for the area, according to a city staff report. Staff is recommending approval of the subdivision with conditions to address the building setbacks, fencing and potential pollutants.

Also Tuesday, the commission will discuss an expansion of the Blood Bank Warehouse on Business Park Drive.

A staff report explained that Stanley and Edgar Mertz are proposing to construct a 2,400-square-foot addition to expand the existing animal blood bank business.

Melissa Murphy can be reached at

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