Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Suisun Valley Ag Horizons Explored

Suisun Valley Ag Horizons Explored
By Danny Bernardini/Staff Writer

Suisun Valley residents and landowners Tuesday night got a peek at two proposals that would allow them to explore new moneymaking options.

County staff has proposed a tourist 'Suisun Loop' in the valley plus establishment of neighborhood agricultural centers.

The proposals were on display during Solano County's Suisun Valley Special Study Area meeting at Solano College. Nearly 50 people gathered for this second of four meetings to analyze what changes they want to see as part of the county's General Plan Update.

Many in the valley complain that the current plan does not include an agricultural element and places too many restrictions on farmers by limiting moneymaking options on their property.

"They are absolutely suffocating the valley. It's a recipe for disaster," local landowner Dean Frisbee said of the county. "Somebody better do something. Something needs to be done."

Information gathered at these meetings will be sent to the county's Citizens Advisory Committee and eventually to the Board of Supervisors.

The proposal entitled "Neighborhood Agricultural Center" would complement the agriculture-tourism commercial centers at Mankas and Rockville corners, as long as they enhance the agricultural character of Suisun Valley and help develop brand-name recognition.

The centers could include bed-and-breakfasts, restaurants, retail stores and facilities for selling local produce.

Included among the centers would be one called the "north connector" area at Abernathy and Chadbourne roads that would act as a gateway to the valley.

The second proposal would create the "Suisun Loop" encompassing the new gateway and other areas such as Mankas and Rockville corners. Any property facing this loop would be allowed to house value-added facilities such as a communal fruit processing installation, wine-tasting rooms and fruit stands.

Meeting facilitator Jeff Henderson reminded the group that these proposals are just that and likely will change as the process continues.

Danny Bernardini can be reached at

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