Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Rockville Estates Plan Stalls, For Now

Rockville Estates Plan Stalls, For Now
By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - County supervisors on Tuesday decided they need more information on such issues as treated wastewater ponds before they can decide the fate of the proposed 370-home Rockville Trail Estates development.

What all this entails should become clearer on Oct. 9. Then supervisors will discuss once more that questions they want answered and learn when the answers might be available.

David Carroll of White Wing Highlands Associates has been trying to develop the Rockville Trails Estates site in hills above Green and Suisun valleys for more than 15 years. He expressed a willingness to press ahead with a couple more studies to satisfy county supervisors, if need be.

"Whatever they say, we'll do," he said after the four-hour meeting, a yellow "Vote yes" button pinned to his shirt.

Project opponents also took stock of the situation after the meeting.

"This is probably as good an outcome as we could have expected from this meeting," said Linda Seifert, president of the Green Valley Landowners Association.

Rockville Trails Estates would place 370 homes on 1,580 acres in the hills above Suisun and Green valleys, with the entrance being across the street from Rockville Hills Park. The project would include 810 acres of open space and 6.5 miles of public trails.

Treated wastewater ponds proved a big issue for the supervisors.

The project would treat sewage onsite with a small wastewater treatment plant. Treated wastewater would be used to irrigate grapes. But, during wet winters, when the ground is saturated, it would be stored in ponds.

Several nearby residents expressed fear the earthen berms around the ponds might break and flood their properties. An environmental report's conclusion that the ponds would be safe failed to satisfy them and, in the end, the supervisors.

The developers have talked of trying to create one big pond at another location that wouldn't drain toward existing homes. Now it appears they'll have to complete their study on the topic before the board votes on their project.

Only Supervisor Barbara Kondylis said she's already decided to cast a "no" vote on Rockville Trails Estates. She was the lone supervisor to vote against seeking further information, saying the project goes against county policy of funneling these type of housing developments into cities.

"It's an urban project trying hard to look like it's a rural project," Kondylis said.

Supervisor John Silva said he doesn't oppose the project, nor is he waving the flag for the project. But he also noted that change comes.

"Is this better than 500-and-some homes? Yes," Silva said. "Is it better than 400-and-some homes? Yes. Is it better than nothing? No. But we have some realities in life to face."

Among the other issues supervisors want to learn more about is an earthquake fault on the property and whether Rockville Trails Estates wells could lower the water table, to the detriment neighbors with shallower wells.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

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