Council Delays Vote On Downtown Recovery Plan
By SARAH ROHRS/Times-Herald staff writer
Article Launched: 01/30/2008
The City Council Tuesday delayed a crucial vote on Vallejo's downtown development plan, though residents and business owners urged decisive action.
Triad Communities is requesting another year to get its residential/commercial project off the ground. An extension would also require a $200,000 guarantee.
Mayor Osby Davis recommended the delay so officials can devise an extension plan that can win council approval. The issue returns to the council March 11.
Triad president Fred Grimm stressed that the firm is committed to the project, though the current housing market makes building and financing difficult.
"There's no need to tell the council about the challenges facing the city of Vallejo, but we've never lost faith in the city of Vallejo," Grimm told the council.
Grimm added the current economic downtown does not mean the Triad plan is a bad one.
Resident Diana Lang urged quick action, and that the city not throw out the project. "By saying 'No' to Triad you will be saying no to any developer who may want to come to Vallejo," she said.
Marti Brown, who was part of a citizens group which reviewed the downtown plan, said the city has had plenty of time to work on parking and other issues. Brown said the plan has strong community support.
Further, Thom Morgan said that each delay means the development will cost more. "We need to get started on this now rather than keeping putting it off," he said.
Meanwhile, the Triad downtown project picked up an endorsement from former critic Buck Kamphausen, Vallejo businessman and downtown property owner.
After talking over his concerns with Grimm, Kamphausen said he is now "very much in favor of Triad." Kamphausen also called the $200,000 guarantee a penalty, and urged that it be waived.
Currently, only four council members can consider the issue. Councilmembers Tom Bartee, Stephanie Gomes and Michael Wilson each has a conflict of interest.
Councilwoman Joanne Schivley asked City Attorney Fred Soley to see if there was a way for more than four members to participate. All four must vote in favor of the extension for the project to move forward.
Triad's first phase involves a 182-unit combined condominium/commercial building on a city parking lot on Virginia Street across the street from the newly renovated Empress Theatre.
Possible parking impacts from building on that lot have generated considerable questions and concerns.
• Contact Sarah Rohrs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 553-6832.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
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