Thursday, February 21, 2008

Council OKs Environmental Report For Business Park

Council OKs Environmental Report For Business Park
By SARA STROUD/Times-Herald staff writer
Article Launched: 02/21/2008

On Tuesday night the Benicia city council approved the environmenatal report for the proposed Benicia Business Park project just off of Lake Herman Road. (Stacey J. Miller/Times-Herald)

BENICIA - After a lengthy discussion, the City Council voted 4 to 1 late Tuesday to green-light the environmental report for the controversial Benicia Business Park.

Although the council certified the environmental impact report, members attached "substantial conditioning" to their approval. They asked for more environmental review and changes so the project will comply with the city's general plan, City Manager Jim Erickson said.

Traffic, pollution and urban decay in other parts of town are among the city's concerns, Erickson said.

In addition to vocal project opponents, union construction workers who hope the project will create jobs squeezed into the packed council chambers for the proceedings.

"It was the public's night," Mayor Elizabeth Patterson said.

But, Patterson said, some residents may have been surprised by her vote to pass the report after she has long expressed her ardent opposition to the project in its current form.

"It was a done deal," Patterson said, since three council members were already on board to accept the report.

"I tried to make the best of a bad situation," by insisting on additional environmental review in potential problem areas, Patterson said.

Councilman Tom Campbell cast the lone dissenting vote.

"We're a hop, skip and a rationalization from the project being OK'd," Campbell said Wednesday. "The project doesn't work, it doesn't match the plan and it's not at all what we're looking for."

While Campbell questioned the authority of the council's authority to add requirements, City Attorney Heather McLaughlin said state law dictates that the project must conform with the city's general plan.

"It's a pretty strong statement," McLaughlin said of the council's caveats.

The next step likely will be for the project to face Planning Commission review. This must be done within 50 days, but city staff wondered Tuesday night whether the applicant might seek more time to adjust the project.

The proposed mixed use development is slated to occupy about 528 acres between Lake Herman Road and E. Second Street.

Sal Evola, vice president of project developer Discovery Builders, said in a recent interview that an approved report will allow the company to create a project that fits within the environmental framework.

A representative from Discovery Builders was not available for comment Wednesday.

E-mail Sara Stroud at or call 553-6833.

Solano's Got It!

Solano's Got It!
The Best That Northern California Has To Offer.

Blog Archive