News Details

Environmental process under way for Solano Fairgrounds plan

September 23, 2011

VALLEJO — Environmental studies of a plan to revitalize the Solano County-owned fairgrounds are under way and the proposal is less than a year away from approval.

Solano County leaders met Thursday at Vallejo City Hall to lay out the time line of the studies and what they will include.

The 149 acres is at the interchange of Highway 37 and Interstate 80 and is one of the largest pieces of publicly owned property in the Bay Area, making it visible and attractive to developers, officials said Thursday.

A proposal to revamp the fairgrounds has been long in the making, but plans took another turn this year. A market analysis by county-hired consultants found another entertainment venue to complement Six Flags Discovery Kingdom would be more viable than the hotels, offices and retail previously proposed.

So the initial project description now dedicates 30 acres to entertainment commercial and another 20 to entertainment mixed-use. A new fairgrounds would cover 40 acres. A transit center, open space, parking and roads make up the rest.

Over the next year, Solano County and its consultants will release a detailed environmental report and specific plan for the fairgrounds aspect and broader reports about the rest of the project. A closer look at the entertainment aspect of the plan will occur once developers and a specific entertainment venue is selected.

The environmental review process starts with a 30-day period of public comments on what should be considered. That period ends at 5 p.m. Oct. 10. Comments can be emailed to solano360@solanocounty.com or mailed to Ron Grassi, Solano County principal management analyst, 675 Texas St., Suite 6500, Fairfield, CA 94533.

Draft versions of the specific plan and environment impact report will be released in January. Final versions will become public in April and May with a final vote by the Board of Supervisors in June. An environmental impact report looks at potential effects of the project and how to mitigated them.

Randy Chafin, a consultant with Michael Brandman Associates, said the environment report will consider impacts to air quality, water quality, geology and soils, noise, greenhouse gas emissions and cultural resources, among others.

The one public speaker Thursday said Lake Chabot and nearby creeks should be considered in the reports because they will absorb water runoff from the site. Doug Darling said the soil should be examined because of horse urine from the old racetrack stables and Lake Chabot should be tested for mercury because cinnabar was mined in the area in the past.

Reach David DeBolt at 427-6935 or ddebolt@dailyrepublic.net.

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