|At a loss for some
good summer reading?
Then search no more the library shelves or bookstores in
Solano County, and head to Dixon City Hall - though it might
take you a full week's vacation to get through the city's
selection of environmental impact reports.
Environmental impact reports are informational studies on
the effects that proposed developments will have on various
aspects of the community and are required by law.
Though inches-thick and cumbersome at times, the documents
nonetheless can pique public curiosity or concern, depending
on the project.
This summer, an unusual number of the documents are
surfacing in Dixon and the locals are buzzing because each
analyzes a major project with the potential to affect the city
significantly, whether educationally, culturally or
"Collectively, this is the most significant time for
planning and community development since the mid-1990s," Dixon
City Manager Warren Salmons said.
Available for review thus far are the impact reports for
the Brookfield housing development and the revival of the Milk
Farm, a long-dormant cultural landmark.
The Brookfield development is the "key that unlocks" the
Dixon Unified School District's ability to build its new high
school by 2007, Salmons said.
Of course, the most anticipated EIR release is that of
Dixon Downs, a proposed 260-acre, $250 million horse-racing
facility that has drawn both cheerleading and biting criticism
from local residents. Initially, it was thought the report
would be ready at the beginning of June, but the release has
been delayed at least for the next few weeks, Salmons said.
Though coffee table books they aren't, the environmental
studies probably could become local bestsellers, that is, if
they were for sale.
Mayor Mary Ann Courville
said the magnitude of the projects, particularly Dixon Downs,
has prompted people in much larger numbers than usual to
request the reports.
"We've had an onslaught of letters asking questions that
will be answered by the EIR," Courville said. "People want a
copy of the document. More and more people want to become
informed and part of the decision-making process."
She asked residents to be patient, as the council must have
time to read, probe and ask their own questions about the
documents as well.
And if the aforementioned reports aren't enough to keep
lazy summer days occupied, there's always the upcoming Flying
J truck stop project and the next planning stage of the
Southwest project area.
Of course, many of these projects and development areas
have been rolling around City Hall for the better part of a
decade, but all seemed to have reached this climax at the same
time in the Dixon's story line.
"We certainly weren't planning this. No one would have
wanted the number of projects of this size at the same time,"
Salmons said. "It's just serendipity, maybe."
David Henson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.