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For Dixon, big projects in pipeline
By David Henson/Staff Writer

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 commercially.

"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.

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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 dixon@thereporter.com.

     

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