Wednesday, August 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Fairfield eyes $807,500 consultant’s plan

growth west texas, 3/18/11

Pictured here is West Texas Street in Fairfield. The Fairfield City Council is paying for a study on West Texas Street and downtown improvements that could qualify the city for future OneBayArea grants. (Daily Republic file)

By
From page A3 | June 20, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — A Davis consultant and others would be paid a total of $807,500 for a south downtown Fairfield and West Texas Street plan funded by OneBayArea and the city – a proposed document the City Council takes up Tuesday and which could qualify Fairfield for future OneBayArea grants, the city staff says.

Mayor Harry Price said the city spent $8 million more than 20 years ago on downtown improvements. It’s appropriate to extend planning to West Texas Street and south downtown, Price said.

Councilman John Mraz said he’s concerned about Bay Area planners trying to dictate which cities will grow.

But he added that, “West Texas needs a facelift.”

“They did it to downtown,” Mraz said of work undertaken decades ago in the central business district.

The Davis office of Berkeley-based MIG Architects would prepare the planing document while working with three other firms on the plan for south downtown Fairfield, including land between Highway 12 and Kentucky Street as well as the County Justice Center and Pennsylvania Avenue.

West Texas Street includes the corridor between Pennsylvania Avenue and Oliver Road along with the north side of West Texas Street to Woolner Avenue.

Planning will take about 2 1/2 years.

The OneBayArea program uses federal highway funds to pay for planning, said a city staff report, and the Solano Transportation Authority distributes a portion of the money.

An effort by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Association of Bay Area Governments to guide regional development evolved into the OneBayArea grant program, according to the city staff.

The work program for the Fairfield plans states that MIG will draw upon previous West Texas Street master plans. Brian Miller, an associate planner for Fairfield, said a 2004 plan for West Texas Street is the principal document and that later plans refine the 2004 work.

The plan is not available on the city website, Miller said, and Fairfield doesn’t have a copy of the document at the Community Development office.

Mayor Price said the lack of access to the plan doesn’t mean the work is overlooked.

“Whether they’re on the website or not,” he said, “they’re certainly not forgotten.”

The proposed work program for the new planning states MIG may explore parking strategies that include charging for parking.

City planner Miller said that reference is standard language in planning documents.

“It’s just one of the things they threw out there,” he said. “I would definitely not focus on that.”

Mraz said paid parking will not happen downtown.

“We have some really good restaurants,” he said of the area. “The problem is there’s no parking.”

MIG will develop newsletters in English and Spanish to inform the community about progress of the plan. The firm will also create a website, including a moderated blog and options for an online survey, for the project.

City staff and MIG will tour West Texas Street and downtown and the consultant “will photo-document the planning area.”

Fairfield requested proposals from more than 200 consultants and received proposals from seven. The website for MIG states it’s a woman-owned corporation “building inclusive communities.”

The Fairfield city staff recommends MIG. Fairfield’s funding for the planning totals $110,000 and will be provided primarily through staff time.

Council members meet at 6 p.m. in the City Council chamber at 1000 Webster St.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or rmccarthy@dailyrepublic.net.

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Discussion | 21 comments

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  • FredJune 19, 2014 - 7:20 pm

    I don't think this city can change a light bulb with out first hiring a consultant.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 20, 2014 - 6:27 am

    I'm not sure why the council and mayor won't publically address something so simple as legalizing fireworks? But I digress. We all ready know $800K will be okayed because what this council considers this council does. Why don't we offer that money to settle on the fire lawsuit we're going to lose, sell the golf courses and put that money towards a downtown redevelopment plan of our own city planners and possibly residents input? Paying for parking downtown is an unacceptable option. We need to welcome patrons not force them away with more unreasonable regulations.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • AnthonyJune 20, 2014 - 9:45 am

    This money is to plan where improvements can be best made. Deciding when and where to improve our city is very important, rather than taking a piece-meal approach. For all of you who think this is wasted money, take a visit to places that plan well, Walnut Creek or Davis, and then look at places that were developed without any planning Crockett or Fairfield. Which of these cities is nicer? Which one has better land-use patterns and transit? We must pay for planning in order to build things in the most efficient manner.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 20, 2014 - 10:09 am

    Anthony, agreed WC is great and we have advantages with side streets allowing for one way travel. We have a planning department and city personnel capable of getting this done. That money could be much better spent. My favorite comment? Downtown needs to be blown up and renovated from the sidewalks up! ;)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • B. ThiemerJune 20, 2014 - 10:44 am

    CD- per California law, if park land is sold (golf courses are considered parks), the proceeds can only be used to purchased "similar" park land. So, after paying off the bonds and loans for the golf courses, whatever is left sits in a park acquisition fund.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 20, 2014 - 12:04 pm

    B. Thiemer, got it. So they have playground renewal funds. At least we're not subsidizing nearly a $million bucks.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • FDCJune 20, 2014 - 2:31 pm

    CD, if you show up at the next City Council meeting to advocate legalizing the sale of fireworks I will be there and support you. Then maybe both of us could let them know we don't approve of spending 7/8 of a MILLION dollars on a kumbayah plan for an "inclusive city." After all, a consultant is someone who takes your wristwatch and then tell you what time it is. Will you be there?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. PracticalJune 21, 2014 - 6:53 am

    CD and FDC, keep in mind that if Fairfield permits the sale of safe & sane fireworks, the Independence Day event and fireworks show in Suisun will be history. That would be a huge loss for the entire community. I would suggest asking the council to approve the use of safe & sane fireworks, not the sale of.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 21, 2014 - 8:15 am

    Mr. Practical, I have no desire to ruin Suisun's wonderful events, you know that. Having said that, it really isn't fair to suggest Fairfield should not be entitled to profit from the sales of fireworks or be denied their use just so Suisun can have their party. I am quite certain there could be an easy fix so everyone wins. It could be as simple as a percentage share or simple adjustments to cover emergency personnel. In fact, if Fairfield never allows the sales here, I'm good with that. But that isn't why I am after this change. My goal is to eliminate the ordinance so those folks so choosing can participate legally. If Fairfield isn't going to enforce the law, then why not let citizens enjoy the day? I have written the city and FFD asking them to dismiss the ordinance. I also asked that if they will not, then place a notice in the DR explaining why we cannot use fireworks and the penalty should anyone be caught using them.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. PracticalJune 21, 2014 - 8:27 am

    CD, it's not Suisun's party. It's for the entire community. Fairfield does the parade and then it's over to Suisun for the entertainment and fireworks. I agree, that if the two cities could work out a deal that all proceeds go to funding those two events, both could be bigger and better. The big question is... how much confidence do you have that they can and will work that out? Confronting at a council meeting is not always the best way to approach these things, unless the goal is simply to get it on public record. Personally, I would contact each council person individually. Email would be best for first contact. I would copy in the police and fire chiefs. There is a lot more involved to getting this done than you might think. You have two cities. City council, staff, police and fire will all be involved. I'l willing to work the Suisun side of things.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr.RJune 20, 2014 - 7:18 am

    I'd like to know why state highway money is going toward this project,should'nt that be used to repair roads,not to plan city projects. What's wrong with using the cities planners to do this?Spend,Spend Spend.That's all this council thinks about.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JagJune 20, 2014 - 12:05 pm

    Thank You, That is my question to?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • FedUpJune 20, 2014 - 7:39 am

    Taxpayers are forced to relinquish their hard earned dollars to pay for highways. Those funds are then given to nameless, faceless, unelected bureaucrats (who are paid staggering sums of money by taxpayers). Those unaccountable people then propose grand plans which have nothing to do with highways and tell local governments to follow those plans and then the planners will give you back pennies on the dollars which have been taken from you. Ain't government grand? They take your money then if you agree to spend it on their schemes they will give you a little of your money back. The will of the people be damned, these bureaucrats are going to do what they want to do. Unless we raise hell come election time, it will only get worse.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • FDCJune 20, 2014 - 7:45 am

    Article states: "The website for MIG states it’s a woman-owned corporation “building inclusive communities.” Now what the hell does that mean? Was the fact that MIG is "woman owned" a part of the decision making? Who are these people?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • bigdogJune 20, 2014 - 7:49 am

    Heres a plan: Get rid of the cheap motels, smoke shops, and liqour stores. Then try to lure in some decent businesses that will attrach people to downtown. Look at the corner of Jefferson/Texas, that area is really nice with decent businesses. I thinks spending 800k for common sense is crazy.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BobJune 20, 2014 - 7:53 am

    Better save your money other things have popped up

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MarkJune 20, 2014 - 9:14 am

    the city is willing to sell control of itself for money. The city is too greedy, in need of money, or something to realize that every time they do this they make themselves a little more irrelevant to the governance of Fairfield.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • B. ThiemerJune 20, 2014 - 10:48 am

    "Mayor Harry Price said the city spent $8 million more than 20 years ago on downtown improvements." So, has Fairfield realized value from those expenditures? This is similar to 5 year planning cycles put forth by central planning committees, usually with no noticable results.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Dexter FowlerJune 20, 2014 - 1:45 pm

    Yet more of OUR money being spent outside Fairfield. Thats ok just raise our taxes again to pay for this foolishness. This council is unbelievable. Spend Spend spend! I hope the incumbents get voted out come Novemeber. If we had a decent city manager we would be attracting MORE businesses to Fairfield instead they all go to Vacaville If our elected officials and our overpaid city manager etc actually spent their money locally it would generate more tax dollars locally. Lead by example.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Joseph D. JoyceJune 20, 2014 - 4:46 pm

    Once this consultant is paid, how much money is available to carry out these supposed "plans"? How long with it take before the city will begin improvements? It's not that damn difficult to figure out that the strip mall design is dated, Why are these business license handed out to every smoke shops, liquor stores, motel, owner. This needs to stop! W/N Texas are both seedy, and resemble skid row. This week we have seen two examples ($1.7million) in absolute wasteful spending, if the City planner,, doesn't know how to plan, he shouldn't be the planner, same with the managers , and "leaders". I say NO on the consultant , and NO to Mayor Prices $900k loan to save the golf courses. We are not a finance company Harry. Offer $1.7 million dollars,(low/no interest) to interested and qualified local merchants looking to renovate or expand.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • TylerJune 20, 2014 - 10:01 pm

    Oh criminy. Fairfield isn't Walnut Creek and will never be Walnut Creek. Just look at the saggy pants losers wandering the sidewalks every minute of every day of the week. They don't have them in WC. And WC isn't the cheapest town next to a major state prison and WC doesn't have realignment parolees dumped in its borders. WC attracts quality employers and that's something FF cannot do. Fairfield will end up with plans for high density, "transit first" housing that - if it were ever built - would immediately degenerate to still another section 8 ghetto. Use the freaking federal highway funds and fix the highways! You could start with the patched up mess that is I-80 following its federally funded improvements.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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