Solano County

Green Valley water options up for review

By From page A4 | July 18, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Solano County is accepting comments through Aug. 11 on its latest plans to bring water to a proposed Middle Green Valley development and surmount a legal hurdle facing the project.

The Solano County Board of Supervisors in July 2010 approved a plan for a 1,930-acre rural area along Green Valley Road, apparently ending a growth war that lasted several decades. Four hundred new homes would be allowed, 1,490 acres of open space would be preserved and an agricultural conservancy would be created to promote farming.

But a lawsuit claimed the project environmental impact report did a faulty job analyzing possible water sources for the homes. Solano County Superior Court Judge Paul Beeman agreed in 2011 that more work needed to be done. The county in response rescinded its approvals for the project.

Solano County circulated a revised water section for the environmental impact report in 2013. The Board of Supervisors decided in January to go even further and analyze a new proposal to have the Solano Irrigation District provide water.

The latest proposed version of the environmental impact report says the Solano Irrigation District could provide 186 acre-feet of water annually for domestic uses, enough to meet projected demand. Because the district has no water treatment plant, it would use Fairfield’s water treatment plants.

However, the Solano Irrigation District service area doesn’t cover the entire 1,930 acres, the draft report said. The district would have to win approval from the Solano County Local Agency Formation Commission to change its service area boundaries to cover 97 of the proposed homes.

Another option included in the draft report is having Fairfield supply water to middle Green Valley. But the report said a “legal uncertainty” exists because of Fairfield’s voter-approved Measure L that created city growth boundaries.

Measure L states that “any urban development requiring basic municipal services shall occur only within the incorporated city and within the urban limit line established by the General Plan.”

Still another option is using groundwater. The draft report says enough water would be available to serve the homes even during multiple dry years. However, it said, groundwater use would be a potentially significant impact without implementation of established county and state groundwater well and public water system regulations and reviews.

After the comment period closes, the county must provide responses to the comments received. These comments will be packaged into the draft, revised final environmental impact report that will go to the county Board of Supervisors for consideration. A best-case scenario has this happening in September, county Principal Planner Matt Walsh said.

For the project to go forward, the Board of Supervisors must once again do what it did in 2010 – approve the environmental impact report, the specific plan and the master developer agreement. The county must also submit the revised environmental impact report to Beeman to see if the changes erase the legal issues brought up in his ruling.

Go to www.co.solano.ca.us/depts/rm/planning/default.asp to see the latest version of the draft Middle Green Valley environmental impact report. The report can also be reviewed at the Fairfield Cordelia Library, 5050 Business Center Drive; the Fairfield Civic Center Library, 1150 Kentucky St.; and the Resource Management Department at the Solano County Government Center, 675 Texas St. in Fairfield.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

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