YOLO COUNTY NEWS

City government

ConAgra seeks city input for Cannery Park project

By April 2, 2011

Now that ConAgra has tweaked its Cannery Park project design based on public comments, the developer will ask the Davis City Council for feedback on Tuesday.

The workshop-format discussion is scheduled as part of the City Council meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Chambers, City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.

ConAgra, which owns the 100-acre former Hunt-Wesson tomato cannery site on East Covell Boulevard, resubmitted Lewis Planned Communities’ original proposal to build mixed-density housing and a 20-acre business park. Lewis Planned Communities had an option to buy the land from ConAgra, but the company pulled the project in 2009 before getting city approvals.

Last September, ConAgra revived the project and in October the City Council agreed to process the proposal as it would any other project — including holding outreach meetings for community input. Outreach meetings in December and February led ConAgra to make a few changes to the project design.

Changes include the addition of a 15.5-acre “urban agriculture” buffer in an upside-down “L” shape — 150 feet by 1,500 feet along the northern edge of the property and 3,000 feet along the eastern edge. The strip could be farmed while serving as a natural buffer between the site and the existing undeveloped land to its east, ConAgra representative George Phillips said.

The original plan also had the business park development on both sides of the main entrance to the community, while the addition of the buffer means drivers entering the site will have open space on their right, creating a less industrialized feel, Phillips said. Adding the buffer also resulted in the 5-acre community park being moved to a more centralized location between the business park at the front of the site and the residential neighborhoods.

Another change was the addition of an emergency access path to the back of the site from F Street over the railroad tracks. The path would be used by emergency vehicles only.

A segment of Davis seniors, represented by the group Choices for Healthy Aging, or CHA, is pushing for the project to be designed as a senior community. Phillips said ConAgra has met with CHA, but no decisions have been made regarding senior housing at the site. He said ConAgra is interested to hear what the City Council has to say about Davis’ housing needs.

The project has a business park at the front of the property facing East Covell Boulevard and eases from high-density to low-density residential neighborhoods. Planned are 228 high-density, 205 medium-density and 88 low-density residential units.

A neighborhood greenbelt runs along the western edge of the site to the back and ends where the urban agriculture buffer begins.

Following Tuesday’s council discussion, the project will be reviewed by the city’s Social Services and Senior Citizen commissions at a joint meeting on Monday, April 11. The Open Space and Habitat Commission will look it over on Monday, May 2, in a followup from last month’s discussion. The Finance and Budget Commission also gave input in March.

Crystal Lee

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