, August 09, 2022

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Vallejo reaches agreement with Syar over Blue Rock Springs project; Council makes board appointments


  •   4 min reads
Vallejo reaches agreement with Syar over Blue Rock Springs project; Council makes board appointments
Vallejo City Hall.

VALLEJO – After four years of negotiations, a settlement has been reached to allow a proposed housing subdivision and redevelopment of the Blue Rock Springs Golf Course to move forward.

The Vallejo City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the settlement between the city, Syar Industries — which operates out of the Lake Herman Quarry — and developer Blue Rock Springs, LLC. Blue Rock proposed to redevelop the city-owned golf course with a new 18-hole course, a new clubhouse, and the construction of a residential subdivision consisting of 615 homes over 92 acres fronting two sides of Columbus Parkway.

“Syar was displeased and expressed concern with the fact that the residential use was coming closer to their quarry operation,” Assistant City Manager Gillian Hayes said. “They were not pleased with that.”

The quarry includes an asphalt plant, active quarry pit, a rock processing plant, a concrete batch plant, and other related operations.

When negotiations stalled, Syar filed a legal claim against the city over the proposed density and location of homes near the quarry. Syar also sponsored an initiative to block development of the area.

Settlement terms include Syar supporting the golf course expansion, withdrawing its initiative, waiving all legal claims against the city and donating $1 million worth of materials to Blue Rock.

Meanwhile, the developer has agreed to move all residential development to the west side of Columbus and establish a half-mile buffer zone between the quarry and the residential development. The golf course, clubhouse and some of the residential housing would be grandfathered into the buffer zone that would limit residential and commercial uses.

Jeb Elmore, representing Blue Rock, said his group was pleased with the settlement.

“It’s remarkable the events that have occurred,” Elmore said. “It’s a story of persistence. It’s a story of commitment, and hopefully, we, along with city staff, have proven ourselves and our commitment to this public-private partnership accordingly.”

The council took time to praise Hayes and City Attorney Veronica Nebb for facilitating the settlement.

“We don’t always get what we want, but I think that this ended up being perfect for what it was intended to. Everyone got a little piece of something so that was good,” said Council member Mina Loera-Diaz, District 3.

Loera-Diaz made the rare move of agreeing with longtime council watcher Anne Carr, who said that she’d like to see additional buffer zones to protect residential areas from industrial zones.

Vice Mayor Rozzana Verder-Aliga thanked Blue Rock and Syar for their patience over the years.

“We know Syar Industries have also contributed a lot to our city, a lot of donations to nonprofits, and have been business partners in developing our city,” Verder-Aliga said, declaring that the city needs housing “and hopefully those houses will be built soon.”

Council makes appointments to planning commission and other boards

Planning Commission Donald Douglas is returning to the city’s planning commission after the council gave him a fresh four-year term that is now scheduled to end on June 30, 2026. He outlasted Loretta Gaddies, who only received support from at-large Councilmember Pippin Dew.

Meanwhile, longtime Greater Vallejo Recreation District director Wendell Quigley is also headed back to the five-person board. Quigley replaces Gary Salvadori, who resigned after serving multiple terms on the board. Quigley will finish up the term ending on Dec. 31, 2023.

“He has dedicated close to 10-and-a-half years to GVRD,” GVRD General Manager Gabe Lanusse said about Salvadori in an email to the Vallejo Sun. “We wish him and his family the best.”

Avonelle Hanley-Mills, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Vallejo mayor in November 2020, received support from Councilmember Cristina Arriola, District 6, in her bid to be seated on the GVRD board.

Susan Slater was re-appointed to the Beautification Commission for a term to expire on June 30, 2026, and Civil Service Commission incumbent Brenda Plechaty received another term ending on the same date.

Incumbent Henry Beecher was appointed to the McCune Collection Commission for a term to end on June 30, 2026 while Joel Benson was appointed to a term scheduled to expire on June 30, 2024.

City council votes to recreate limited-term position of special advisor to the city manager

With no comment, the city council voted to reestablish the special advisor to the city manager after letting the position lapse at the end of June.

Like before, the advisor will oversee the economic development division from this August until August 2023. Originally, the city said the special advisor position would be replaced with an economic development manager tasked with the same job responsibilities, but officials said that the city would move away from that approach and hire a special advisor instead.

Paul Kelley served as special advisor for two years. He was appointed to fill the position by then-City Manager Greg Nyhoff following the firing of his predecessor in April 2020, just three months after the Vallejo City Council voted to create the position.

The special advisor will earn between $158,466 and $192,616, according to the salary schedule provided by the city. The economic development manager and landscape inspector positions were defunded to pay for the special advisor position with the city having the ability to extend the position no more than five years.

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