By Michelle Whitney
Tonight, at the City Council meeting, City Manager Dan Keene will ask for “clarification on Council’s decision at the January 15, 2015 council meeting regarding North Mare Island land use concept”. What this means is that he will be asking for definations of what industry/warehouse means and how they foresee that vision coming to fruitation on future projects.
I ask my community members to please formulate what industry/warehouse concepts mean to you and articulate those concepts at tomorrow’s meeting, if you can make it, in addition to emailing your Council members. As a community, to show Council and City Staff what we define industry/warehouse use is especially important as we may not get another opportunity such as this.
With the City Council approving the Staff Report suggestion that industry and warehouse development is the best use for the North Mare Island site, rather than the resort complex development, my thoughts are that we can have the best of both concepts. The city and community can work together by embracing a development that incorporates light industry such as start-ups and tech firms with residential needs for shops, stores, night life and restaurants combined with the natural and historic beauty of the shoreline to including walking trails, hiking paths, habitat restoration and small ferry service to the mainland of Vallejo as well as Napa.
Along the northern end of the island, I envision a stylistic version of early Modernism for the office and warehouse buildings – clean swept lines supported by arches and large pane glass to embrace natural light and scenic beauty. These buildings, maximum of three stories in height, would be interconnected by wide boulevards surrounded by native landscaping and water features. These buildings would also be joined together with the existing businesses in that area, EPS and Alco, and have easy access to the freeway. To further enhance marketability, this office park can also incorporate share use programs that would include a faxing/copying/emailing service with reception as well as a share car program. This share use concept could also be extended to current businesses on Mare Island.
Nearer the Mare Island Straits, a shopping area that would mimic the office park’s clean lines in building style and would incorporate the needs of the residents of the island as well as new office employees. Small scale grocery stores, cafes, wineries, shops, and local businesses that would rent bikes, kayaks, etc. for recreational use would all have a place here. Between the shopping area and the waterway, would be a walking promenade where people can gather for lunch or enjoy a glass of wine or cup of coffee while watching the sunset or perhaps hop the ferry to Napa or downtown Vallejo.
I feel that by incorporating both ideas of resort style development along with start-up/ tech firm’s development, the City of Vallejo and its community could reach a fair compromise with providing much needed services to the current residents of the island in addition to partnering with any light industry/warehouse proposals.
I urge City Council members and City Staff to think carefully on what their definition and their vision is for North Mare Island. We have a wonderful opportunity to create a new blueprint for the City of Vallejo that will chart the course for generations to come.
Note: All opinions expressed in the “Primal Scream” column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin.