Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Who is Benicia First and what is the Seeno Project?

Who is Benicia First?

Benicia First is a network of Benicians committed to ensuring that development projects in Benicia must adhere to our General Plan's vision of creating a vibrant local economy, preserving of our environment, and enhancing of our cultural and historic resources.

In order to meet these goals, we believe that projects must employ the newly emerging development and economic models that are designed to meet the environmental and economic challenges of the 21st Century, and not rely on assumptions and models that worked in the past but are no longer economically and environmentally viable.

What is the Seeno Project?

The proposed Benicia Business Park is commonly referred to as the Seeno Project because it is owned by Discovery Builders, an Albert Seeno company. The Business Park is a huge commercial/light industrial development proposed for the rolling hills in the north-east section of Benicia. Starting at Lake Herman Road and E. 2nd Street, it extends in a 527-acre wedge along both roads.

Although commercial and light industrial use is permitted for this property, the project, as currently conceived and designed, would radically change the character and livability of Benicia forever. It fails to conform to many important goals in our General Plan relating to environmental and economic quality and sustainability, and the type of commercial businesses proposed for the development would weaken our Downtown as the City's central commercial zone, contributing to urban decay.

For more information, see our website, http://www.beniciafirst.com/ , where you can read more details about the project, and veiw our slide show presentations.


We have great concern about the proposed Seeno project, its size, conceptual design and obvious impacts, including many not subject to adequate mitigation. What is entailed in this project as designed will irrevocably alter the character and quality of life of Benicia without the promise of a viable, prosperous long term future.

We do not believe that Benicia should settle for a backward oriented, conventional project framed as something of an extension of our present industrial park. The long term economic viability of that static twentieth century model would be in great doubt.

We believe that the site, the landscape, the quality of Benicia and its population make it an ideal setting for the types of creative, research oriented companies and enterprises that will be shaping the future of our country. We believe that a development that uses the beauty of our landscape as an asset is preferable to one that destroys it.

The country is beginning to awaken to concepts of sustainability, of green enterprises, of a future not dependent upon a petroleum economy and it is hungry for ideas. Numerous cities and towns are beginning to respond with projects and ideas for that future. We believe that Benicia has a unique opportunity to be among them.

There has already been talk of searching for a research and development center, that itself becomes a magnet for other creative and future oriented new enterprises. We would like to work with other groups and individuals in developing plans for such a search and in developing the criteria for the type of development in which all Benicians can have confidence and pride.

We believe that Benicians working together can frame such a future for Benicia and we pledge to do everything in our power to assist in achieving that end.

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