Saturday, May 10, 2008

A win-win situation for Seeno?

To the editor: (Benicia Herald, May 9, 2008)

We want our City Council to keep downtown alive, to reap the most revenue possible, and leave an inheritance for Benicia for the 21st century; a legacy of intelligent land use planning, development, and a reputation for smart growth.

Benicia can be the leader in Solano County, situated perfectly between Davis and UC Berkeley for a high tech, green, campus style development in the Benicia Business Park. But Seeno wants us to wait for him to build his passé commercial development as a first phase, and wait for the second phase, proposed for 5-8 years from now…..that will be too late.

A huge opportunity for Benicia has arrived. There are investors RIGHT NOW ready to invest in and facilitate green technology and there are companies RIGHT NOW looking for places to build imaginative, clean-tech developments. There are also countless numbers of bright, educated people right here in this town, that are willing to help forge a vision for the Benicia Business Park, aka the Seeno Project.

The trick is what to do with the old project we have now. There is precious little to be recommended in terms of the needs of Benicia and the 21st century. The conditions recently styled by the City Staff are easily dodged or ignored. And we are not equipped to establish a development agreement (although that would be preferable to nothing at all). Seeno has said that they will not accept a development agreement anyway.

Maybe there is way to find a win-win solution here.

First, the Council must insist that Seeno give it time to learn about alternative, profitable possibilities.

Second, the Council needs to work with Benicia First in helping to create a forum with speakers from the field of clean-tech, with examples of cities working with these concepts of green industry and research and development campuses. Let’s listen to the experts.….let’s learn together.

Third, given that the future of Benicia’s well-being lies in Council’s hands, they must negotiate with Seeno from a position of strength and accommodate both the town and Seeno….. by opening their minds to the possibilities and find an alternative where Benicia AND Seeno can win.

This is not an easy task, but I sincerely believe that the Council has the ability to accomplish this for Benicia. The challenge is this: Why settle for second best? A brand new, clean tech project is the right choice for Benicia.

Susan Street
Benicia, CA

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