Wednesday, June 4, 2008

June 3rd Council vote anticlimactic

Shortly after 2 a.m. on June 4, the City Council voted to approve a time extension for consideration of the Seeno project to Oct. 7 in order to allow a traffic study to be conducted to determine the traffic impacts on lower intersections of E. 2nd Street. This option to vote for a time extension (rather than a vote for approval or denial of the project) was made possible because, at 1:10 a.m., Sal Evola (manager of the project and cousin to the owner Albert Seeno, III), sensing that he did not have the three votes necessary for approval of the project, suddenly jumped up and made the offer of a time extension to accommodate Council's concerns expressed about the lack of sufficient data on traffic impacts relating to the current version of the project. The traffic study will be delayed until August 25, allowing school to resume before it is conducted.

It is extremely disappointing that the Council did not consider a vote to deny the project outright, thus allowing all parties to immediately move forward in the development of a new project -- with all the "conditions of approval" from the old project built right into the new project's concept and description.

Nevertheless, this time extension does at least give the community time to become more informed about what kind of a truly visionary and appropriate Business Park could be possible in Benicia, one that actually fits our General Plan vision and our Economic Development Strategy, and conforms to the energy-constrained future we face in the 21st Century.

In order to facilitate that information process, BeniciaFirst will hold an important public forum at the high school on June 24, at 7:30, with a panel of experts addressing the twin issues of how communities can achieve environmental and economic sustainability.

The first part will explore what kind of development is appropriate for communities in order to reduce their carbon footprint and why this is so urgently important. The second part will provide authoritative information about the burgeoning CleanTech R&D industry and the promise it offers in fiscal and economic benefits, and in high quality jobs for our local employment pool, if we capitalize on this opportunity by designing a Business Park with CleanTech R&D as its conceptual centerpiece . Mayor Patterson and Council member Ioakimedes will also participate in the panel, discussing the implications of the topics for Benicia.

Go to to read more details about the forum and related issues, and CLICK HERE to download the FLIER. Please mark you calendar, plant to attend this important forum, and tell your friends and neighbors!

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