SLT in the News

Plan emerges to settle Rockville Trails dispute

Author: By Barry Eberling, DAILY REPUBLIC
Date: Feb 02, 2011

FAIRFIELD - A possible $13.6 million deal to end the long-running growth wars over the planned Rockville Trails Estate community in the hills above Suisun Valley could preserve almost all the land as open space.

The Solano Land Trust is seeking $4 million from the state Coastal Conservancy and $3 million from the state Wildlife Conservation Board to help buy the land, which includes roughly 1,500 acres. The Land Trust Board of Directors voted tonight to make the applications.

In addition, $2.5 million is proposed to come from Fairfield open space assessments funds, $500,000 from county Green Valley open space assessment funds and $1.5 million from the Moore Foundation, with $2 million yet to be found, according to a Land Trust report.

Once the deal is complete, the Solano Land Trust would own and manage the property. Recreational uses would be allowed, according to a Land Trust report.

"It will be open to hikers, bikers (non-motorized) and equestrians," it said. "Because the adjacent Rockville Hills Park, owned by the city of Fairfield, attracts large numbers of users from the region, the property is also expected to be a regional attraction."

The land has an oak forest and streams supporting steelhead trout, according to the report.

Solano County in 2008 approved the 370-home Rockville Trails Estates community. That came after periodic growth wars over the area stretching back for years.

The Green Valley Landowners Association sued to stop the development and entered into settlement talks with the developer. In 2009, the Solano Land Trust Board of Directors began meeting in closed session to talk about buying the land.

The state Wildlife Conservation Board will consider the Land Trust's request at its August meeting, according to the report. It mentions no date for the Coastal Conservancy meeting.

The Solano Land Trust already owns and manages several preserves, including the 1,039-acre Lynch Canyon, 1,575-acre King Ranch and the 2,270-acre Swett ranches in the hills between Fairfield, Vallejo and Benicia, as well as the 2,030-acre Rush Ranch in Suisun Marsh.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646, ext. 232, or beberling@dailyrepublic.net.