Your article, “Community Sends a Message to Fairfield Council: Don’t Mess With Suisun Valley,” in the November 5 print edition, missed several key commenters. First, Ron Lanza of Wooden Valley Winery and President of the Suisun Valley Vintners & Growers Association, said the board “strongly rejects the current alternatives and any annexation in Suisun Valley”.
Ron also said that the Suisun Valley Fund, funded by the City and Irrigation District of Solano, has been a catalyst for change in the valley by helping grape growers / winemakers promote the valley to make it sustainable. He urged the city council to allow the specific county plan approved by voters for the Suisun Valley to be carried out.
A representative from Caymus Vineyards, a distinguished Napa Valley winemaker with a large production facility south of Interstate 80 in Suisun Valley and a tasting room under construction near Suisun Valley and Mankas Road, pleaded for a fourth alternative and the preservation of agricultural land in the Suisun Valley and their promotion for agrotourism.
Sean Favero, chairman of the Solano County Agricultural Bureau, urged council to slow down the process and reach out to the farming community, and reminded everyone of the importance of farmland.
The council disavowed any attempt to pave the Suisun Valley and asked city manager Stefan Chatwin to get more information from the public and come up with a fourth alternative. How the process moves from this point is crucial. Will there be a restart or a mid-term fix? A lot of money has already been spent.
Personally, I would like to see a community vision emerge. I would like a community process to start by bringing in experts on climate change, technology trends, work and lifestyle to define for us what the future might look like.
I think such a process could inform a new vision for the future of Fairfield that prioritizes quality of life issues for our residents rather than growth for growth. I appreciate the city council’s stated commitment on Tuesday night to getting it right.
Marilyn Farley, Former Fairfield Councilor and Retired Executive Director of the Solano Land Trust