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Vacaville city council approves controversial Southtown Apartments

Vacaville city officials unanimously voted to rescind their previous rejection of the Southtown Apartments project and reconsider planned development of it.

VACAVILLE, Calif. — A controversial housing development in Vacaville is allowed to continue after almost a year of debate, a lawsuit and a nearly four-hour-long city council meeting Tuesday.

Vacaville city officials unanimously voted to rescind their previous rejection of the Southtown Apartments project and reconsider planned development of it.

The lawsuit against the city and its council, filed by developer T.A. Leisure Town LLC, is now dismissed as part of a settlement agreement. If the city council rejected the project again, they would continue in litigation with the developer.

If constructed in its current state, the apartment complex will add 236 units to the land at the northwest corner of Leisure Town Road and Redstone Parkway.

The housing is intended to be for the “missing middle” population and include townhouses for multi-family housing and more typical apartment units all in a 9.91 acre lot, according to documents.

Residents have been vocal about their disapproval of the project and cited environmental, safety, traffic and school concerns.

So, how did it get here? 

APRIL 2004: Vacaville approved the Southtown Project's general plan and development during a city council meeting. This launched the idea for further housing and other developments, like what is now known as Mongolia Park on Cogburn Circle, to be built.

FEB. 2009: Phase 3 of the Southtown Project is approved in a regular city council meeting, allowing tentative plans to move forward.

APRIL-JUNE 2022: The developer filed a development application for a 236-unit apartment project under the provisions of California State Senate Bill 330, according to the lawsuit. The law essentially says cities cannot prevent law-abiding housing projects for very low, low, or moderate-income residents from being built just because they don’t want it. 

AUG. 16, 2022: The Vacaville Planning Commission held a meeting and approved the project with an addendum to how many on-street parking spots were allowed. The amendment removed four on-street parking spots. 

The meeting lasted just over five hours and the agenda item on the project was met with residents’ disapproval and concerns about the potential for crime and safety issues, lower home property values and environmental issues.

SEPT. 27, 2022: City council held a regular meeting to review two submitted appeals to deny the planning commissions approval. The council directed staff to return in the future with data supporting rejecting the project.

NOV. 15, 2022: City council voted 6-1 to deny the project even though city staff recommended approving it based on SB 330 requirements.

DEC. 2022: The developer files a lawsuit against the city and its council in Solano County Superior Court alleging the city didn’t give him written notice the project was in any way inconsistent with city codes or standards.

JAN.-FEB. 2023: City council holds closed session meetings and meets with the developer to discuss a settlement to either cease or continue litigation.

MARCH 14, 2023: City council unanimously votes to rescind their previous rejections of the project and approve its new development plan.

Additional reports and findings will be investigated to ensure the project can be made on the land in question. 

WATCH MORE: A look at the proposed development in El Dorado Hills  | To The Point

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