Through a participatory public design process that identifies an exciting and realistic future for Sonoma Boulevard, the Sonoma Boulevard Specific Plan will provide an easy-to-use framework for near-term and long-term public and private reinvestment along this regional corridor. A small group of Vallejo residents, an ad hoc committee of the 15-member General Plan Working Group, are serving as the Specific Plan Working Group (SPWG), focusing on this part of Vallejo on behalf of their community.
Building upon the progress and direction from the 2013 Sonoma Boulevard Corridor Design Plan, the Specific Plan will re-establish Sonoma Boulevard as an important and inviting street in Vallejo that supports transit, makes it appealing to walk to local services and shops, and generates reinvestment in Downtown, along the corridor, and in nearby neighborhoods. In order for these expectations to be realized, the Specific Plan will present clear policy direction about what Vallejo wants along the different areas of Sonoma Boulevard along with revised zoning standards and procedures to let those desirable results get built.
This summer, two public design charrettes will be the forum for working with the community to systematically refine Vallejo’s vision and expectations for the corridor. Charrette 1 (June 24 to 27) will focus on clarifying the 2013 Corridor Design Plan’s vision, range of expected outcomes, and land use activities. Charrette 2 (July 22-25) will begin to identify the zoning standards and details necessary for realizing the expected outcomes. Also, the zoning standards will be explained and tested with the general public to make sure they are easy to use and understand. This information will result in a draft Specific Plan and form-based zoning code standards available in early 2015.
This phase involves the project team gaining a thorough understanding of what has already been done along the corridor, including the 2013 Corridor Design Plan and other important background information. Also, the team will use the feedback from stakeholder interviews to help form a solid basis for working with and responding to the community as ideas and questions arise through the process.
The project team will identify the existing patterns of blocks, streets, streetscapes, buildings, open spaces, signage, and architectural style to gain a thorough understanding of the physical character and condition of the corridor. This information will result in patterns that are supportive of the overall direction to revitalize the corridor and patterns that are not supportive of that direction. With this information, the community can identify what patterns and individual components need to be prioritized and addressed. This information then informs the range of ideas and solutions that are relevant to Vallejo and the corridor. Further, this information informs what ultimately needs to be addressed in the form-based code.
Based on the Background Data, the Community Character and Documentation Analysis and feedback from the Specific Plan Working Group, the project team will meet with the community in two public design charrettes to identify and review proposed ideas and solutions for the variety of issues to address on Sonoma Boulevard. Each charrette is a four-day series of working sessions for the project team, punctuated by public presentations of that day’s work for community review, input and direction. Each charrette focuses on generating consensus on the key elements of the community’s vision and expectations for the corridor.
Following Charrette 2, the results and direction from both charrettes will be summarized into a brief memo with key diagrams and drawings from the charrettes. This information will be presented to the community for review and confirmation of the direction.
The project team will then take the results of the public design charrettes and prepare the Specific Plan document to implement the community’s direction. The aim is to provide a document that is concise, clear and easy to use. The document will be prepared in successive drafts to be reviewed and commented on by the public before the final Specific Plan is adopted by the City Council.
The Draft Specific Plan will be available for public review and comment in February and March 2015. The community will be invited to comment on the Draft Specific Plan in writing or in person at a Planning Commission hearing during that time period. Subsequently, the potential environmental impacts of the Draft Specific Plan, as well as the General Plan update now underway, will be analyzed, and measures that reduce or avoid them will be identified, as part of the environmental review component of the Specific Plan and General Plan efforts. The Final Specific Plan will be adopted by City Council following the completion of environmental review, anticipated by late 2016.