The development agreement between City of Woodland and Paul Petrovich, related to Gateway Center (~sixty-acre commercial project at City’s eastern edge), may soon be amended by the City Council to extend its deadline for his construction of $3 million of assessed property value within the City’s downtown area — or else pay the City a penalty of slightly more than $1 million.

The relevant provision of Gateway Center’s development agreement is intended to help mitigate this peripheral project’s adverse impacts upon the downtown area; the downtown is prioritized by basic municipal policy to remain the city’s “central business district.”

The city council originally gave Petrovich quite a long time, eight and a half years from the opening date of Gateway Center, to accomplish something toward such civic balance.  That ample amount of time runs out at the end of 2016.

On July 18, 2014, Petrovich renewed his prior (2006-08) goal of building a suburban-style, single-story (fake two-story) structure at the northwest corner of East and Main Streets.  His new planning application (obviously intending to satisfy his obligation under the development agreement) proposes stationing a gussied-up back-end of a suburban strip-mall, absent pedestrian entryways, along uniquely crucial Main Street frontage.

Entrances to commercial space of this project would be only through its parking lot, located between Main and Court Streets.

As well, Petrovich’s (initial) planning application ignored long-standing commitments of any such project, under the California Environmental Quality Act, to restore the Keehn House, an historic Victorian dwelling previously moved to East and Court Streets, making possible a development project at this location.

Petrovich’s Application Conflicts With Downtown Specific Plan

The City’s Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) plainly states its basic “vision” for the key element of a: “Primary gateway” at East and Main Streets.  Downtown Woodland is the urban heart of Yolo County and its “Primary gateway” should capably display such identity, evoking urban, not suburban, heritage, contemplates the DSP.

The DSP’s vision is of: “[C]ontinuation of the old Rice Mill design, carrying the agricultural heritage reflected in this design directly onto Main Street.”

The DSP’s clear policy is that: “The City shall continue to support mixed-use developments” on this specific location, “with a similar style and scale of the historic rice mill building.”

The three-story Rice Mill building extends between North and Court Streets along East Street. It was renovated in the early 1990s as mixed-use and was recently purchased and modernized by local developer Jeff Morgan.

Oddly, several city council members have recently expressed their unawareness of these key provisions of the DSP, combined (of course) with their willingness to review this fundamental policy document.

Petrovich Agrees To Consider Withdrawing Application

Reliable sources indicate that Petrovich was approached by city staff, several weeks ago, in an attempt to discover if he would be open to withdrawing his current application in return for an extension of the present development-agreement deadline, which was apparently motivating his determination to  move forward this application.

Petrovich responded in the affirmative, according to these sources, stating that he would consider accepting suitable language for amending the development agreement, which would then be adopted by the city council.

These sources described Petrovich as being somewhat surprised at such cooperation by the city.

Such amendment language is apparently now being prepared by the city attorney, with Petrovich soon to receive it.  Speculation exists that Petrovich will be given an extra two years (until late 2018) to satisfy this obligation under the Gateway Center development agreement.

City staff has been requested by Yolo Sun to provide a statement regarding this situation and related reasoning / predication.

Expectations are that the city council will have this item on its agenda before the end of 2014.