An overview of what the proposed Woodland Research & Technology Park being planned off Hwy 113 near CR25A could look like. (Courtesy)
Woodland recently took the next step towards the development of its Woodland Research and Technology Park by releasing key documents for review that both the Planning Commission and Woodland City Council are expected to review in the coming weeks.
“Project partners envision the Woodland Research and Technology Park as a new hub to serve an array of research and technology companies interested in locating and growing near UC Davis and other institutions in the Greater Sacramento region,” a city press release stated. “Consisting of approximately 350 acres, the Woodland Research and Technology Park is proposed as a new type of employment center that also includes a range of housing options, a commercial mixed-use town center, a multi-modal street network and pedestrian and bicycle trail system, and more.”
The city anticipates that the planning commission will consider the project plan and all associated documents on Thursday, Aug. 17, and that the council will hold its first hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 5.
The proposed development area is comprised of six individual parcels of land located adjacent to the Spring Lake neighborhood on the north and east, County Road 25A and the Urban Limit Line to the South, and is bound by State Route 113 to the west, according to the city’s website.
The project applicant team consists of five property owners representing all six parcels of land located within the plan area.
The city explained that in May 2017, it adopted a comprehensive update to its general plan that sets the stage for future growth and development within the city’s urban limit line through 2035.
“A key focus of the general plan is economic development and specifically the expansion and attraction of diverse businesses and industries that create and increase quality, good paying and stable local jobs and careers,” the website added. “The specific plan area is envisioned within the general plan as a natural extension of the city, ideally located and positioned for jobs and housing development.”
Based on community feedback, the city has outlined several principles guiding the project’s overarching vision and desired outcome for development.
The first principle is innovation, which the city will implement by developing a “state-of-the-art innovation center campus for technology, research and development, and office uses.”
“Flexibility in design and implementation is supported, allowing businesses to respond to market demand through phasing of construction and the ability to offer a variety of building types and sizes,” the website added.
Additionally, the city noted that complementary uses within immediate proximity to the business park – including hotel, commercial, employee-serving retail and recreational opportunities – will support the day-to-day needs of businesses, their clients and their employees.
Another principle is technology capture and talent retention, which will be attempted through collaboration with local entities.
“Collaboration with UC Davis, Woodland Community College and others will bolster start-up businesses and growing mid-to-large size companies through technology transfer and IP sourcing,” the website emphasized. “The plan will accommodate advanced technology-related jobs and training that allow a greater number of Woodland residents and college graduates from the Woodland Community and throughout the region to live and work in the community, generating an infusion of intellectual capital.”
The project will also aim to create new neighborhoods and housing options including single and multi-family residential units and mixed-used projects that will allow Tech Park employees to live and work close by and “move up within the same neighborhood as families grow or nests are emptied.”
“Land use and circulation planning coupled with design and development standards will ensure a thoughtful transition between the plan area and the adjacent Spring Lake neighborhood, complementing the established community,” the website stressed.
Other priorities the website highlighted include business partnerships, sustainability and resilience, an emphasis on being a gathering place, mobility and more. To read more about these priorities, to find the draft-specific plan and project finance plan or to find frequently asked questions, visit cityofwoodland.org/583/11521/Woodland-Research-Technology-Park.
The project has been the center of many discussions in the last few years including concerns regarding an elementary school being built in the new community.
During a July 2021 City Council meeting, four public comments were sent into the council by email, three of which voiced concerns regarding the need to accommodate any future increases in students living in the area.
City Manager Ken Hiatt addressed these concerns by clarifying that the project plan did anticipate up to 10 acres to be available to the school district.
“Traditionally, when new developments are planned, land is made available for a district to decide if they want to acquire the land to build necessary school facilities to serve that growth area,” he stated. “The details as to timing for how long they have to make a decision to move forward with acquisition of that property will be worked out as part of the final actions before the project is approved.”
Former Woodland School Board President Jake Whitaker noted during the meeting that it is difficult for the school district to find funding to pay for the cost of acquiring the land and having to pay an estimated $40 to $45 million to build the school.
“I think the thing that unites us as public servants is that we’re all committed to doing everything that we can to improve the quality of life of our community, and I certainly agree that includes building a school in that area,” Whitaker stated.
Whitaker explained that a developer fees study completed in April 2020 found that the cost of building the school and the cost of acquiring the land in the area would bring the total up to possibly $48 million. He said the school district has been talking to financial advisers about options for approaching the massive project but suggested that the city could help with the funding.
“I would like to see us work together and collaborate effectively, and I think we have been doing that so far,” Whitaker emphasized. “That should be the goal. Not assigning responsibilities to one organization or another because we all have a shared common interest in serving the community.”
Questions or comments about the Research and Technology Park are accepted at any time and can be made by contacting Erika Bumgardner, principal planner and business development liaison for Woodland, at (530)661-5886 or by emailing email@example.com.