By David M. Greenwald
Woodland, CA – On August 17, 2023, the Woodland Planning Commission will be asked to make a recommendation to the City Council on the proposed adoption of the Woodland Research and Technology Park Specific Plan.
This is the continuation of planning for a project initially approved in August 2017. The project is located on 350 acres adjacent to the Spring Lake Specific Plan area and is bounded by SR 113 to the West.
According to the project description, “The Woodland Research & Technology Park Specific Plan is envisioned as a new technology hub for the City of Woodland, intended to serve an array of research and technology companies interested in locating and growing near UC Davis, and other research and technology institutions within the Sacramento region.”
They further note, “The Specific Plan will offer a unique business environment, supporting research and development, technology, and science and engineering-based companies, as well as training and workforce development for local students and graduates of the Woodland Community College.
“In addition to its role as an employment center, the Specific Plan is envisioned as an attractive place to live, recreate, shop and gather for neighborhood events. The Specific Plan will be highly connected to and is intended to complement the mix of land uses in the adjacent Spring Lake development.”
The WRTP is envisioned as “a dynamic innovation and technology hub where leading-edge companies can connect with start-ups and business incubators in a physically compact, walkable, bike-able and connected setting.”
As described in the introductory chapter of the plan, “The Woodland Research and Technology Park will serve as a gateway to connect Woodland, a community that has shaped the future of food and agriculture for over a century, with UC Davis, one of the leading agricultural research universities in the world, through the creation of an enterprising mixed-use community.”
The Specific Plan proposes a mix of uses including business/technology park, office, retail and housing of varying densities, “providing a long-term economic base for Woodland’s future generations and new housing opportunities.”
The Research and Technology Park will accommodate office, research and light industrial “flex” space for a variety of users in a range of sizes and scale.
The specific plan also anticipates 1600 dwelling units.
“The Specific Plan provides for a variety of housing types and densities from detached single-family homes to mid-rise urban style lofts and apartments,” city staff writes.
Approximately 1,100 units will be developed at medium and high density ranges (8.1 – 40.0 dwelling units per acre).
“These generally smaller lots and smaller unit development types create relative “affordable by design” housing options for buyers and renters,” staff writes. In addition, “the Specific Plan is subject to the City’s adopted Affordable Housing Ordinance. The ordinance requires that ten percent of all residential units be made available to low income tenants or home buyers or that an in-lieu fee be paid to support affordable housing outside of the immediate residential development project.”
Specific Plan Guiding Principles:
The Plan Area will develop as 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. Complementary uses within immediate proximity to the business park, including hotel, commercial, employee-serving retail and recreational opportunities will support day–to-day needs of businesses, their clients and their employees.
- TECHNOLOGY CAPTURE/ TALENT RETENTION
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 Plan will accommodate advanced technology-related jobs and training that allow a greater number of Woodland residents and college graduates from the Woodland Community College and throughout the region to live and work in the community, generating an infusion of intellectual capital.
- BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS
Companies locating in the Tech Campus will have the opportunity to take positive advantage of the existing and thriving seed, food, and agricultural-based industries currently located and doing business in and around Woodland. Access to additional resources and new markets, new ideas, materials and expertise will grow through strategic partnerships with new and existing businesses in Woodland.
- SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT
The Plan Area will lead in energy efficiency and sustainable design. Development within the Plan Area will incorporate cutting edge green building practices. Land use strategies and transportation demand management will reduce vehicle miles traveled and facilitate the use of alternative fuel vehicles. The city’s urban forest canopy will be increased and projects will incorporate naturalized stormwater management. These and other measures will contribute to meeting City goals for greenhouse gas reduction by 2035 contained in its 2035 Climate Action Plan.
- GATHERING PLACE
A successful Village Center and featured 11-acre linear park will provide a mix of social gathering spaces for employees, residents, and visitors to connect, recreate, and relax. These informal networking opportunities will foster greater innovation and engagement among the workforce and allow for the balanced integration of work and life that the next generation of professionals seek.
A combination of well-designed complete streets, protected bicycle lanes, and pedestrian / bicycle greenways will prioritize the pedestrian experience throughout the Plan Area. Well-connected parks, open spaces and greenbelts will encourage residents and employees to walk, bike, or scooter rather than drive to work, home and play. Existing bike trails and greenbelts will extend from and connect to the adjacent community including nearby schools, community center and shopping center. A shared mobility hub will serve as a point of connection for those arriving and departing the Tech Campus by various forms of alternative transportation – including micro transit stops and fixed bus routes with frequent service to Downtown Woodland and UC Davis. Amenities to support last mile active transportation alternatives are featured, including bike and scooter share services.
- HEALTHY COMMUNITY
Connected streets with bicycle and pedestrian facilities, trails, accessible parks and open spaces with passive and programmed recreation will facilitate and encourage active, healthy living. Access to healthy foods through community gardens, a farmer’s market and/or fresh produce market in the Village Center will be promoted. A mix of social gathering places will enable employees and residents to come together for fun and relaxation, boosting emotional wellness.
- NEW NEIGHBORHOODS/SEAMLESS TRANSITIONS
Diverse, high quality and attractive new neighborhoods and housing options, including single and multi-family residential units and mixed-used projects 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