Solano looking at Pleasants Valley as potential ag tourism area

Pleasants Valley residents participate in a Nov. 17 workshop on the Pleasants Valley Vision and Zoning Project, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. (Allan Calder/Courtesy photo)

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By Todd R. Hansen
McNaughton Media

Residents of the Pleasants Valley area recently got their first look at what could be Solano County’s next ag tourism area.

Supervisor John Vasquez said the community will decide what the valley is going to look like after the Pleasants Valley Area Vision and Zoning Project planning is completed.

He said that could take 12 to 18 months.

“Those are the things that are going to come out of the community,” Vasquez said in an interview Monday.

He noted the upper valley has larger agricultural footprints, while the lower part has smaller, boutique operations. He also said there is a wide range of what people want in the valley, but whatever those things turn out to be, one issue that will have to be addressed is the county-designated scenic roadway.

“We are not talking about (urban) development here,” said Nedzlene Ferrario, a senior planner with the Department of Resource Management. “It’s the framework of ag zoning to address these nontraditional agricultural uses.”

She emphasized it is not part of Vacaville’s mixed-use Lower Lagoon Valley Specific Plan project.

“Solano County’s General Plan identified the Pleasants Valley Agricultural Region with the potential for a mix of agricultural production and facilities and enhanced tourist services, ancillary to agricultural production,” the county noted on its project webpage.

The area is basically the valley floor located north of Interstate 80 and south of Putah Creek along Pleasants Valley Road and bordered by Vacaville to the east.

“The valley is formed by the Blue Ridge on the west and English Hills to the east, and consists of large-sized ranchettes, rural residential districts, orchards and several small-scale agricultural retail establishments, and ranges from urban-adjacent to deeply rural,” the county noted on the webpage.

The county General Plan includes Pleasants Valley as part of the 4,341-acre Pleasants, Vaca, and Lagoon valleys region, and describes the area as “the most diverse agricultural region in the county.”

Vasquez noted in an email newsletter that area residents were asked to prioritize certain uses in the project area, including farm stands, seasonal ag events such as pumpkin patches, ag processing, lodging such as vacation rentals and event venues.

Ferrario said staff is still evaluating the public responses, but said the input ranges from interest in all uses to people who want the county to leave things as they are now.

“It should be noted that Solano County currently has a moratorium on all short-term rental activity such as Airbnb,” Vasquez said.

“The motivation for this project came from numerous residents in the Pleasants Valley region approaching myself and county staff over the years to request zoning changes that would be beneficial for their small farm operations,” Vasquez wrote in his email newsletter. “The voter-approved county General Plan can be restrictive when it comes to the types of ways landowners can market their property outside of traditional agriculture. However, the county’s General Plan identified Pleasants Valley as one of nine unique agricultural regions with the potential for a mix of land uses ancillary to ag production.”

The agriculture regions identified in the General Plan are Dixon Ridge, Elmira and Maine Prairie; Montezuma Hills; Ryer Island; Suisun Valley; Winters; Jepson Prairie; Western Hills; Pleasants, Vaca and Lagoon Valleys; and Green Valley.

The General Plan “provides for agricultural production and facilities to support the sale of produce and tourist services that are ancillary to agricultural production.”

Suisun Valley, the Dixon Ridge and the Middle Green Valley area each have specific plans completed for those regions, with Suisun Valley being the most focused on ag tourism.

Only those residents in the Pleasants Valley planning area received specific notice of the initial meeting, but additional public meetings are planned. The next workshop will be scheduled for early next year, but no date has been set.

A third workshop will occur in the spring, followed by environmental reviews and a public hearing by the Solano Board of Supervisors in May or June, the county reported.

Vasquez estimated that more than 100 residents attended the first workshop, which happened Nov. 17 at the Ulatis Community Center in Vacaville.

The Pleasants Valley Vision and Zoning Project webpage can be found on the Solano County website at

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