Novato officials hope to get a better sense of how the
public wants them to move forward on the development of a potentially lucrative
parcel at two planning workshops this month.
The North Redwood Corridor planning workshop, scheduled for Saturday and Sept. 28, mark the starting point for what figures to be a lengthy process.
How or when the development takes shape, however, is anyone's guess.
"We're having these meetings with the community to determine what we do in fact want in that area," Novato Mayor Pro Tem Eric Lucan told Patch.
The corridor is a potentially lucrative development parcel bordered by Olive and Atherton Avenues and Redwood Boulevard and U.S. Highway 101.
City officials view development of the parcel as a potential boost in their efforts to close a retail leakage gap estimated at $169.5 million, according to a study released earlier this year.
But revenues from the city's last major developable parcel aren't expected to flow in anytime soon.
And any public consensus to emerge from the workshops - itself no sure thing - wouldn't find its way to the city council agenda until early next year at the soonest. The city council would then have to revise its general plan to accommodate such development once it reaches an agreement.
"What I hope comes out of these September meetings is maybe not necessarily a decision but a timeline when that decision will be made," Lucan said.
"We can't afford to get it wrong," Lucan said.
But he also acknowledged the need to move on the potential retail gold mine.
"I think we need to show progress is being made," said.
But even the rosiest consensus-building process scenario doesn't guarantee actual development, Lucan acknowledged, noting market forces will ultimately dictate any development.
"If we hear that residents want a certain type of shopping there or they want housing there, it's going to depend on somebody willing to come forward to develop that specific need," Lucan said.
"We'll do what we can to incentivize a certain use for that area but it's also going to be dependent on the market."