The American Canyon City Council will be taking up – among other items – approval of the Broadway Specific Plan. This is my letter to council.
Dear Mayor Garcia, and Members of the American Canyon City Council-
I apologize that I cannot appear in person for this important meeting. However, I feel that the Broadway Specific Plan is so important to the economic growth and enhanced quality of life of our community that I must speak out.
I urge you to approve the Broadway Specific Plan tonight.
What American Canyon Lacks
I recognize that there are still hurdles to overcome but the benefits to our community are legion. Broadway is the face of our community. Currently, visitors see a neglected highway that is little more than a passthrough to the Napa Valley. They speed through town as quickly as possible, never seeing all that our community has to offer.
Unless we have a complete makeover, this will continue. Our town is vivacious with a spark that shines to all who stay long enough to get to know it. In order to attract new people, we need to look every bit as vibrant as we are. We cannot do that without radically changing the experience that people have when driving into town.
What we gain from the Specific Plan
The Broadway Specific Plan will provide multiple opportunities to show-case our community. Traffic congestion cannot be fixed by the Broadway Specific Plan alone, but increasing the highway to 6 lanes will help. I also recognize that it hinges on American Canyon being able to work with CalTrans to lower the speed limit. Although paradoxical, I believe that the traffic studies are correct in showing that decreasing the speed limit to 35mph will help the current flow of traffic. However, to be blunt, the current flow of traffic is rarely 35. This is not an American Canyon problem but, as Supervisor Ramos pointed out on Friday, a regional one.
Nevertheless the solution necessarily starts with us. Lowering the speed limit will allow for the community face to be a pleasant one. We will be able to put trees in the median creating a welcoming environment for potential shoppers and travelers. Unifying the character of the new developments along Broadway is equally important. Rather than having multiple developments with myriad designs, bonding the diverse developments with consistent design standards will help to address the lackluster feeling when passing through town.
Finally, providing connectivity to community is – for me – the most important element of the Broadway Specific Plan. With Watson Ranch being built out over the next few years, it will be important to residents on the West Side of Broadway to feel included in the project. By enhancing the walkability between neighboring properties, adjacent properties and the East-West pathways to the Town Center, you will be helping to create a cohesive community.
Our Shared Vision
The goal for the Broadway Specific Plan is to “enhance the Broadway District as a livable, small town, mixed use City center that is vibrant and thriving and alluring as the Face of American Canyon.” I believe that American Canyon is – and should appear as – a jewel of the Napa Valley. I believe in our shared goals of community and know that together we can do great things.
We are an amazing community that embraces those who have come before us and those who will come after us. As long as we continue to grow responsibly, we can achieve our shared vision of strengthening our small town feel (i.e. community) while flexing our economic muscle in an enticing way that will continue to lure individuals to our community. The Chamber’s work to bolster our economic vitality will only be enhanced by making over the “face of American Canyon.” It is imperative that we move forward on multiple fronts.
The real estate market in the area is still strong but it is starting to stabilize. What I mean by that is that we aren’t seeing the double digit sales price increases the way that we have in the past and this is a good thing for the market overall – if not necessarily for sellers. We’ll take a deep dive into the numbers for 3 key cities: American Canyon, Fairfield and Vallejo.
American Canyon RE Update
The American Canyon market still feels a little off kilter. There is a definite shift in the market although it’s hard to say what that is, exactly. After a huge drop infor saleproperties in March, there is a slow trend toward normalcy. Currently there are 27 homes on the market (including one Rex home that isn’t on MLS – more on that later in the week). It’s good to see that these numbers are bouncing back after such a sluggish spring. Many agents that I’ve spoken to think that it was because of all the rain, but I’m not so sure. Pending sales are way up year-over-year and home sales are also up from last year for the same month (although they are down overall year-to-date). And then there’s the median price.
Median price has consistently been on the rise since January. Good stuff. It’s also up year-over-year. Also good stuff. What I find interesting, however, is that this doesn’t necessarily reflect an overall increase in home prices; rather it most reflects larger, newer homes for sale. What’s going on with Rancho & Napa Square? Fewer of these older homes are going for sale and when they do come up, they are languishing on the market. Last year Rancho homes were going for low-to-mid $400,000’s (with a few exceptions) but this year, when they are up for sale, they have completely retreated back to the mid-$400,000’s. These older homes are a bellweather for the rest of the American Canyon Market. If these homes catch fire this summer they will continue to put upward pressure on the rest of the American Canyon market but as of right now, it looks like they are staying put. We’ll continue to see increases in the prices but not like we have in the past.
The Vallejo market has cooled a bit over the past few months. It’s been in and out of realtor.com’s hottest 20 markets after being in the top five for a few years. Inventory is up from last year at this time but sales are relatively stagnant. Median home sales price is up about 7% year-over-year. Here’s what I find interesting, however; days on market for Vallejo is now at 45. That’s a 40.6% jump from last year at the same time. Now, 45 days is still a fast sell but it’s also 2 weeks longer than the 30ish it was last spring at the same time. The market is slowing down even though the inventory is still there.
The good news is that homes are, for the most part, retaining their value. So even though the length of time might be longer sellers can still expect to sell – at this point – close to their original list price.
Like American Canyon and Vallejo, Fairfield saw a significant dip in available inventory during the winter but has bounced back remarkably this spring, in particular after the rains stopped. The market felt incredibly fast for the first couple of months this year with some homes going in hours. As the bigger homes started to come on the market – a few of which were ambitiously priced – it slowed a bit. However, it’s heated back but days on market is still well over what it was at this time last year.
One important aspect to note about the Fairfield market is that prices are truly stagnant. The median homes sales price was down 2.5% year-over-year but up slightly for the same quarter (March through May) from last year.
What does it all mean?
The bottom line is that – as I mentioned earlier – the market is leveling out. The spring selling season is in full swing and although home prices are up slightly across the board, we are not seeing the same increases that we have in the past.
If you are a buyer, now is a great time to go out and get your dream home. Prices have stabilized and interest rates were dropping at the end of last week (I have one client who was able to lock in below 4%!!!).
If you are a seller, don’t despair if you don’t get your home into contract after the first weekend. While that is still happening, for the most part it’s taking 2-3 weeks to get an offer in and into contract. Make sure that your property is clean, decluttered, cut down on the amount of furniture you have and has curb appeal (e.g. mow the front lawn, weed, water the plants, etc.). If you are patient and follow your agent’s advice, your time will come.
Most days homes tend to look all the same. Even some of the older homes in American Canyon, Fairfield and Vallejo have similar layouts or are mirror images. This week, I was lucky enough to preview 895 Taylor Street in Fairfield and I absolutely fell in love with the property.
It’s listed by Bonnie Falk with Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty and offered at $529,950 and it’s worth every penny. This 5 bed, 2 bath home has almost 3300± square feet. It’s nestled in the heart of downtown Fairfield.
When you walk into the home you are greeted by a large living space with a fireplace on one end and huge bay windows behind you looking out onto Taylor. There is built in cabinetry throughout the home allowing for ample storage space. Hardwood floors abound throughout the home. The layout can be a bit tricky but this home is an entertainer’s dream.
There is a spacious living area that connects the kitchen and the outdoors; walking through the back yard feels like a walk through a Parisian cloister. It has a built-in brick kitchen at the back of the main yard.
Nestled at the rear of the property is a perfect spot for the home farmer. Raised beds all around just ready for your lettuces, tomatoes and any other vegetables or fruits your heart desires. There are no scheduled open homes for this weekend so if you want to see it, give me a call: 707.853.0797 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re anything like me, there’s always a project to be done around the house…especially the main living areas. Every morning I think about re-doing the counter tops in the kitchen because I lose stray coffee beans on the black granite. There are plenty of options out there if you’re looking at renovating the kitchen.
These days I’m big into the butcher block countertops. It reminds me of my parents home and – if they’re well kept – they look absolutely gorgeous and go with just about everything. I like the farm look – I blame it on Chip & Joanna!!
This awesome 2 bed, 2 bath home over in the Olympia is set to close early this month. It’s over 1400sf and has an attached, permitted sunroom and only one neighbor. Looking forward to another great American Canyon Family moving in.
Anticipation has been building since last fall when whispers of a new restaurant coming to town started passing through the community. On Monday, Memorial Day, anticipation gave way to reality when Laso opened it’s doors for the first time. Getting a new restaurant that’s not fast food is a big deal for our community. I was grateful to play a small part in helping Mingyur and Sonam get their start. I’m looking forward to going this weekend to sample!
A New Post Office!
Gone are the days where residents have to cram underneath the shelter to avoid driving rains while one person at a time could do their business. There was a great turnout at yesterday’s ribbon cutting for our brand new post office – no longer the size of a postage stamp! Congressman Mike Thompson deserves kudos for his hard work in making this happen.
Memorial Day Ceremony
The city produced another moving program this past Monday for Memorial Day. A C-5 flyover punctuated the beginning of the ceremony. It was a full house (not pictured…obviously) as we gave thanks to those who served our country so that we may be free. You can read my thoughts about Memorial Day here.
The American Canyon Lions served up hot dogs, drinks and chips for the Veterans in attendance as well as their families…because it truly was a family affair. Old friends coming together once again to celebrate what unites us.
The week ahead
Lots going on this weekend as we head into the final stretch before school gets out…School is out in one week, btw.
The Friends of the American Canyon Library are having their quarterly book sale this weekend. Should be a great pairing with the City Wide Yard Sale going on from Friday, May 31 through Sunday, June 2. Take a look at all of the yard sales going on around town.
Saturday is also the Closing Day for Little League. They have closing ceremonies schedule for 4pm at the Little League Field.
Later Saturday night, there are two events planned, both of which look fantastic: The first is the 2nd Annual Middle Eastern Cultural Night hosted by Councilmember Aboudamous and the other is the AmCan Star Academy at Silver Oak Park. This is a great opportunity for amateur astronomers to meet other interested star gazers.
Don’t forget that there is a special Planning Commission Meeting on Monday at 6:30pm. Presumably this is to review the Watson Ranch Development Agreement and give a recommendation to council for consideration on Tuesday. This is all speculation, however, as the agenda hasn’t been released for either evening.
Today we have a guest blogger, Cindy Aldridge with Our Dog Friends. Cindy is passionate about dogs and pets and loves sharing her thoughts and insights on being a responsible dog owner. She has her own blog with plenty of pet friendly tips. If you’re interested in being a responsible pet owner, you can learn how at the Napa Humane Society.
When the time comes to put your home on the market and prepare for a move, there’s a laundry list of to-dos. It makes for an incredibly busy and anxiety-inducing period for everyone – even your pet. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a checking off everything on your list, but don’t forget to think about how the flurry of activity and uncertainty affects your four-legged friend.
Selling a home when you have a dog can be tricky, since you want to remove almost all evidence of a dog, but there are ways to make your home more attractive to buyers. Make sure to repair any damage left by your pup. Chewed up baseboards and stained carpets don’t add value. And when you leave the house to show it, put away your dog’s belongings, such as his bed, bowls, blankets. Not only can these look dirty, they can also hold smells. Vacuum the house at least once a day, if not twice, and ask a friendly neighbor to do a sniff test to make sure there aren’t any lingering pet odors. If there are still odors, give your home a deep cleaning by mopping tile and wood flooring. If your carpeting smells, you may have to call on a carpet cleaner.
With all the cleaning, decluttering, and staging, your dog is likely to notice these changes, so do what you can to maintain his regular routine. This means keeping regular feeding and walking times, in addition to providing some extra attention. Do what you can to help him feel normal, but also make a point to practice commands to avoid him acting out. If you start to notice behavioral issues, invest in a training collar to keep him on point with commands and to provide added protection for the car trip if you’re moving out of state. You can find a variety of collars online, from those with remotes to those with and without an electric shock.
Prior to moving day, communicate with your movers about your pet as some moving companies balk at having animals on the premises. For your dog’s safety and to set your movers at ease, it’s best to keep him out of the way – either in his own room or out of the house completely. By boarding your pup or finding a qualified pet sitter who can check on him regularly, you can help ease his anxiety and prevent him from running away. As an added measure, don’t wash his belongings, packing them last and keeping them readily available before you get on the road. The familiar smells can help decrease any stress he’s feeling.
If you’re moving out of state, make time for a trip to the vet before you move. Talk to your pet’s doctor to see if there are any special considerations he might need when traveling. For example, if your dog has anxiety in the car or gets carsick, there might be medications you can give him. It’s also a good idea to confirm his vaccinations are up to date and his microchip information is current.
Traveling with a dog requires patience. When you’re on the road, make frequent stops so your dog can go to the bathroom, eat, and stretch his legs. If you transport your dog in a crate, you might want to throw a blanket over the crate to ease his anxiety. Plan ahead when booking accommodations and look for hotels that are pet-friendly so you won’t have any trouble bringing him along. You don’t want to be on the road all night looking for a place to stop.
Home Sweet Home
Once you finally arrive at your new home, don’t let your dog loose on his own right away. Employ the training collar and take him around the house, showing him where he will sleep and where his toys and bed will be. Next, take him for a walk and introduce him to your new neighbors, then let him sniff around his new home. In the first few weeks, make sure to keep to his regular routine as much as possible. That extra bit of reassurance can help him settle in more quickly.
Having a dog makes selling your home and moving a bit more stressful, there are ways to navigate the process so everyone enjoys smooth sailing. Soon everyone in the home will adapt and adjust. Before too long, for your dog and your family, it will feel like you’ve always lived there.