After 20 years in the design and planning phase, a new conservation community called Lagoon Valley has started to materialize in Northern California.
The 2,400-acre master plan—developed by Seattle-based Triad Development—will include roughly 1,015 homes in 14 unique neighborhoods with more than 70% of the plan dedicated to open space and recreation, including a 400-acre public park, a 71-acre wetland preserve, and 1,300 acres of accessible hiking and mountain biking trails.
Lennar, Trumark Homes, Tri Pointe Homes, and Lafferty Communities will build the first five neighborhoods in Lagoon Valley, located off Interstate 80, between San Francisco and Sacramento in Vacaville. The community broke ground in June 2021 and anticipates sales to begin in mid-2023.
“Sustainable design principles are embedded in what we do,” says Curt Johansen, director of development at Triad. “These four builders are aligned with our wellness vision for the community, which will provide a wonderful quality of life for residents, close to the urban centers while being environmentally conscious and eco-friendly.”
Lagoon Valley is looking to exceed the standards promoted for the community by Greenbelt Alliance, a nonprofit organization founded “to educate, advocate, and collaborate to ensure the Bay Area’s lands and communities are resilient to a changing climate.”
The neighborhood design maximizes linkages among people and open space by clustering housing and infrastructure, so neighborhoods sit lightly in the valley, protecting and preserving land and natural resources.
“You have to imagine the community not going in the places where it’s easiest or most logical to build,” adds Johansen. “As a priority, use open space, and parks and recreation, as the forerunner for where things should go, and then fit in a community around that. That’s been my guiding principle, and I’m really happy that I finally get a chance to do it in California.”
Residents will enjoy the community’s pedestrian and bike-friendly neighborhoods interconnected with trails that offer easy non-vehicular access to adjoining villages, the town center, the organic farm, numerous neighborhood parks and open space, and recreational facilities including a community event center and an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP)–certified golf course, which aims to minimize the potentially harmful impacts of golf course operations on the environment.
Lagoon Valley residences will be constructed to meet or exceed California energy-saving mandates and will include increased solar photovoltaic, battery storage, and greywater recycling system options to reduce home potable water consumption by up to 50%.
“I think we’re going to be the first large-scale community statewide to require our builders to pipe the homes for greywater reclamation,” states Johansen. “Even if our homeowners do not choose to go all the way, just obligating the builders to set it up so that all of their irrigation needs are met with that reclaimed water, that will be a huge help to reducing potable water use in the community.”
In terms of energy, Johansen is encouraging the builders to embrace passive design principles, to ensure homes stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter before the use of HVAC. Solar panels will generate energy for the homes, and battery storage systems in garages will give homeowners the ability to function off-grid during rolling blackouts or weather events.
“I’m trying to push them hard to do something that will outlive all of us,” he concludes. “I think you’ll find that [the builders] are as passionate about it as we are, and they want to be part of this.”
Johansen predicts full build-out will take about five years, with a goal to deliver 200 lots and homes per year and completing the community around 2027.