LAFCo Commits To Holding Elk Grove SOI Meeting |
Quietly and behind closed doors the City of Elk Grove has continued to work on the Sphere of Influence (SOI) application to expand our current city boundaries by nearly 8,000 acres. Little has been said regarding the status of the application since October 2010 when the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Committee (LAFCo) came to Elk Grove to present the Notice of Preparation (NOP). This is particularly troublesome, given we have spent nearly $1 million on this application so far.
|The original SOI was much larger. Will the city press on?|
The process has continued to move stealthily forward with City Manager Laura Gill occasionally reporting on the status of the SOI during the administrative comments at regular council meetings. Gill has regularly indicated no significant changes as work between the city staff and LAFCo staff continue on the revised environmental impact report (EIR).
At one city council meeting Mayor Gary Davis and Councilman Jim Cooper were selected to receive regular updates from the city planning staff on the progress of the application. The subcommittees to which they belong were to receive updates in July 2012. Honoring their professed transparency, a report from our council members should have been brought forth, but there has been nothing but silence from them.
During the public comment portion of the Wednesday night regular meeting of LAFCo, I addressed the commissioners and expressed my concern about the city’s silence on this important issue with minimal updates being given at council meetings. I also noted while canvassing neighborhoods, it was astounding to discover how many residents do not know of the city’s desire to expand the boundaries. I asked the LAFCo Commissioners to assist in educating and updating the residents on this important policy action by sponsoring public workshops in Elk Grove. I also hoped that this would help provide the impetus for the City Council to become more transparent on this issue as well.
Following public comment, the LAFCo staff announced the revised EIR will be recirculated this Spring with a 60-day public review period, rather than the normal 45- day period to allow more time for public input. The Commissioners also directed the LAFCo staff to work with the city of Elk Grove to schedule a meeting here in our town.
It was very encouraging to see LAFCo agree to hold a workshop in Elk Grove, because this process is moving along with or without our concerns being addressed. Is this really about jobs? Is this just another opportunity to encourage a glut of new homes? Is this going to impact the business vitality of our central core? Who is going to pay for the infrastructure, and is there enough water to serve the area? What about the loss of the remaining farmland that was once the proud heritage of Elk Grove? Do we need this: is a bigger city necessarily better?
I urge all Elk Grove residents to spread the word and attend the meeting.
Check ElkGroveNews.net and other media outlets for information on LAFCo's Elk Grove SOI meeting.