October 28, 2013 |
In a report released Friday, the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) executive staff has recommended approval of Elk Grove's expansion plan, but by roughly half of what the city is seeking.
The executive staff of the Sacramento LAFCo, which by state law has jurisdiction on annexation plans, is recommending to its seven-person board that Elk Grove be granted its sphere of influence (SOI) application but for 4,040-acres, the so-called enhanced regional alternate, not the 7,869-acres it is seeking. Approval of the SOI is the first and most significant step Elk Grove will take on its way to annexing the acreage which is on the city's southern border.
Several years in the making, Elk Grove City Council members, numerous business interests and residential real estate developers have long advocated for the SOI saying it will help attract businesses needed to correct the city's worst-in-the-region jobs to house imbalance. Opponents of the SOI included the Sierra Club and Environmental Club of Sacramento have voiced concern on the long term effects they believe it will have on the Cosumnes River flood plain and the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Preserve.
Several Elk Grove residents and groups such as Elk Grove GRASP have expressed skepticism on the city's true intent of annexation noting the city has a long history of rezoning to accommodate more residential building. In the last year Elk Grove City Council Member Pat Hume commented from the dais that it was his belief that businesses will not be attracted to the city until more residential units are built.
As part of their recommendation for the enhanced regional alternate, the report says the land being put under Elk Grove SOI should be dedicated to correcting the city's jobs to houses imbalance and future development of the SOI area be linked allowed only upon completion of infill projects in the city and region. The reports states the city currently has about 15,000 retail and food service jobs which makes up about 22 percent of all jobs in the city and the city currently has about 2,800-acres of unplanned area that represents about 11 percent of the current area.
The LAFCo board of directors can either accept the recommendation, alter it, deny it or outright deny the city's entire application. Sacramento LAFCO is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, November 6 to discuss Elk Grove's SOI.