As Assemblymember Seeks State Funds For Kammerer Road, Environmental Groups Seek Reversal of Elk Grove Expansion

Environmental groups assert areas near Kammerer Road are
sensitive habitat for a variety of species including the sand hill crane. |   

March 21, 2018 |

On the same day that Elk Grove's California Assembly representative announced plans to seek additional state funding for a long-sought road, an environmental group announced the body governing an approved expansion of Elk Grove city limits has announced they will grant them a second hearing to reconsider the findings.

In an announcement posted yesterday on social media and their website, the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) said that the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) will have another hearing on an expansion of Elk Grove's city limits. The announcement said, "ECOS and Sierra Club have asked and been granted a hearing on whether there should be reconsideration of the Feb 7, 2018 LAFCo decision to approve adding 1,156 acres of farmland to the Sphere of Influence for Elk Grove (first step in urbanization)."

In that decision, Sacramento LAFCO decided by a 4-3 vote to approve placing the 1,156-acres (see map below) on the south side of Elk Grove along Kammerer Road into the city's sphere of influence (SOI). Putting land into a municipality's SOI is a significant step toward the annexation of land into a city limit.

Yesterday also saw Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) announce that he would submit a request to the California Transportation Commission for up to $25 million in additional funding for the Kammerer Road expansion. Kammerer Road is part of the larger Capital Southeast Connector project which seeks to connect I-5 on the west to U.S. Highway 50 near Folsom.

“Improvements to Kammerer Road are critical to meet the growing population of Elk Grove and the greater Sacramento region,” Cooper said. “It’s imperative that this project receives additional funding, traffic is only going to get worse and this project will provide much needed regional congestion relief.”  

While Cooper will seek additional funds for the Kammerer Road portion of the connector road, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) yesterday also approved a five-year statewide funding budget for a variety of projects. The $2 billion CTC budget was provided by Senate Bill 1 which raised gasoline sales taxes and vehicle registration fees and included $5 million for the Kammerer Road project.

Although the SOI applications for annexation is directly not related to the Capital Southeast Connector road project, they both encompass an area of rural south Sacramento County that groups like ECOS and the Sierra Club deem to be environmentally sensitive. The Sacramento County Farm Bureau has also sounded alarm that the 1,156-acres in the SOI area, which would be mainly used for housing, would encroach on nearby land that would further reduce agriculture production in the county.

Unlike a previous failed effort initiated by the City of Elk Grove to put about 12-square miles of south Sacramento County property into their sphere, this application was initiated by three private parties. The City of Elk Grove has not opposed the private application seeking the expansion and city spokesperson Kristyn Nelson did not respond to an Email inquiry seeking comment on the new Sacramento LAFCO hearing. 

In the website posting, ECOS said they will be seeking reconsideration based on two main points. Those arguments include "lack of evidence to support a Statement adopted by the Commissioners to “override” the 22 significant and unavoidable impacts of the decision" and "misleading statements at the hearing on water availability, farmland mitigation, benefits of the decision to the JPA Connector, and the extent to which impacts can be mitigated." 

The Thursday, April 5 Sacramento LAFCO meeting will be held at the Sacramento County Administration Building at 700 H Street, Sacramento and starts at 5:30 p.m. The agenda can be viewed here.       

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Connie said...

What a nice gift for the developers, $25 million dollars. Thank you Jim Cooper! Now the developers can charge even more for housing and make an even big profit. Same for those landowners in the transition zone.

But let’s face it, the Capital Southeast Connector won’t happen for 25 to 30 years. Let’s see if Cooper can up the five million already allocated increased. And let’s keep in mind everything old that needs to be fixed including Hwy 99, bridges, overpasses, etc. That SB1 money can only go so far and everyone is going to want a piece of the pie.

So here is what is going to happen: Kammerer Road will get done but will be a road to nowhere except to alleviate traffic on Elk Grove Blvd. because it is pet project of the Elk Grove City Council. That is all we hear, Kammerer Road needs to be widened.

Developers win! Politicians win! Taxpayers, not so much! But hey, as Meat Loaf sang, “Now don't be sad, 'Cause two out of three ain't bad!

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

Yes, repairs to existing infrastructure here and statewide should be priority one. While the Elk Grove City Council and Mr. Cooper seek money to encourage more sprawl and line the pockets of their Gucci-shoe-wearing developers from Granite Bay, what about us poor schmucks driving back and forth on 5 and 99 where potholes are damaging vehicles and causing accidents. Or how about fixing roads in Elk Grove for residents instead of giving gifts to your developer friends?

And thank you for jogging my memory, Ms. Conley. As I recall, on several occasions Ms. Lynn Wheat referenced Mr. Cooper's comments that RT's Light Rail will never come to Elk Grove, and furthermore, he didn't want it to enter the community. Yes, Mr. Cooper, you are correct - as long as you push the agenda of the well-heeled developers and oil companies who finance your campaign and provide funds to special interest groups who take you on "fact-finding" junkets to Hawaii, RT Light Rail will never come to our city.

Nicely played in an election year Mr. Cooper.

D.J. Blutarsky said...

The game is rigged so tight, you can bounce a taxpayer's dime off it and it would bounce all the way into a developer's backyard in Granite Bay!

The re-hearing will enable the various lawyers pushing for the SOI to get a do-over and make the approval legally bullet-proof. Better have deep pockets if you want to challenge that one.

Jim "I Have A Street Named After Me Off Bilby" Cooper comes through once again. Get the California taxpayers to build the Connector which will give developers who own land along it instant value at no cost to them. Wondering who serves on the California Transportation Commission? Check out their occupations!

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