Time to Connect Some Dots
in Elk Grove

Is Elk Grove morphing into an extension of South Sacramento?  Who is more important - constituents or locust? Call it a convergence ...

Is Elk Grove morphing into an extension of South Sacramento?
 Who is more important - constituents or locust?

Call it a convergence of the economy, criminal activity and while we are at it, this weekends solar eclipse. Whatever the case, events over the last several months ought to be an indicator of what could be in Elk Grove’s future.

Let’s star with criminal activity.

Readers of this site will undoubtedly note the spike of arrests in the 9000 blocks of Elk Grove-Florin Road over the last several weeks. This criminal activity culminated with the recent drug-dealing related murder of a 19-year-old Elk Grove man in the parking lot of Dimple’s records on Elk Grove-Florin Road.

Among the numerous arrests made by Elk Grove Police along this corridor, several were of people either on probation or for narcotics or firearms possession. Sadly this narcotics activity is happening way to close to Elk Grove High School - one can only imagine what might be happening in EGHS.

Interestingly, just around this corner of what appears to be a developing hub of criminal activity along Elk Grove-Florin Road is the now empty Bel-Air grocery store on Elk Grove Blvd. Is there as relationship between these two?

While the recent spike of criminal activity can’t be blamed on the closing of a store that has anchored that neighborhood for years, an empty store is unlikely to encourage less criminal activity in the area. We hope Elk Grove Economic Development Director Randy Starbuck can apply some of his much-hyped magic and help get a tenant in that space before it to becomes an eye-sore much less a crime magnet.

Meanwhile, as criminal activity seems (or at least law enforcement activity ) to have increased along the Elk Grove-Florin corridor, we increasingly hear rumblings of a nascent housing recovery happening in Elk Grove. Never mind there are countless people in Elk Grove who are still underwater in their mortgages and all the foreclosures in the market have not been completed, the word is out – now is the time to buy, or so we are told.

Of course as one recent story pointed out, much of the regional activity is being fueled by cash-fat Bay Area investors. In other words, absentee landlords.

In that same story, Chris Little, president-elect of the Sacramento Realtors Association noted "absentee landlords can be problematic, because if (the properties) are not properly managed, then you wind up with blight in the neighborhood."

Not coincidentally there are numerous rental units along the Elk Grove Florin Road’s burgeoning crime corridor from Aizenberg Circle south to Emerald Park Drive. This is not meant to be a reflection of the undoubtedly many good and deserving families in these units that are deserving of safe neighborhoods, but the fact remains an overabundance of rental units in any one neighborhood tend to be less safe than owner occupied areas.

While we can cheer that formerly empty houses are being scooped up by vulture investors, are these formerly owner-occupied neighborhoods going to develop into other mini Elk Grove-Florin criminal corridors, or as one frequent commenter has repeatedly said on this site, an extension of “South Sacramento” and all the negative connotation that carries?

Are our police resources going to be pushed even further? Will we have to hire more police officers?

Of course while the excess inventory of homes slowly gets absorbed and become renter occupied neighborhoods, the locust – residential real estate developers, will undoubtedly be swarming city hall pushing hard for the Sphere of Influence (SOI) area. Their justification will be that there is more demand for homes.

The real estate locust will come bearing gifts and once they chew up what they want, all the land in the SOI area, they’ll move on to the next field of crops to consume. And as Sonny and Cher might sing, “The Beat Goes on…”

So while our city leaders contemplate expanding the city limits of Elk Grove to accommodate a group of locust looking to encourage suburban sprawl, we urge our city leaders to consider the long-term effects these action will have on Elk Grove neighborhoods.

Our leaders are suppose to look out for the quality of their constituents neighborhoods, not the income statements of the real estate locust.

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Anonymous said...

As one City Council member recently said, "We're gonna go to Texas and visit Howard Hughes Corp. and light a fire under them"....

As one City economic development director recently said about Howard Hughes Corp., I'm going to be their worst pest and not let up hounding them.

It's all about the mall and appeasing the housing builders...follow the money.

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