Controversial Silverado Project Cruises Through Elk Grove Planning Commission

June 6, 2014 | A controversial housing development cruised through the Elk Grove Planning Commission last night receiving a unanimo...

June 6, 2014 |

A controversial housing development cruised through the Elk Grove Planning Commission last night receiving a unanimous approval.

The so-called Silverado housing project, located on the northwest corner of Bond and Waterman roads, was approved by a 5-0 vote. 

The 230-acre site, which is in the process of being purchased by Silverado owners, Vintara Holdings, from the Sacramento Area Sanitation District, will feature three villages with a total of 660 housing units. Village three will be a senior oriented area with 267 patio homes and an assisted living-memory care facility with 125 units.

Appearing before the council n behalf of Vintara was Ed Johansen, who said the project will be good for the city. He noted that over half of the project area will be open space.

“The project on its merits, its totality, is a great project,” he said. “I am very proud of it.”

The project, which was originally proposed in 2004, has been the subject of litigation between the Quail Ranch Estates Association successfully sued the city claiming the  mitigated negative declaration was inadequate, and that a full environmental impact study was needed.  Additionally, at several public hearings in the ensuing years, numerous long-time Elk Grove residents said they personally dumped various garbage and waste materials at the site and claimed it was an open secret dump location.

The matter was most recently heard by the planning commission in February, and at that time they instructed staff to examine the relocation of the project's park to a more centralized location. They also requested that the existing apartment complex on Waterman Road to be integrated into the project. 

During public testimony, several Elk Grove residents expressed disappointment and bewilderment that no substantial changes were made. 

“Back in February, this commission had serious concerns about the viability of this project. At that time you recommended denial of the project because of the shortcomings,” Steve Lee said. “The major concerns have still not been addressed.”

Lee went on to say nothing had been done to address the isolation of the apartment complex and requests to integrate the park into the community had been completely ignored.

Mark White also urged the commission to view the Johansen's comments regarding the overall quality of the project with skepticism. 

“Don’t let the developer fool you,” he said. “I think he needs to sit down with us to work things out.”

In her deliberations comments, Commission Chairperson Nancy Chaires said the she was satisfied that the laundry list of concerns had been addressed by the developer. 

"This is the best we can do," she said. "I think this is the best we are going to do." 

At the start of the hearing, Commissioner Sparky Harris initially concurred with Lee’s comment regarding the lack of changes incorporated in the project since the February meeting.

“Looks like the same project to me,” Harris said after hearing Johansen’s testimony and the staff report. 

By the end of the hearing, however,  Harris changed his tune and said he would approve the project in its current form. He noted the inclusion of the senior village as an influencing factor in his change of heart, but nonetheless said it was still not well designed.

“This project is not going to win any awards,” he noted. “It is kind of the lesser of two evils.”

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Sarah Johnson said...

What a crushing disappointment! All five of you actually voted to approve this poorly planned project! How can any of us feel good about this?

lynn said...

Best we can get...our leaders do not find the existing or future residents worthy of we can get...the leaders are not fighting for residents.. They are doing nothing to protect our home values! Nothing to build quality of life...the one open space is a drainage basin...take a look in east elk grove at the basins...attractive feature.

5th worse ozone pollution in the US said...

"The best we can do"? Mr Harris, would you still be employed if you forwarded this outdated cookie cutter housing project to you planning commission ? Have we forgotten that this is public property- the peoples' land. Where is it written that a profit needs to be made on public property? Yes I guess this is the best we can do if we are to retain our role as the bottom feeders of Sacramento County. Watch out Fresno we're going after reputation and we want bragging rites for the whole Central Valley.

Thomas A. Anderson said...

Disappointing for sure, but by now we should all know better. Surprised not in the least.

The fix is in on these things from the start. Oh, sure the developers will throw some money at the food bank and the council will on occasion throw residents a table scrap. If you don't see this reality, perhaps you took the blue pill.

Bainc said...

I love how flood plains and creeks get included as "open space". Wow, what a gift. You didn't build houses in the middle of a seasonal lake. Impressive!

Looks like I'll be waiting even longer at the stop light at Bond and East Stockton and Bond and Elk Grove-Florin coming from the freeway on my way home. Oh, but they told us 660 housing units won't have an impact on traffic because some of those are in a senior community. Do people believe this garbage?

JeffO said...

Nancy Chaires is on the planning commission and Steve Ly is on the school board. Lynn, you've made the point before, voters need to make informed decisions. Not only should we judge candidates on where they stand on the issues but in the case of these two, how have they dealt with decisions that have come before them, how did they evaluate the facts and how did they cast their vote?

The way they go about their business now foreshadows how they will go about it in the future.

In this case too bad that community members weren't listened to and that developers weren't held to higher standards.

As for the upcoming District 4 council seat, I see this as a very difficult decision on who to vote for. Perhaps one of the other candidates is right for the job. We'll wait and see.

Anonymous said...

BEST WE CAN DO??? My 12 yr could do better. We set high standards for her…in her school work; in her home chores; when dealing with the public. She could have seen this train wreck coming and set the bar just a little higher. WHY CAN’T WE DO BETTER??? Shameful. Planning staff and commission members should be embarrassed to support this project. It appears no significant changes happened since the Feb hearing date where the project was soundly nix and sent back for re-consideration. PC's have left those apartments without the park they were supposed to get; the left those apartments without a commercial piece because Silverado moved the commercial piece to INSIDE the walls of the senior community so THEY could provide services for THEIR clients and to hell with the existing residents of the city. George Murphey, Frank Maita and Sparky are simply an embarrassment and a stooge for developers. I thought you had some balls...but apparently someone else is squeezing them....I am sad to admit our system is a complete failure. Follow the money...Silverado has paid cash into 4 of the council members’ campaign fund within the last 12 months. Before this project, Silverado contributed ZERO to our council members...but now, they freely throw amount seed money to buy these votes. It was suggested that a city employee has been applying pressure to the PC’ers to pass the project. Who is that city employee???? What does he have a gain? Is there a bonus in there somewhere?? This is just an unacceptable business model. Where is the checks and balances? How many citizens and how many lawsuits have to be filed to get your attention???

Anonymous said...

Time for another citizen sponsored lawsuit. There are so many deficiencies on this project that the residents should win this one hands down AGAIN. Too bad we need to resort to that kind of behavior.

mrs olsen said...

Everything will be ok- buy a cup of coffee and change the world.

Thomas A. Anderson said...

Glad to see that some of the people who inhabit this environment took the red pill and have ventured down the rabbit hole to see the true world we live in.

Anonymous said...

Was unable to attend this meeting and in listening to it last evening was somewhat appalled that I did not hear one Planning Commissioner mention/comment about Emergency vehicle problems due to the 20-30 trains passing/blocking Bond daily. This IMO is very important in locating an Assisted Living Complex in this development. Or did I miss that there is a heliport being located there?

Eastside Pete said...

"Looks like the same project to me," says professional planner Sparky Harris, The same project that he voted, "No," on back in November, chastising the staff asking why this project was recommended for approval when it was so poorly designed. Yet, Harris now votes to approve the project with comments like "it's the lesser of two evils."
- What two evils? Recommending denial of the poorly planned project and by doing so protecting our dwindling open space, or recommending approval and not holding builders to high standards for the benefit of our city's future?
- Seems like a no-brainer to this resident.

Because there was a complete 180 degree turn around by the PC based on few if any improvements, I have to agree with the man who stated that higher ranking city leaders pressured the PC to approve the project, despite their denial. - It's most reasonable explanation for what happened. - I guess that's business as usual around here.

So sad for all of us.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the above....pressure was applied! That just makes my decision on who to vote for in the City Council election much easier...can't have business AS USUAL!

Sarah Johnson said...

Sad to say that I have heard the same that someone "high up" at City Hall was applying pressure to get this project approved. That someone knows who they are and apparently has no shame about it. We have become the city we did not want, corrupt, and available to the highest bidder at a price. It is so difficult to accept, but the facts are there. SHAMEFUL!

Anonymous said...

What did people expect when they voted for city hood ? All of this was predictable and will continue.

SteveB6509 said...

If a City staffer was applying pressure, that would be very bizarre - almost worth some sort of investigation. City staff should be neutral, playing a role to provide balanced evaluations of a development proposal.

Anonymous said...

I'm hearing about a "higher-up" but have yet to see who it is we're talking about. You can post on this site anonymously, so let's have it.

Who put pressure on the PC?

Time to out him/her, and perhaps the mole that leaked the info.

Anonymous said...

All this talk about a higher up applying pressure. Again all talk from the same people who always say they are "in the know," but never come forward with names and the facts. Transparency works both ways.

So Sarah Johnson and the others, including Steve Lee who brought it up at the meeting, if you know these people are, then have the courage to speak up. If you don't, then you and the others are just fueling conspiracy theories that doesn't help your cause.

And frankly, it appeared that Lee backed down when called out by Frank Maita. So if Lee knows something, he needs to speak up.

Vivica Sponlak said...

The majority of the 660 units affiliated with this project are assigned to the Eskaton facility. An Eskaton facility will do well in Elk Grove. So mu;ch hand wringing over the railroad tracks and those "old folks." What about the residents, young and old, who already live east of the the railway? Doesn't seem to be a problem with the existing status quo right now. Just a red herring argument for the NIMBY's that live in rural Elk Grove. As the sign says, it's their "piece of heaven." What the signs should say is their piece of heaven and everybody else stay the hell out!

And you are correct Anon at 10:14. If there is a "higher up" within City Hall that is applying pressure, why not say who it is? Really, what repercussions are you afraid of Ms. Johnson and Mr. Lee? You're not employed by the City of Elk Grove so you can't lose your job. So man up and tell us who it is and then perhaps something can be done. However, until you put what you know out there it is nothing but speculation on the part of dissatisfied homeowners and it is hurting your argument because you're looking foolish.

If I was a conspiracy theorist like all of you I would suggest that perhaps "higher up" implies a councilman. Mr. Lee is apparently friends with Mr. Detrick; worked on his campaigns and supported him on many issues. So is it Mr. Detrick? Or perhaps it's Mr. Davis as Ms. Johnson has been a supporter of Mr. Davis in the past. However, Mr. Davis now lives in the rural area so I can't see him applying pressure for approval of the project. To close to home in more ways than one.

This group of residents is one note. Nothing will satisfy them because they want nothing built on that land as it is literally in their backyard. Ms. Wheat is one note, ad nausea, and so are the others. It would appear they are the elitists, as build nothing in their neighborhoods because they are too good for it. I have yet to see such vehement opposition to projects proposed on the west side. Any respect I may have had for this group has long since died.

Additionally, demanding that Silverado mitigate for the apartment complex at Waterman/Bond is ridiculous. The owner of that property or perhaps the City is responsible to mitigate the problems that exist from this complex. That's like asking the gentleman building his home across from me to mitigate the damage to my driveway caused by the tree in my yard.

lynn said...

To above, you speak without knowing, which is absolutely your right, and of course ever easier when hidden behind a blog name. I most certainly could speak to you on many levels...many on the other side of hwy 99 have given up or moved. I can say their are many of us on this east side who refuse to be apathetic and are visionary not nimby.

Sarah Johnson said...

Interesting "logic" Ms. Sponlak. Unfortunately, you are wrong and it sounds like you are shilling for council members with your wild theories. It's okay, I am done! All the work that I have done to make our community better over many years has been a waste of time and effort. Anyone who actually knows me knows that I am not a NIMBY, but don't let me confuse you with the facts.

Sarah Johnson said...

Well, this is interesting, a new twist to posting as "Anonymous". there is no such person as Vivica Sponlak.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

Ms. Johsnon has put her heart and soul into making this a better community, as have several other people in Elk Grove. To suggest this is a NIMBY is a red herring.

Unfortunate but true, the city council has systematically pushed, bullied and created an environment where people are threatened in subtle and not so subtle ways. At some some point they throw up there hands and walk away. When people like Ms. Johnson wash their hands of participation, the mayor, city council and city manager Laura Gill have succeeded in their goal of quashing public participation. Mayor Davis' "your house" proclamations rings so hollow. In fact, I think the mayor has dropped that tagline like his line on being "laser focused".

C'est la vie!

Anonymous said...

To Sponlake above at 10:54
What project site plan are you looking at?? Your ignorance is showing. 660 homes are separate from the Eskaton project. The site plan has 660 homes (now lowered to 651) PLUS 125 patio homes WITHIN Eskaton. Total homes are now 785...which is about 120 more than the failed Vintara project.

But Sponlak you are entitled to your faulty conclusions. You are clearly not an informed resident when it comes to this project.

This "NIMBY" group you speak of supports the Eskaton village 100%. If fact, this group asked the developer to put in a larger Eskaton on the entire piece of land. We encouraged this, but the developer indicated they were not interested in building a larger Eskaton. So, much for your theory of "they don't want anything built there".

Those folks who have worked with neighborhood groups in the area to make this project more citizen friendly knows exactly who this city employee is. And that city employee knows that we know. Calling him/her out on a blog is simply unprofessional. It is being dealt with "face to face" however the mere fact that this employee believes he/she can manipulate the system to their benefit needs some discussion and soul searching. Is this pressure something us citizens embrace? The staffer's true identity will ultimately been known.

Ms Johnson and Mr Lee can speak for themselves regarding any past relationships with council members. Those two council members you mentioned have long ago lost most of their original supporters due to their poor ethics and morals.

Let's talk about your foolish statement about Waterman apartments and its relationship to this project. Silverado's site plan includes "commercial" WITHIN the walls of the Eskaton (so they can provide a small pharmacy, small shopping area; small restaurant.) REMEMBER, all these services are for Eskaton residents only. This commercial piece was "flipped" by the developer into his project from an adjacent piece of land that was included in the Waterman apt approved plans. Also, Waterman apt was supposed to have a small park adjacent to them for the benefit of the Waterman apt dwellers. Well guess what Sponlak, that park piece was also "flipped" into the wall of the Eskaton so THOSE residents have more open space. Both of these flips were done for the benefits of the Eskaton project and the detriment of the Waterman apt dwellers. So your statement about "Silverado mitigating for the apt complex" is an utterly stupid statement and clearly makes you seem un-informed. Waterman apts lost both their commercial support piece and their open park so that Eskaton could have a nicer walled in product.

If you had been to or listened to any part of the Feb 22 planning commission meeting, you would know the project had a 4-0 denial until it was suggested by Nancy Chairs that the developer ask for a continuance so that this commercial and park issue could be solved. However since the commission was pressured, they all flipped their votes saying "it's the best we could do" or "better of two evils". Well, that's great planning, huh! Waterman apt gets shafted; everyone loses access to that park and commercial piece (accept those living within Eskaton) and PCers seems to NOW think that’s ok even though no improvements have been made since their failed Feb 22 meeting. Something stinks.

Steve Lee said...

I wondered why my ears were I know.

I have to agree with just about all comments of poster @ 13:21, as well as several others who believe improper behavior is afoot here. The city showed its slimy underbelly with the Gil Moore fiasco. This seems to be more of the same.

To Vivica above, your comments are juvenile and pedestrian. Your lack of knowledge of the project is immense. When you've spent the hundreds of hours I have researching the project, sifting over thousands (yes, thousands) of pages of documents and maps and spoken to many informed city personnel regarding the project, options, modifications, etc, then contact me and we'll talk. I'm always open to listening to an outside informed opinion.

As for divulging the name of the wrongdoer, I'll speak to him/her before I'll give the information up to the public. I owe them that. However, it really wasn't hard to find out. I was told and I didn't even ask. Just gotta talk to right person(s) and be willing to listen.

BTW my "deep throat" contact is reliable and very much in the know about such dealings. I will not give this person up. Sorry.

In closing, know that I have a very good working relationship with the Silverado people and I'm not really a NIMBY. I wholly support the Eskaton Village, and as for the remainder of the property, all I have EVER asked for in 10 years is a "sister community" to my own. My community consists of Rd-1, Rd-2, Rd-4 and Rd-5 housing. The land Silverado wants to build on currently has these exact lot sizes. Unfortunately, for me and my neighbors, Silverado wants to rezone and make much smaller lots, which equates to cheaper homes, more units, more traffic, more crime, etc. - I really don't think I'm being unreasonable.

But, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, even you Vivica.
Hope you have a nice day! - No, really!

lynn said...

I will say I speak for myself here. This property is owned by san district, us rate payers, and with that said is the reason I believed the elk grove residents deserved an open space that would have benefitted all and that as our city grew elk grove regional park would not meet all recreational needs. The city, which means we taxpayers, paid to have the FEMA floodplain map changed allowing this housing project to move forward. The apts; I have spoken, ad nauseum, about no sidewalk along waterman to the store and no covered bus stop. I wanted the apts to have elevators so parents with young children,groceries etc would not have to climb stairs to the third floor. We were promised they would have a park! I was unsuccessful in any of the other requests. Now, no park. Less of two evils...what is the other evil? Why should our leaders be so willing to accept evil in our town? BTW...when I talked to one leader about the vision I had and have...the response...find the money and I would say by it. This parcel is not privately owned or I would not even consider the concept or vision I have had. I wanted our town to have quality of life features. I wanted it to offer so much more for people of all ages...Housing projects with detention basins as open space, that hopefully will prevent flooding...hmmm nothing special about that one.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

Ms. Wheat, you make an excellent point regarding ownership of the property. From my understanding, that property is already in the public domain so to speak. I am not intimately familiar with transfer of public property, other than with BRAC's - Base Realignment and Closures.

When The Army Depot, McClellan and Mather AFB's closed, the DOD essentially deeded the property over to other governmental agencies. Furthermore, it is my understanding, for the Sanitation District this is surplus property. Could not a similar deal be worked out between the district and the City of Elk Grove?

For all of Mayor Davis' talk about making us a destination city, why not work on this and get that property and get your laser focus working and turn that into a real world-class public park?

If they truly wanted to do it, it could be done, alas there is not testicular fortitude among our city council.

I'll tell you the reason from my perspective - $

I tend to give Mr. Lee's assertion that there was some sort of shenanigans going on credence. It is no mistake the developers have given frequent and generous donations to council members.

And Ms. Chaires, why the sudden change? Are you looking for money for your campaign? Mr. Harris, I am truly perplexed by your flip-flop at Thursday's meeting? Were you just posturing for an appointment to the council should Mr. Cooper win his Assembly race? Oops, I am sorry, its the CCSD’s Director Rod Brewer who is posturing for that seat. So what is your excuse Mr. Harris?

Obviously the city council could careless on approaching this as a sort of BRAC transaction for the benefit of the city and more have more parochial interests, specifically kowtowing to the moneyed interest who fund their trivial political interest.

Chaires, Harris and the entire Elk Grove City Council this is your legacy. I hope you sleep well at night.

Mr. Hume are you listening?

Goodnight and good luck.

Anonymous said...

Sophia Scherman needs to be back in the council. She's the only one that ever got anything done.

Bainc said...

Lynn, interesting idea to make into a regional park. That parcel is nearly double the size of Elk Grove Park. And not next to a freeway (one of the big downside to EG Park for me).

However, parks don't make campaign donations. Developers on the other hand do. I'd love to see that parcel become a park but money is tight. The San District isn't going to give it away and even if the city acquired the parcel for free they is no money to develop and maintain a park that size. The voters are reluctant to approve a tax on themselves. Hard to see this one going our way.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and bring back Briggs, Soares and Leary while you are at it. And people thought it couldn't get any worse, now didn't they?

Anonymous said...

Sad but true Anon 8:56.

I for one, really thought we turned the corner on corruption with election of Davis, and Detrick.

Power and money are addictive. Even the best laid plans and motives get pushed aside where money and power overshadow all else. I do wish now that Leary, Soares and Briggs were still on the CC. It's becoming that bad.

Marvin Zindler said...

The corruption and payoffs will only stop when,

a.) All the unused land is developed, including the sphere of influence area, which will rear its ugly head once there is a more developer friendly board on the Sacramento LAFCO. Once the land is all consumed, the developers will leave like locustlooing for another crop to devastate and their flow of money will stop.


b.) An initiative is placed on the Elk Grove ballot limiting contributions, spending, etc. It will take a lot of work, and of course the developers will do everything within their power to stop it, but it is not impossible.
I'm not sure of the legalities, but perhaps some sort of crowd sourcing could be used to raise the money needed to gather signatures and run the campaign. Hard for sure, but not impossible.

We voters still have some power and we can flex it. Until we show the council we mean business, they will continue to roll us like a street bum.

IEs are the Devil said...

Marvin Zindler: It would be a good solution to have campaign finance reform in Elk Grove; but there are major obstacles here as well.

Some of us who won't give up believe it is still very much needed. However, for a level playing field, single member districts with campaign limits could ensure a better chance for say a Lynn Wheat. She is very well known in District 2 and would give Pat Hume a lot of headaches.

But several of the larger community groups are dead set against single member districts, thinking that would take us back to the County days with that kind of single representation: "I only care about my District. Your district people don't vote for me, so what do I care what goes on over in yours!"

But what would the developers do? They would form Independent Expenditure Committees (IE) with no spending limits and flood District 2 with Hume flyers. IEs would have have to go and those same developers would challenge any IE restrictions in Court to ensure their interests are foremost on the city council.

So basically, unless there is a way to limit IEs, any candidate with no big money ties would still be screwed.

Anonymous said...

I just learned that the city's planning director, Taro Itchuburu (sorry if my spelling is inaccurate) has resigned his position. Interesting timing and interesting development. I'd love to know what that's all about.

He's a PMC boy recruited to keep the city intertwined with his old employer, our city be damned in the process.

I'm sure he signed a confidentiality clause in his employment contract that precludes him from talking freely, but what tales he could tell.

Not sure if his resignation is related to this project or not, but the speculation could drive this website for the next few weeks.

Connie said...

Taro Echiburu got a great new job with Yolo County. More everything! So we lose another one to them.

Remember Pat Blacklock? He was a great Asst. City Manager for Elk Grove until he got the top job with Yolo County.

Sarah Johnson said...

Sorry to hear that, but good for Taro (and Pat Blacklock), both good guys and better off out of this den of inequity.

Marvin Zindler said...

IE, you are right that the developers already have their committees established and they will use them to sully anyone who does not march to the beat of their drum.

Having said that, I think it is worth an effort. If nothing else, the IE issue can be turned around and used against the council members. Yes, the status quo will probably be maintained at the end, but rolling over is exactly want they want us to do.

Anonymous said...

I have followed at a distance this project as I drive past it everyday on the way to work. We don't need another 785 homes in this area. The traffic is already horrible. I watched the planning meeting on video today and must agree the citizens had some good points about the shortcomings of the project. It seems the planners did not hold the developer to their promises from earlier meetings. The comment from the one commissioner about being the lesser of two evils made me mad. I don't understand what he was talking about. Also if the project doesn't fit, then it should not be allowed. I just hate the politics of the development of our land. I sure hold the councilmembers listen and cut back this project to something more manageable and also to move that park closer to the middle of the homes. I see that park causing trouble with late night pot parties/drinking, etc. No cops are going to be patrolling this area because Eskaton will have such a low call for service rate, that the kids will figure it out that they are scott free messing around in that one will be around to stop them from creating havoc. Any parent could see this trouble coming. Why did EG Police recend the first letter they submitted. I admit I did not follow that conversation in its entirety, but it seem the cops changed their mind about the location (before or after a developer got to the city manager???). I am so disappointed. I feel for those folks who bought their homes with lower densities near them only now to have apartemnst, senior living village and RD 5-7's. Poor planning seems to be the norm around here.

Anonymous said...

Elk Grove is a big steaming unplanned mess.

Just think, Elk Grove can join the ranks of Yuba Sh itty, Stockton, Modesto and Fresno in the "Arm Pits of the Valley" hit parade.

Anonymous said...

It looks to me like Nancy Chaires is and has been a contributer to the jobs to housing imbalance in this city. She will definitely not be getting my vote for city council. Has anybody taken the time to listen to the podcast with city council candidate Daniel Jimenez?

Anonymous said...

Chaires no longer has my vote.

Anonymous said...

Chaires never had my vote. I thought about Ly, but he is just a office-jumper. Don't know enough about Jimenez yet, so he will warrant a closer look.

I think Jeff Owen ought to consider entering the race. It is not to late and anything can happen in a four-way race.

Anonymous said...

I just listened to the Daniel Jimenez podcast interview from last week and he sounds like a viable candidate to me. Definitely worth taking seriously.

Anonymous said...


"The traffic is already horrible."

"Poor planning seems to be the norm around here."

Elk Grove Thriving!


Lynn said...

This evening I had the first chance to listen to the meeting. Now the apartments could be a security threat to wall in the seniors and continue to isolate the apartment dwellers....Deed restriction on the property to non residential and include in the SPA that when a use is determined for the "open space" it needs to come before planning commission. I have witnessed council amend and change SPA's...I am not reassured by this step. The "unprecedented open space" in the northern area was done so for two reasons: whoever developed this parcel would be required to mitigate the vernal pools,wetlands, and habitat that are being destroyed by the housing project. The previous developer chose to mitigate onsite recognizing that building in the northern section had many limitations and basically was not favorable for development. It was a choice by the developer(Centex). The developer could of mitigated all off site. Need more information about this one I will gladly share. I have volumes of information.

Anonymous said...

OK Lynn...Having seen this property could you explain why anyone would want to build on or purchase a home that is built on vernal pools & wetlands. You can do all the infill you want, but in the end Mother Nature will have it's way. That is not even speaking of the traffic problems this will create on Bond. When visiting friends in the area and traveling east on Bond and getting the left turn signal I have to wait to be sure the fast traveling vehicles stops before turning. Plus you have 20+ trains each day. This is one of the worst decisions Planning has made in a long time...even with pressure applied as has been mentioned. What am I missing here...misunderstanding?

Certainly changed my decision on who to vote for in November.

Anonymous said...


Elk Grove - Destination City

"a home that is built on vernal pools & wetlands"

Is the City for real on this one?

Remember that huge sinkhole that ate up a home in Florida?

Elk Grove could become "Home of the world's largest Sinkhole".

Destination City!


Lynn said...

Anonymous 07:47 The answer to the question why? It will happen because buried in the disclosures might be something about vernal pools, wetlands and fill brought in...maybe...with this said it has been my experience that individuals will purchase a property believing home builders and our city leaders would not build or approve a project that could have problems; ie flooding. Look; our city paid to have the fema flood plain for this area changed to benefit the developer. If flooding for this area was not a problem or if the detention basin would handle all the water on this site; answer me this Why is there an "open space" overland release from this detention basin? Which by the way the developer received mitigation credits for this detention basin. And not so nimby I spoke against another project in another area of the city; our council voted to allow a developer to place several homes in flood plain. If one looks at the general plan it does state that building won't occur in the flood plain, however there are some wiggle words that allow the council to make exceptions. You are not misunderstanding or missing anything. IMO; our leaders do not have the best interests of current or future residents when making their decisions. When leaders make decisions based on "lesser of two evils"..we could get this or an unknown in the future. What this says to me; the city continues to make decisions based on Piecemeal Planning and that whatever arrives first...well best we can do...The developers take their money and run....One of the initial developers on this site looks as this as "a piece of dirt to be developed" and also made a comment to the effect "you can't win this we are putting our people in place". Follow the money, follow the greed....If this isn't bad enough; the contract to purchase the property from the owner(San Board) is to be sold for 80% of market value... Furthermore, originally when the permit processing was in motion Centex offered and wrote the permit for the Army Corps. Congressman Lungren and Congressman Doolittle provided letters to Army Corps strongly encouraging the permitting of this project as beneficial for area residents. Really? Who in Elk Grove did Doolittle represent? How many local residents did Lungren reach out to before making his comments? To vote approval based on the "lesser of two evils" or this is the "best we can get" speaks volumes about the leadership in our city and what they think of us all.

Roadrunner said...

Though it has been mentioned marginally in the comments on this thread, what about the environmental effects?

Listen/read this story.

Though not totally related, if I lived in the Sheldon area, I would be concerned about how many straws are going into the ground. Obviously this development will have county water, but it is removing what I have to guess is a recharge zone for wells. As the person above noted, at some time sinkholes could develop. Maybe it will hit a certain elected official's rural house, then what?

Anonymous said...

A that would be something to see.

Anonymous said...

When I drive down Waterman between Bond and Sheldon there is a sign with fruit on it saying Welcome to Elk Grove a Rural Community. This sign is directly across from the land that they are looking to develop. If you were to remove waterman then it would still be considered rural on both sides of the street right? I thought there was an agreement, ordinance or law where the City would not develop on rural land due to the lack of water. i think those rural residents are on well water. Is this true?

Anonymous said...

Having followed this for 3-4 years and certainly not to the extent that Lynn, Sarah and others have, I find the cities decision making on this project very puzzling. Has the almight campaign dollar become so important to them that they base their decisions on that instead of what is best for the people? Where is the state Department of Environmental Protections on this?

How would you like to have a 25-30 year mortgage on your little homestead located there? Scare the heck out of me for sure.

Anonymous said...

It is worth pointing out again that money is at the root of this. No surprise.

It is also worth looking at the lesson of Eric Cantor's defeat yesterday. Even though he has $5 million to his opponents $200,000 or so, he lost.

Obviously money was not what Cantor thought it was and there were a lot of things at work, but the point is just because our current council members have boat loads of cash, doesn't mean they can't be taken down. Or a modestly funded move to get a campaign funding initiative on the ballot.

Love or hate them, there are some lessons that can be learned from the Tea Party. Until someone or a group of people takes the lead on this matter, the council will continue to have their way with Elk Grove resident. We residents are like a abused spouse living in constant fear of our abuser. Until we take a decisive move, the abuse will continue.

Lynn said...

To anonymous 07:42
I appreciate your comment and suggestion. Unfortunately, I don't believe most residents feel abused.

A modestly funded move for campaign funding initiative might work...however, what needs to really happen; people need to know where city hall is and attend a meeting or two.

Or how about this: individual residents begin to walk their neighborhoods and speak with neighbors about the local issues and the impacts. Educate our neighbors!

I was surprised how little people knew about the Sphere of Influence or even what is happening with the South East Policy Area.

Or best yet; traffic here will never be the Elk Grove General Plan "traffic" is an "overriding consideration" because the city needs economic development, homes.... So as often as people would like to have it better...not going to happen. Mitigation at its best.

Anonymous said...

That's a very good analogy Anon 7:42.

I agree w/ most posters here, it looks like a fix is in, only way I can see the PC switch like they did. They're all just prostitutes, for sale to the highest bidder.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...


Your comment on "overriding consideration" on traffic points a more perverse aspect of public financing not only in Elk Grove, but throughout California.

Among the largest category of sales tax revenues for the city are gas stations. The more gas that is purchased, and for that matter the higher the price per gallon, the more money that flows into the city's coffers. The city will never directly address the volume of traffic on our streets because cars are the golden goose egg of municipal financing.

Anonymous said...

I find this "lesser of two evils" thinking to be somewhat interesting given the experience and edu cation of some on the commission. Some would call it "fuzzy logic" - "fallacy of false thinking." Perhaps a good start would have been to listen to what the City Council asked you to do.... consider what the community who will be most affected by this project have presented and more importantly ask the Developer why they didn't bring back the changes Planning had asked for.

Now it goes to the City Council and if they do their duty they will send it back to Planning with a "FIX IT", like we told you directive.

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