Five Thumbs Way-Up! Elk Grove City Council Approves Souza Dairy Project

August 13, 2015 | Citing its importance in remedying the city's well-documented job to housing imbalance, the Elk Grove City Cou...

August 13, 2015 |

Citing its importance in remedying the city's well-documented job to housing imbalance, the Elk Grove City Council approved a 1,100 housing unit development at a special meeting last night.  

That subdivision, the 375-acre Souza Dairy Project, is the first major development approved within Elk Grove's so-called 1,200-acre Southeast Policy Area (SEPA). As the city's last major undeveloped  area within current city limits, the SEPA area has been presented as job magnet for Elk Grove.

During their deliberations, city council members emphasized the importance of establishing infrastructure derived from the establishment of residential neighborhoods to help attract employers to the area. Of the 375-acres in the project area, approximately 183-acres will be used for residential parcels are varying densities, 45-acres for multi-family housing of varying densities, 29-acres for parks, 25-acres for the so-called village center mixed use area, and 12-acres for offices.

Mayor Gary Davis also claimed that the number of jobs-to homes in the entire project area is in equilibrium  - something he said has never happened in Elk Grove planning. 

"The jobs to housing balance on this project is one-to-one," he said. "That far exceeds any project this city has approved."

Council Member Darren Suen said that while Elk Grove residents have been clamoring for jobs to come first, he opined that the residential component was needed to fund the infrastructure to attract employers. Suen noted the project and its point person, Gerry Kamilos, is willing to incur substantial short-term debt to fund the infrastructure, something employers are not generally willing to do. 

"I know there has been some criticism that rooftops will come before the jobs," Suen said. " But if you look at how infrastructure gets put into place, we don't have an employer here ready to take a portion of the $40 million it would take to serve that parcel."

Suen also said that it would be more attractive to employers and ease traffic flow to locate on the southern end of the SEPA, closer to the proposed Kammerer Road and Southeast Connector roadways.  

"It is easy to say, 'hey we want jobs first,'" he said. "But you have to look at the full picture and where it is situated today, is the best situation we have - a jobs center that is adjacent to a major thoroughfare and eventually a travel corridor where visibility for employers which they generally like."

In approving the project, the council agreed to a 20-year development agreement and adoption of the community facilities districts, more commonly known as Mello Roos assessments, that are in place for Elk Grove's Laguna Ridge planning area. The Mello Roos districts in Laguna Ridge include an assessment for a variety of projects under consideration by the council, including the city's aquatics center.   

Although some members of the council praised the project before they even voted for its approval, it was not without its critics. Notable among the critics was Robert Burness, of the Environmental Council of Sacramento. A former senior planner with Sacramento County with over 30-years experience, Burness was the county's senior planner for Elk Grove prior to its 2000 incorporation.    

Burness said that the practice of building homes in hopes of attracting employers has proven to be a failure in Elk Grove and the council's actions are doing nothing more than contributing to further sprawl. Furthermore, he said experience has shown that the jobs that come are low-paying service jobs.

"You appear to be giving up whatever leverage you may have in helping to ensure a better jobs to housing imbalance," he said.    


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In awe of our local leadership said...

Quote of the evening:

Mayor: Your 3 minutes are up Mr. Burness.

Burness: Since I am the only one here tonight to speak, I hope I can have more than 3 minutes?

Mayor: Wrap it up Mr. Burness...

Anonymous said...

And Hume trying to weasel out of his past rooftops comment.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the Laguna Ridge Specific Plan of June 2004, consisting of 1,900± acres, 5,887 single family homes and 1,800 multi-family or medium density units for a total of 7,767 dwelling units, and approximately 265 acres of commercial, office and civic uses. It also includes approximately 165 acres for parks, 70 acres of paseos & open space, and 100 acres for schools. This is 11 years has that worked out for us?

I think the author is just confused. said...

Last night’s action did not authorize or approve a new CFD. The DA simply retains the possibility that CFD may be later established.

Here is an excerpt from page 24 of the staff report explaining this point:

The construction of new development infrastructure is typically financed
through a combination of development impact fee programs (paid by
developers) and direct developer funding. Through the Development
Agreement, the Applicant has retained a right to establish a Mello-Roos
Community Facilities District (CFD) as a mechanism to established land secured
financing for various improvements. Should the Applicant decide
to pursue the establishment of a CFD, subsequent City Council action will
be required.

Section 9 of the DA addresses the developer’s option to petition the city for a new CFD.

The conditions of approval do require the applicant to annex into existing landscape and police maintenance CFD’s, and a street maintenance assessment district. (COA’s 20-22, 34-36). But, those are different and existing districts. The City Council did not approve a new infrastructure CFD last night. That would come later, if at all.

Elk Grove News said...

Re: I think the author is just confused - Thank you for clarifying that point.

Anonymous said...

"Citing its importance in remedying the city's well-documented job to housing imbalance, the Elk Grove City Council approved a 1,100 housing unit development at a special meeting last night."

How does building more houses remedy the job / housing imbalance?

Elk Grove is starting to look like a steaming dumpster fire of a suburban ghetto in the making.

Look at the more established neighborhoods.

Brown lawns, graffiti, old cars, boats in the driveway....



Can anyone say "Mack Road" or "Power Inn Road? two steaming suburban dumpster piles of starter homes.

We don't need more subdivisions filled with cheaply built tract homes sited on postage stamp sized lots.


WE NEED BUSINESS PARKS and good paying jobs.

Not more retail and fast food jobs.

Based on the article, looks like:

More sprawl.

Less water for current residents during a horrendous drought.

More traffic.

More crime.

More fast food joints and strip centers.

Might as well become the sister city of some city in Pakistan.

Elk Grove is becoming such a dump that no city in Japan, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand, etc. would want to become a sister city of Elk Grove.​

Anonymous said...

"The jobs to housing balance on this project is one-to-one," he said. "That far exceeds any project this city has approved."

Big whoop de doo!

The job / housing imbalance is so out of kilter even with the token number of jobs that MIGHT be created at the project site.

Elk Grove will become a crime ridden dump because parents have to drive out of town to get decent paying jobs, leaving their "precious little snowflakes" an opportunity to wreak havoc in their absence.

Connie said...

I think the Council backed off discussing, or even approving, a Mello Roos, or what is also referred to as a CFD (Community Facilities District) because early on in the discussion Pat Hume asked about funding for the Southeast Connector. City Attorney Jon Hobbs recommended that the Council resolve that funding issue now rather than later.

The public really needs to be educated here because people hear CFD and they think CSD; thinking they are funding their local parks. Additionally, the Council deliberates in acronyms, which isn’t right, because it is confusing. I heard “DA” and “CFD” several times during the meeting. DA to most is “district attorney!”

With that, city staff will have to go back to the developers and start negotiating the Connector tax, most likely yet another Mello Roos. Good Lord, how many will there be?

And here’s where the rest of us who have already purchased our homes are fortunate, the Council can’t go back and slap us with any CFDs.
Unfortunately, the new home buyers are out of luck! By the looks of it, they might be Mello Roos’ed to death!

Anonymous said...

Our motto has always been "Build it and they will come", but will they come back? We hear of land being set aside for commercial in the SEPA and never what the cities plans are for that commercial property. It would seem to me an important step is being missed and should be addressed sooner rather than later. Housing needs to be planned around this commercial property so that transportation needs, shopping, entertainment, etc. are being met. Acreage set aside for parks and a school may be good, but Laguna Ridge has been waiting for theirs..what, 11 years?

I was just reading the catalog about the new medical school here in EG and the only mention of EG was the location. The rest took you to I-5 and 5 minutes to Sacramento and all the benefits that would await you there. How did that happen? City too busy working on some fundraiser to be bothered.

Am I missing something here....have I misunderstood what I'm reading and hearing? Hopefully that is the case.

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