Is Elk Grove's Soccer Field Annexation Nothing More Than a Rooftop-Filled Trojan Horse?

November 15, 2015 |

On Thursday night, the City of Elk Grove held an environmental impact report (EIR) scoping meeting regarding the city's application to annex the 99-acres it purchased for soccer fields and stadium.

Conducting the meeting were Elk Grove Assistant City Manager of Special Projects Christopher Jordan, Sacramento Local Agency Formation (LAFCo) Commission Executive Director Peter Brundage, and consultant Peter Boucher of the firm AECOM. These meetings are required whenever a municipality hopes to annex an area into their city limits.

Although there were only eight or nine Elk Grove and Wilton residents in attendance, Brundage, Boucher and Jordan heard an earful of questions and pointed comments. Although the trio skirted most of the questions and comments, there was one answer that ought to make Elk Grove and Wilton residents take note. We'll get to that shortly.

First there were questions and comments regarding Sacramento LAFCo commissioners decision to expand the application to 597-acres. Why did they find it necessary to expand it?

The one question Brundage squarely answered was about rezoning. In the current application, the acreage is zoned for the soccer fields and a stadium, commercial, and industrial.

Brundage said that after the city has completed the administrative process and annexation, they are under no obligation to follow the zoning submitted in its application. Aside from doing a revised EIR, the Elk Grove City Council is free to rezone as they see fit.

Which brings us to the proposed soccer field, stadium and county fair site.

As we have already seen, Roseville is proceeding with its plans for a competing soccer facility that could be in operation within two years. With far more hotel rooms, entertainment venues, restaurants, high-end shopping and other visitor amenities, Roseville will have a great competitive advantage in attracting the all important soccer tournaments that fund such facilities.

Perhaps in three or four years the Elk Grove City Council will come to the "realization" that the plan is not financially viable - after all they still are trying to figure out how to finance the $45+ million facility price tag - abandon the plan, and sell the parcel for a tidy little profit. 
Elk Grove Soccer Stadium
As this map illustrates, in 2004 developers were already eyeing development of single family residential units in a portion of what is now included in the 2015 City of Elk Grove annexation application with the Sacramento LAFCo. Click to enlarge for details.

Of course the city could slap some hefty Mello-Roos fees on every new house being built, or, receive an honorarium from one of the developers that stand to make hundred-of-millions on rezones from transforming the industrial parcels into anything from RD-7's to RD-30's.

Hey, a soccer field and stadium named after a John Reynen or Christo Bardis has a nice ring to it. A great way for either of these two or any of the other developers profiting off of Elk Grove to mark their turf as it were. 

With or without the soccer fields, Brundage, Boucher and Jordan heard the skepticism about the actions of the Elk Grove City Council from people who follow such matters. Of course from the perspective of all the council members, if they can continue to fool most of the other people in Elk Grove all of the time, things will work out for them and the developers so it's all good.

As a side memo to the current property owners along Grant Line Road: if you want to maximize your returns on your land like your neighbor Bob Lent did several years ago, don't accept any options on your holdings. Just wait until the rezones are done and you will profit even more. 

So as the annexation of the 597-acres in the proposed soccer field-stadium area along Grant Line Road proceeds, based on the numerous bait-and-switches the Elk Grove City Council has perpetrated on behalf of the developers, it is improbable the city will stay with the industrial designation and will happily rezone to retail and at the appropriate time. 

The developers don't give the big bucks to Mayor Gary Davis, Vice Mayor Pat Hume and City Council Members Steve Detrick, Steve Ly and Darren Suen just because they are good buddies, do they?

It is our view that from the start, this whole process is designed to transform the entire area from farmland to more houses. This plan is nothing more than a Trojan Horse filled with more rooftops.

The 2015 map of the land that the City of Elk Grove hopes to annex includes the Mosher Ranch.Click to enlarge. 

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Grover said...

I hope you are wrong about all this because my employment depends on sporting events!

Charles Lindbergh said...

Let's not forget how the airstrip was pushed out either.

Laguna Pete said...

The city and its electeds just can't be honest with either LAFCO or their citizens.
Everyone knows these parcels submitted as "industrial" will all become RD7, 11, and 30 once this land is annexed. - That's what will make these landowners and the developers the most money, and money makes the world go round.
- Just be honest for a change. We really aren't all that stupid.
I seriously doubt that this sports field facility will EVER get built, but the promise of it is useful for the next voting cycle.

Anonymous said...


Bring on the rooftops.

Bring on the crime.

Why do they want allow for the construction of more homes?

This city is full of residents most of whom can't find decent paying jobs in Elk Grove.

The council says that the business developers asked for rooftops.

Well there are already enough rooftops to house 160,000 people in Elk Grove.

What is with this penchant for building?

The reason that the Laguna area is going to pot is that the homeowners in that area move to the new subdivisions as opposed to staying and taking care of their homes.

Look at Antelope. That area went to the dogs when Rocklin, Lincoln and West Roseville were being developed.

Give people a chance to flee the gangbangers, car burglars, house burglars and they will.

Just like Los Angeles. They kept building and the older established areas became ghettos and barrios.

Elk Grove, the new Stockton.

But hey, at least Stockton has a workforce that goes beyond low paying retail and food service.


Proud to be led said...

No offense, but some of the EGN commentators remind me of the Flat Earth Society. If our leaders say one thing, then the commentators automatically believe they are lying to us and that there is a conspiracy to deceive them.

Our city leaders have a long track record of delivering on what they promise. The Mayor told Howard Hughes to come clean on their mall tenants, and the next day they announced we are getting a theater! Hume got us a connector highway to relieve traffic congestion. Detrick has been mentoring our council members so they can become better leaders. Ly is going to help our schools, and Suen is raising cash for reelection so he can begin to make a positive impact. I think our future is in good hands!

Anonymous said...

You're most likely correct Proud to be led. I see Elk Grove as Sacramento Counties little Dubia with stadiums housing the Olympics and MLS, SEPA with homes for the executives and commercial as far as the eye can see. With world-class shopping, tourism and magnificent tailored destinations. The only difference will be a Casino also within a rocks throw.

As you can see the city is much too busy with those grandiose plans to remember to notify the community of this meeting last Thursday and that the deadline for the 30 day public comment on the EIR ends November 23rd.

Connie said...

EGN, for argument’s sake, let’s say your hypothesis is true. Who is the mastermind behind this scheme? I believe it would have to be at least one or two council members in conjunction with a high-level staff member. And of course, there would have to be outside pressure from the deep pockets as well.

Given the city’s defeat at LAFCo regarding the last SOI application, could a piecemeal plan have been put into play? A reasonable assumption given the city’s history of piecemeal planning. The first step would be to get land just outside the city limits which would be the perfect parcel to annex in that would get no resistance from LAFCo. Seems the Council did just that.

A case also could be made that the money was never going to be there for the $45 - $110 million dollar soccer complex given the fact that the city had to borrow money to purchase the last in the first place. So why buy something you can’t afford in the first place if there isn’t really another surreptitious use for it?

And here is what I believe we will be told if your “Trojan Horse Theory” is correct and where I do believe a Plan B Catch 22 could already be in place. Unless there is one among them who has the integrity to speak the truth, I believe whomever the “mastermind(s) is,” will simply say, especially if the sales tax increase never sees the light of day, “Well people of Elk Grove, we tried to build the soccer complex but there is simply no money. The Council needs to recoup “your money” so we are going to rezone the land and sell it.”

Too farfetched? A brief look at the Council’s history will tell us, “No.”

Warren Buffett said...

Assuming the theory of this story is does one prevent this from happening? Surely, continued empty city council chambers are not the way to bring about action. If the land gets rezoned regardless of whether the sales tax passes or not, then waiting to take action at the ballot box is not a viable strategy either. And if the old adage, follow the money, is at play, how do you beat money?

Anonymous said...

Connie ~ I think your plan B will be exactly what happens. It won't be intentional or part of a scheme but will be the end result. The city ends up selling the property at a profit but this area or parts will be rezoned for housing.

After all Mr. Hume is always telling us we need rooftops in order to pay for infrastructure so we can attract jobs. See SEPA and the Souza Dairy project as an example.

Anonymous said...

Our City Council and Manager are engaging in trickery without full disclosure to Elk Grove residents. This meeting was never announced at council meetings or on the cities web site. Obviously the reason for the low turn out.

EGN....would it be possible to post a copy of the City of Elk Grove, October 23rd letter that I understand was handed out after the meeting. I was told by someone who attended they had to ask for any available information, maps, etc. and then were supplied with them.

Anonymous said...

Our City Council and Manager are engaging in trickery without full disclosure to Elk Grove residents. This meeting was never announced at council meetings or on the cities web site. Obviously the reason for the low turn out.

EGN....would it be possible to post a copy of the City of Elk Grove, October 23rd letter that I understand was handed out after the meeting. I was told by someone who attended they had to ask for any available information, maps, etc. and then were supplied with them.

June LaVine said...

OK, so they throw good money after bad trying to get a way to build their soccer fields, etc., as well as the Aquatics Center. We knew it was insane to approve an additional $500,000 to find a way to fund the soccer stadium. Did they really think that stacking more money on top of a really bad idea all of a sudden would make it a good idea? Do you suppose they really didn't know about the Southgate project? One mile away? Oh, and by the way, Roseville is building a competing soccer facility! Who Knew!

Please, please, for once, do the right thing.

Build an animal shelter (don't tell me we don't need one), a veterans hall and a senior center. All three working together could really make a difference in our community if we really care about people and pets.

Face it, three out of five is not bad!

Elk Grove News said...

We will attempt to post them later this evening or tomorrow. It appears that as of this evening, the meeting was posted on the city's calendar of events.

Anonymous said...

Just a reminder that the airport was pushed out by the County, not the City.

Anonymous said...

Yes Ms.LaVine, we need many things and at the present time there are so many projects in the hopper with no indication from our city where any of them stand in being completed. We are speaking of millions of dollars and obviously monies are not available to complete them all. What is their priority at this time? Obviously have to go underground to find out their next trick move. Maybe we can ask the councils mentor.

Lynn said...

City Council has their own agenda and not that of the people..oops yes, it has been of the people, swimmers, soccer players.....I look at it as a "plan of the month" and as they approve all the spending on the "plan of the month" and spending our monies...well now what is coming forth? A sales tax increase. Of course most homeowners do not pay much attention to their property tax bill to see the council improves increases of assessments.
Council members please some with this temporary "plan of the month" minus honest discussions of where is the money.

The council members are puppets of region developers who keep them in office by funding campaigns. I once asked a developer after looking at his site plan which home he was going to live in. The response "I am not going to live there".

Follow the money! One council member said we have to have homes first, jobs come second. That worked well the first time. Right? So lets repeat it again with SEPA and now this SOI property.

I remember when Hewlett Packard went out to Roseville....No homes there....well imagine a business coming first and homes second. It worked for them and the city has so many amenities...etc....
Let's be honest here in Elk Grove it is...all about greed for a few.

Grover said...

If 20 people come to the next Council meeting and speak for 3 minutes each on this, we could grab 60 minutes of democracy!

Anonymous said...

If we don't watch out and the developers keep slapping up stucco boxes on postage stamp lots, Elk Grove could become a sprawling suburban arm pit like Palmdale; dumpy neighborhoods with Section 8 on the east and high end neighborhoods on the west seperated by the railroad tracks along Franklin (just like Interstate 14 cuts west Palmdale off from the rest of the city.

Anonymous said...

This makes total sense when you realize Elk Grove has ZERO chance of ever getting a professional soccer team or stadium now that Sacramento is building a new stadium for the Republic at the RR depot.

But then again... This soccer field/stadium fiasco is a legacy project to fill the ego's of the heads of EGYSL.

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