Tiny Homes in Elk Grove - The Politics Of One Possible Site

November 13, 2017 | 

During the Wednesday, November 8 meeting of the Elk Grove City Council, there was a surprising expressed interest presented by Elk Grove resident and smart land planning advocate Lynn Wheat. That idea - to use a portion of a $5 million grant from the State of California to explore the use of tiny homes as part of the solution to address homelessness in the city.

As equally surprising, especially for longtime Elk Grove political observers, was the city council member who advocated for Wheat's suggestion - Pat Hume. By the end of that meeting, Hume had convinced his colleagues to set aside $1 million to explore Wheat's suggestion.  

Wheat suggested looking at the 16.25-acre parcel on the northeast corner of Sheldon and Power Inn roads for the location of a tiny homes-type village. While Hume did not comment on that site, which readers will recall at one point in time developers were pushing for a Walmart Supercenter there, he did mention a possible site on church property.

During his discussion of that possible property during the council meeting, Hume started thinking out loud. He seemingly realized it was not a good idea to reveal the location of the site based on real property negotiations considerations.   

Nonetheless, there is a site of a former church in Elk Grove that might be worth considering. That would be the old site of the Elk Grove Church of Christ on the southwest corner of Sheldon Road and East Stockton Boulevard.

That congregation's structure was torn down on March 23 and the lot is currently vacant. While the status of ownership is not known, there is a for sale sign posted there, and much like Wheat's reasoning for the site about a half-mile away on Sheldon Road, there are benefits of locating a tiny home community here. 

Click to enlarge. 

The site, which according to measurements obtained by Google Map, is 1.71-acres. Also based on Google maps, the location is a 10-minute walk from Roy Herburger Elementary School, which is helpful for families that could take residence in the village.

Also, as Wheat pointed out, there are eTran bus lines located on Sheldon Road that can take passengers to Consumnes River College for classes, and connect to Sacramento Regional Transit's light rail network. There is grocery shopping nearby and for older students, Monterey Trails High School and Edward Harris Middles school about a 15-minute walk. 

While the logistic of the site makes it worthy of consideration, the elephant in the room will be neighborhood reaction and the political calculus of the Elk Grove City Council. 

Undoubtedly any village that has homelessness associated with it will be met pushback. Although many advocates prefer a village of tiny home to be integrated into neighborhoods from a sociological perspective, the location of this site - near neighborhoods, but not entirely embedded, might make it an easier sell.

One of the older ag-residential homes on Sheldon Road just east of the site is currently for sale and the sign posted in front says it is a 20,000 square foot, or a one-half-acre lot zoned for commercial use. 

For the Elk Grove City Council, there are already two members who have come out in support. In addition to Hume's advocacy, Stephanie Nguyen has signaled her support of the idea saying based on her tour of a similar community in Austin, Texas, she would welcome one in her neighborhood.    

The most resistance to this location would likely come from Vice Mayor Steve Detrick. People will recall it was Detrick's participation in blocking the development of the Sheldon Road Walmart Supercenter across the street from his Shortline Lake residence that was the genesis of his political career.  

Given that Detrick lives more than 500-feet from the suggested site, he would not have to recuse himself from voting on it should it come before the council. However, would he vote against this solely on parochial interests or come up with some credible opposition, and could he convince Mayor Steve Ly and Council Member Darren Suen to oppose this location?

Regardless of the location of any possible tiny home village, if Hume and Nguyen make good on their recent willingness to pursue the idea, will they be able to get one other council member to go along with the proposition? That support will only come with a willingness for Ly and Suen to join Hume and Nguyen, and that, of course, will be based on where the village will be located. 

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

A tiny home community for the homeless has about as much chance of being built on the 'Detrick property' as Jerry Brown moving to Chernobyl when he retires!

Eye on Elk Grove said...

Too bad the camera wasn't on Steve Detrick when Lynn Wheat made her excellent suggestion. Can't imagine Detrick would want "those kind of people" living anywhere near him and his gated community much like the people who tend to shop at Walmart.

Let's not forget about Detrick's comments on the record about the new Elk Grove Costco and what he expects in both clientele and goods after his negative comments about both concerning the Costco in South Sacramento.

Is Detrick a self-serving elitist?

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