Grant Line Road soccer-sport complex in Elk Grove dead? City changes land use from sport complex to light industrial

UPDATED 1:15 p.m.  | 

In a document released yesterday, the City of Elk Grove is seeking to change the land use designation of a planned 99-acre sports complex in an area outside of current city limits.

That 99-acre parcel is part of 561-acre area south of Grant Line Road and east of Highway 99 that the city is seeking to annex into city limits. The parcel, which is the city purchased in 2014, has long been touted by city council members as future soccer and sports complex.

That information was revealed yesterday in the supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for the application. The new report is a supplement to the EIR released in 2018 and approved in 2019.

The report prepared by the city's innovation manager Christopher Jordan said the land is changing from "public open space/recreation would now be designated for light industrial uses." Under light industrial classification, the land could be used for "low to medium intensity uses that involve the manufacture, fabrication, assembly, or processing of primarily finished materials."

Since the parcel was purchased, the city has leased it and collected nominal annual fees for various agricultural uses. Former Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis led the charge to acquire the land at a premium.

Davis, along with former California Assembly Speaker Fabia Nunez, who was retained by the city, touted the purchase as a potential Major League Soccer expansion franchise site. MLS representatives visited the site as part of a Sacramento area tour, but it was never seriously considered as a viable location.

Following the acquisition of the parcel, the city sought to annex it into city limits through the sphere of influence process with the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission Sacramento (LAFCo), which has jurisdiction over the procedure. After the city started the process, LAFCo encouraged the city to include land immediately adjacent to the east and the west of the parcel to Highway 99 in the application.

With the elimination of the sports complex destination, there are 64-acres in the entire area retaining the park-open space designation. Given that area is located along the Deer Creek watershed, it is unlikely to be used for sports facilities. 

Jordan's report notes that the city could still use the light industrial classification to develop a sports park, but it would require a conditional use permit. Along with the sports complex, there had been discussion that a portion of the city-owned parcel for the Sacramento County Fair but was not addressed in the document.

According to Jordan, the decision to change the designation came from instructions of the city council during their March 11 regular meeting regarding surplus properties owned by the city. The decision to make the designation as light industrial was based on discussions between himself, city manager Jason Behrmann and members of the city's planning department.  

As part of the proposed development of the sports and soccer complex, the city has long highlighted its high rate of youth soccer participation and the economic benefit it would derive from hosting tournaments as justifications for a project that under various scenarios would cost anywhere from $40 to $120 million. City leaders also suggested the sports complex could be used as future MLS' Sacramento Republic's FC practice facility.

After these rosy projections, Elk Grove has stumbled with cost overruns, and opening delays of its litigation plagued District56 aquatics center, and never adequately identified how it might pay for construction of the complex. Additionally, like other municipalities, Elk Grove is facing decreased revenue decreases amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession. 

Kyle Crist, president of the Elk Grove-based IR Academy competitive youth soccer organization, said he was not surprised by the city's withdrawal from its initial plans. He noted he first heard the city was backing away from its plans two years ago.

"It was something I knew was coming down the pike for a while so it doesn't surprise me," Crist said. "Unfortunately, the urban sprawl in Elk Grove is just going to continue to be out of control, and it is unfortunate." 

The five members of the Elk Grove City Council were emailed seeking comment on whether they support the change of the land use designation of the city-owned property and if they still support the pursuit of the facilities. None have responded as of the posting of this story.  

The comment period of the document is open until August 19.

UPDATE 1:15 p.m.

Subsequent to posting Mr. Jordan explained how the decision was derived to change the land use designation to light industrial. 

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2020. All right reserved.


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D.J. Blutarsky said...

Taxpayers paid $4.4 million dollars for a surplus pipe dream!

At first Elk Grove was gonna be a "sports mecca" and steal away the soccer franchise from Sacramento. Then we were gonna have Olympic Swim trials at the Aquatic Center, but scratch the high dive.

Then we were gonna be the High Tech mecca but the Fremont, CA bottom-tier circuit board maker never came; then we were gonna be the medical mecca but we will know more after the election season; then we were gonna be the brew-pub mecca and are throwing all kinds of money into Old Town (for which most Laguna residents have never visited); but we did become the tortilla mecca when Mi Rancho opened its tortilla factory.

What next? I noticed we are negotiating to buy the Rite Aid building on Waterman/EG Blvd. A new mecca in the works or another surplus property!

Neo Elk Grove said...

Yet another failed scheme in Elk Grove. Let's see, we had the ghost mall, the tourism hub, the tech mecca, the cracked swimming pool and now the alfalfa filled soccer fields.

Oh yes, not long from how we can add the CNU deal, and who knows, maybe even the casino. What a crummy track record.

John Hull said...

This was supposed to be the answer not just for soccer, but a facility for baseball, too, for I wrote in the Citizen the likelihood it could be the home of a small baseball stadium for our city is way overdue for that, too.

Perhaps we lack the leadership to get innovative ideas accomplished!

Steve L said...

I recall like it was yesterday, all those kids, parents, coaches, fans all crammed into the council chambers so anxious and excited to hear about the state-of-the-art competition soccer and sports field project to be built on this site. So many promises to our kids, who were giddy with the prospect of playing on lighted turf fields as their parents watched in covered bleachers. Players would appear from their locker rooms, walk past the concessions stand and vendors, their cleats clapping over the concrete walkway that led to the field.
But alas, just another EG pipe dream, a dream that never got a step toward fruition past the date of that meeting. Hopefully, all those parents, coaches and fans will remember those failed promises in November and place people in power that won't break the hearts of our kids.
- This is a despicable way treat our the kids, but business as usual for those who watch the council with any regularity. So sad, but so expected, just surprised the land wasn't re-zoned for high density housing.

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