Despite coordinated opposition led by former council member, Planning Commission approves rezone in Elk Grove's District 3

Last night by a 4 -1 vote, the Elk Grove Planning Commission approved the rezoning of one of the largest undeveloped parcels remaining in City Council District 3.

The 19-acre parcel on the northeast corner of Sheldon and Power Inn roads had been zoned for commercial uses and is owned by Angelo G. Tsakopoulos. With the planning commission votes, the parcel is one step away from being rezoned for single-family dwellings when it appears before the Elk Grove City Council at a future meeting.

While much of the land surrounding the lot has been fully developed into single-family dwellings, it had remained undeveloped. In his discussion of the parcel, the owner's attorney Matt Keasling traced over 30 years of the parcel's history identified initially as a site for a Bel Air grocery store, followed by a Walmart Super Center. 

Keasling also noted the effects of the Great Recession, where development came to a halt, and the COVID-19 pandemic that has changed retailing. He added there were not enough households to support another grocer or large-scale retailer.

"Angelo [Tsakopoulos] decided after thinking about this long and hard it was time to do something with this site and help finish off this neighborhood, and it wasn't going to be commercial," Keasling said.

Among speakers during public comment was former District 3 Elk Grove City Councilmember Steve Detrick, who organized opposition to the rezoning request. Detrick said the zoning of up to seven dwellings per acre was incompatible with the surrounding neighborhoods, including his Shortline Lake gated community which is directly south of the parcel, and said the development should have a homeowners association.

"Also, there is not an affordable homeowners association that would be involved with this project, so the C, C and R's [CC&Rs] would be paper tigers," he said. 

Speaking in favor of the project was smart growth advocate Lynn Wheat. In her comments, Wheat noted the development could help ease the housing shortage and said concerns about the traffic expressed in submitted comments were unfounded based on promises made during last year's mayoral campaign. 

"As far as our concerns about traffic, I know our mayor [Bobbie Singh-Allen], and I have a lot of confidence in our mayor, has a five-point traffic plan, so those issues will be addressed," Wheat stated. 

Based on outside input, the applicant modified their original map and added a bike and walking path on the development's northside allowing for easier access to nearby parks. The subdivision, tentatively named Sheldon Grove, will have 123 single-family dwellings at a concentration of 6.2 houses per acre.    

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