Extensive public comment expected for the Elk Grove City Council on Oak Rose project, winter homeless shelter

Even though the agenda for the Wednesday night Elk Grove City Council meeting is relatively light, the five-member body led by Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen can expect to hear several impassioned pleas as they conduct two controversial hearings.

The two controversial issues are the reconsideration of the Oak Rose supportive housing project and a temporary homeless shelter. The projects are located next to one another on Elk Grove Boulevard in Old Town-Historic Downtown Elk Grove.

The Elk Grove City Council first heard the Oak Rose supportive housing project in July 2022. Under pressure from District 2 residents, Singh-Allen and her city council unanimously rejected the project.

That rejection, however, initiated a lawsuit against the city by California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Gov. Gavin Newsom. The lawsuit asserts the city violated fair housing laws by rejecting the 66-unit project, claiming it violated the Old Town special planning area, but approved a nearby market-rate mixed-use project exempted from the same requirements. 

In their press releases on the lawsuit, the city has tried to shift attention away by highlighting the affordable apartments approved by the city. Also, the city claims it has tried to work with the applicants to find an alternate site for the project. 

The city has said project proponents Oak Rose L.P. rejected various undisclosed alternate sites. Given the proponents have the full weight of the state of California backing them, they undoubtedly operated from a powerful position and could rebuff the city.

The hearing following the Oak Rose project is expected to generate substantial opposition from District 2 residents. This will be the first hearing on the city's plan to temporarily use the future site of the Elk Grove Library as a homeless shelter this coming winter.

The homeless shelter will be housed in the former Rite Aid drug store on the southwest corner of Elk Grove Boulevard and Waterman Road. The city purchased the former retail site to facilitate the relocation of the Elk Grove Library. 

According to the staff report, the facility will operate 24 hours daily from November 1, 2023, until March 31, 2023 at the cost of $683,025. The city will contract with Roseville, Calif.-based The Gathering Inn to operate the Enhanced Winter Sanctuary for 30 adult clients. 

As noted in the report, "Having available shelter options provides compassionate care to those who need it most, and it increases the effectiveness of the Elk Grove Police Department in addressing homelessness because it increases the ability to cite people for unlawful camping on public property if they choose not to accept shelter despite shelter and a bed being readily available."

Wednesday's city hall meeting starts at 6 p.m.




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