From Elk Grove's rural District 2 to Sac County's Ag District 5 - Thoughts living 'rent free' in the mind of Supervisor Pat Hume

Maybe it was the razor-thin margin of victory in the 2022 election, or perhaps he genuinely wants to reach out to constituents. Regardless, District 5 Supervisor Pat Hume has communicated more since taking office a little more than a year ago on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors than he did in his 16 years as an Elk Grove City Councilmember. 

As part of that outreach, Hume has distributed a monthly email newsletter to constituents. Not surprisingly, the newsletter paints a picture of the supervisor handling the people's business.

Occasionally, however, there are revealing nuggets of information in these newsletters. Hume's March newsletter contained such nuggets, and both involved the agricultural areas of District 5. 

Hume noted that in District 5, there is a five-acre rooster operation adjacent to smaller parcels. Presumably, the rooster operation is on an agricultural-residential 5-acre or larger parcel, and the adjacent parcels have a smaller designation.  

Hume's newsletter said, "Can anyone tell me a legitimate reason one would need to raise literally hundreds of roosters? I certainly can't. I'm not a biologist, but I know how many roosters it takes to keep a healthy flock of chickens. Unfortunately, our code addresses crowing fowl for smaller residential parcels, but it does not specifically speak to this use within the permitted 'General Agricultural Issues.'"

For those who have observed Hume while on the Elk Grove City Council, had this been in a meeting, he would have used any of his hundreds of idiomatic expressions, such as a rooster in a henhouse. But we digress.  

The other issue Hume discussed is the expansion of a commercial agricultural operations that nearby residents find objectionable.  

Supervisor Hume notes, "Again, the use is called out as permitted generally as a primary use given the agricultural zoning of the parcel, but I can't imagine the framers anticipated the incompatibility of such a use on what is essentially an industrial scale. In this instance, a code amendment is probably an insufficient work-around, and so I will have to work with the property owner for some sort of attenuation to minimize the impact."

For Hume, the differences between Elk Grove's District 2 and Sacramento's District 5 are stark. Elk Grove's District 2 is rural, consisting mostly of estate residential units with little if any, significant agricultural operations.

The most significant issues in Elk Grove's rural District 2 are usually water flow, especially following rainstorms, from one parcel to another, or traffic. Hume notes that District 5 has agricultural operations on an "industrial scale." 

While District 5 has mostly avoided the overwhelming homelessness problems in the county's other four districts, it is the only one facing these agricultural versus rural conflicts. It will be noteworthy to monitor the estate ruralization of District 5 and the reaction of industrial agricultural operators. 

If history has shown us anything, political donations will be the deciding factor. Will developers seeking to build more rural high-cost estate-style housing units along the Southeast Connector corridor, or will industrial agricultural operators pour more money into Hume's campaign coffers?  

Nonetheless, Hume's comment that "My intent was to provide a glimpse of the types of things that live rent free in my head, even when I'm not in the office" should be appreciated as a moment of candor - something rare for our local elected officials. 
Photo by Meo via Pexels.

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