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City Council approves Village 5

Mayor Nader votes no
By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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Despite public concerns regarding public safety and the future of agriculture, Lincoln City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night to approve a 4,787-acre project near the Lincoln Airport.

Newly sworn-in Mayor Stan Nader cast the lone no vote against Village 5. Nader was sworn in Tuesday night as the incoming mayor of Lincoln. The position rotates among the council members each year.

The project is bordered by Nicolaus Road on the north, Nelson Lane on the east and Moore Road on the south.

Plans for Village 5, a Richland Communities development, include an expected 8,206 homes, 4.5 million-square feet of commercial and retail, and a 71-acre soccer complex with 12 fields. Plans for the development also call for two fire stations and five schools; three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.

The council discussed the project during a nearly four-hour meeting Dec. 5 and then again for more than two hours Tuesday night. Whether public comment would be allowed during the Village 5 presentation took a few minutes to sort out between the council and out-going interim city attorney Bruce Cline. Although Cline advised against allowing public comment on the project because the council had closed the public hearing Dec. 5, Nader and the rest of the council allowed it.

And, although the project includes a regulation designed to protect agriculture operations on land within the development, called an agriculture overlay; many rural Lincoln residents were concerned about the future of their farming operations and asked to be left out of a proposed annexation into the city limits. An application for annexation of the land is expected to be presented to the Placer County Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) early next year.

Nader, who comes from a family with a farming tradition, seemed sympathetic to the concerns of the Scheiber family and other rural residents who live within the Village5 area.

“A large number of people tonight have asked to not be included,” Nader said. “I’m uncomfortable making people do things they don’t want done to them.”

Albert Scheiber, a rural Lincoln resident and farmer, said he would like to be left out of the project area.

“We spent two hours with city staff yesterday and there was no resolution to our problems or concerns; it was just ‘Let’s get our experts in here and show you where you’re wrong,’” Scheiber said Tuesday night. “I think Richland has their thumb on staff.”

Resident Trudi Nielson said the city is not prepared to handle public safety in the Village 5 area if the land is successfully annexed.

“It’s the cart before the horse,” Nielson said. “We have fewer sworn officers than Auburn, which is a fourth of the size of Lincoln. We should have 72 officers now.”

Lincoln Police Chief Doug Lee, responding to a question from Lincoln Planning Commissioner Dan Cross, confirmed that his department has 21 sworn employees.

Rocky Green, Lincoln Regional Aviation Association president, was concerned about pilot and resident safety due to Village 5’s close proximity to the take-off and landing approach to the Lincoln Airport.

“The airport, one of the largest non-towered airports in northern California, is across the street,” Green said. “I want to be on the record that something needs to be modified or we will have a very unsafe situation.”

Lincoln senior planner Steve Prosser said that the project complies with the Placer County Airport Land Use Compatibility plan.

Councilman Peter Gilbert said he was very comfortable with the plan and promised to do what he could for residents with strong concerns.

“This project is going to move forward, hopefully with some sensitivity to its neighbors,” Gilbert said. “I listened to everything you had to say and I will protect your rights to the nth degree. We cannot bind future councils but we would hope future councils will continue with the plan.”

Other City Council news:

City attorney

The council approved the hiring of Kristine Mollenkopf as the new in-house city attorney. Mollenkopf is the former Santa Maria assistant city attorney. She replaces interim city attorney Cline.

Consent calendar

The council’s agenda included a 25-item consent calendar, with items ranging from contracts for legal services and grazing services to the purchase of new equipment.