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Lincoln Planning Commission begins review process for L-shaped project

By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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Development of an L-shaped area of land just south of Nicolaus Road, and close to the regional airport, received an early look April 15 by the Lincoln Planning Commission.

The proposed project area, known as Special Use District B Northeast Quadrant, is bordered by Nicolaus Road to the north,Nelson Lane to the south, Highway 65 bypass to the south and the former wastewater treatment plant to the east.

The commission held a scoping session for the 186.2-acre project. A scoping session is the very earliest stage in preparing an environmental impact report (EIR).

Jim Bermudez, the Lincoln development services manager, told the large audience and commissioners that it would be “some time” before any formal action is taken on SUD-B NE Quadrant. The project is part of a larger – 1,844-acre – planning area, SUD-B.

“This is not a formal discussion of the merits of the project,” said Bermudez, adding that this was the time to listen to public concerns.

Commissioner Bill Lyons echoed Bermudez’s comments.

“This process is not going to happen quickly,” Lyons said. “I’m guessing five years.”

Commissioner Michael Roberts said his main concern with the proposed development was its proximity to the airport.

“This is one of the biggest projects to come to the city in a long time,” said Roberts, the commission’s senior member. “This is just a concept right now. Changes can be made; it may not come close to 392 homes.”

Resident Alan Cuenca said the project should not move forward because of the airport.

“Homeowners who will be directly affected by the airport don’t live here yet but they will,” Cuenca said. “Generally speaking, homes have been restricted to one mile away from the airport.”

Although the property is within Lincoln’s sphere of influence, it is outside the city limits. For the project to move forward, the Placer County Local Area Formation Commission will have to approve the property’s annexation to Lincoln. After LAFCO receives an application, it is sent to different county departments and agencies for comment, information gathering and analysis. Once the application is analyzed, the commission holds a public hearing to make its determination.

Other requirements that the project must meet include a general plan amendment by the city of Lincoln; adoption of a specific plan; approval of a water supply assessment and a development agreement with the city.

Among the proposed uses for the land are 84 acres for 392 single family homes; 74 acres for 971,000 square-feet of commercial space; 20 acres of open space, including portions of Markham Ravine and Auburn Ravine; and three acres for parks and recreation. No specific businesses or buildings have been planned.

As many as 11 technical studies could be completed within the environmental impact report process, including air quality; biological and cultural resources; geology and hydrology; noise and traffic; water supply; utilities and hazardous materials.

Brian Grattidge, the development’s senior project manager, is responsible for preparing the environmental impact report.

“Traffic is the No. 1 issue I have heard so far,” said Grattidge, of the environmental consulting firm Dudek.

The scoping period is scheduled to end April 30. A draft environmental impact report is expected to be circulated over the summer and a final submitted in December.

In other Planning Commission news, a conditional use permit was approved for Citizen Vine, a wine bar located in Lincoln Village at Twelve Bridges. The wine bar will be open for wine-tasting and on-site consumption of beer and wine.

Paul Jansen, proprietor of Citizen Vine, said the approval process was easier than expected.

“It was positive dealing with the city,” Jansen said. “Staff was very helpful and I feel like I have a partner. I’ve had overwhelming support from the people of Lincoln.”

Also, Lincoln City Clerk Gwen Scanlon said that the next Planning Commission meeting will be at 6 p.m. May 20 in the City Hall third-floor meeting room at 600 6th St., where City Council now meets.