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City Council decides Tuesday whether Village 1 final EIR is OK

Western Placer concerned over impact to schools
By: Patty McAlpin, Reporter
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Lincoln City Council will decide Nov. 27 if the final environmental impact report for the Village 1 project is adequate.

Village 1 Specific Plan Area is located east of the Auburn Ravine and includes land on both the north and south side of Highway 193. The specific plan area contains about 1,832 acres of land and extends in its southeast corner out to Sierra College Boulevard and out to Stardust Lane on Highway 193.

The current application would establish a specific plan for the entire 1,832-acre area as required by the city’s General Plan policy to provide a comprehensive plan for each Village area established in the 2008 General Plan, according to a city staff report. The Village 1 Specific Plan proposes 5,639 residential units and a mixture of other uses including retail, office, public/semi-public facilities, parks and open space east of the current city limits.

For comparison purposes, 6,783 homes were built in Sun City Lincoln Hills on 2,992 acres.

Sixteen people spoke Nov. 14 at a packed Lincoln Planning Commission meeting in the first floor City Hall meeting room. Most said the environmental report still needs work. The Planning Commission disagreed.

The speakers asked the commission to revise the environmental impact report to take into account Western Placer Unified School District’s needs to serve future students, consider moving the alignment of Oak Tree Lane to avoid bisecting a working cattle operation, prevent traffic congestion on Virginiatown Road, provide space for wildlife and preserve the quality of life for those who chose to live in the rural area of Lincoln.

School representatives question impacts

Four representatives spoke on behalf of Western Placer Unified School District. School board President Damian Armitage and Vice President Kris Wyatt were present in the audience.

Attorney Anne Collins of Lozano Smith Law Firm addressed the commission first.

Collins said there will be 500 students coming from Phase 1 of the Village 1 project alone.

“There was no analysis as to where these students will attend school,” Collins said. “No school was considered. The city must consider school issues such as traffic, noise and pedestrian safety. This will directly impact schools and the district itself.”

Collins called the city’s traffic analysis for the project inconsistent.

“Where are the numbers coming from,” Collis said. “Taking 500 students to and from school will result in additional trips.”

City Attorney Mona Ebrahimi said the city’s traffic model is based on a count of nine trips per single family home and 6.5 trips per multifamily dwelling.

“The city made the best determination it could about where traffic impacts would be,” Ebrahimi said.

The city attorney pointed out that the school district has given the city different information as to how many schools would be needed. 

“According to the school district’s letter to the city of Oct. 29, 2010, any middle and high school students from Village 1 would go to existing schools. A letter the city received from the school district dated Nov. 14, 2012 states the school district would need to build two elementary schools and a high school or middle school to serve the students living in Village 1,” Ebrahimi said.

School Superintendent Scott Leaman and school consultant Dr. Ron Feist, retired superintendent of Eureka Union School District, emphasized the need for the city and the developer to cooperate in discussions about how to fund the schools needed to serve the students of Village 1.

“We’ve spent a lot of resources making sure our fees to build schools are appropriate,” Leaman said.

Feist said the amount the schools are allowed to collect from developers under Senate Bill 50 will only provide 42 percent of the costs needed to build schools.

He said there will be three losers if the city, the school district and the developer don’t work together.

“You will be blamed if there are not enough schools for kids,” Feist said. “Developers will lose because people will buy houses in Rocklin or Roseville instead.”

The city’s attorney said Senate Bill 50 is intended to mitigate the impact of school facilities.

Tony Frayji of Frayji Design Group represents 100 people who own the 40 properties in Village 1. He told the commission he is working with the school district in good faith to come to an agreement on what fees will be paid to provide schools for future students residing in Village 1.

“The school officials are giving contradictory statements,” Frayji said. “I’ve been talking to them from the beginning. We are committed to working with them on the fees.”

Allens concerned about their ranch

Jack Allen, who lives at 930 Sierra College Blvd., said the alignment of the main thoroughfare through Village 1, Oak Tree Lane, would bisect his cattle ranch. The ranch has been in his family for 65 years. Jack Allen inherited the land from his parents, Tom and Virginia Allen, who operated the beef cattle ranch for 61 years. Tom Allen died in 2001. Virginia Allen died in 2008.

“That road would go through the middle of my house, my corral and barn,” Allen said. “I’m concerned about losing my right to farm. The city or county could cancel the Williamson Act designation on the property.”

Jack’s wife, Diana Allen, told the commissioners she has a full-time job and helps her husband take care of 170 head of cattle when she isn’t working.

“We sell two semi loads of calves twice a year,” Diana Allen said.

Kim Martinez, Jack and Diana Allen’s daughter, said when she inherits the ranch she has no intention to develop.

“If you put this road through, the ranch will be destroyed,” Martinez said. “My family built this ranch from one cow. They will lose their right to farm, their business and their livelihood.”

Several of the commissioners assured Jack Allen the city would work with the family to help find a solution.

“I wholeheartedly respect you guys,” Planning Commission Chairman Michael Roberts said. “This is just a roadmap. Things can change.”

Commissioners give comments

To the school district representatives, Roberts said, “I have to take issue with the school district,” Roberts said. “I have never seen the school district come in here to demand that the commission take an EIR and shelve it until they get their agreements. During the times where the city was growing, they were not here. Now the city has economic problems.”

To those who expressed concerns about quality of life, Roberts said, “I’ve been on the commission a long time. I’ve seen the Del Webb, Twelve Bridges, Lincoln Crossing and Foskett Ranch days. During that time people also complained about their view being ruined.”

Vice-Chairman Bill Lyons reiterated that any changes to the landscape would be years down the road.

“This is a roadmap of what Village 1 might look like some day when the land is developed,” Lyons said. “There are no annexations before us. There are no plans for eminent domain. There are no developer agreements yet.”

Lyons said the city needs a plan to make sure “things make sense when they are built.”

Cross said the people of Lincoln decided over the course of 23 public forums what they wanted the city to look like in the future.

“In 2008, the 50-year General Plan was approved,” Cross said. “Not one person spoke against it.”

Cross acknowledged that the housing density for Village 1 is a little higher than some would have liked.

“This is not going to come up for 15 to 20 years,” Cross said. “I do not see an immediate threat.”

After the discussion amongst the commissioners, the six commissioners present adopted a resolution recommending that the City Council certify the final environmental impact report and approve a general plan amendment, the Village 1 Specific Plan and Village 1 General Development Plan. Commissioner E.J. Ivaldi was absent.