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Council approves Village 1 EIR

School district and city need to work out issues
By: Patty McAlpin, Reporter
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Lincoln City Council members took steps Nov. 27 night to make sure a proposed road alignment for a future development doesn’t put a long-time cattle ranching family out of business.

The council, on a 4 to 1 vote with Councilman Gabriel Hydrick dissenting, approved the environmental impact report (EIR) for the Village 1 Specific Plan.

However, no entitlements can be approved unless the city, the developer and the Allen family either agrees to Oak Tree Lane being moved to the northernmost portion of the Allen property or another location agreeable to all parties.

“It’s better than what we had,” Jack Allen said when asked if he “could live with this arrangement.”

Allen was one of 16 residents who spoke during the Nov. 27 public hearing, which was standing-room-only and lasted more than three hours.

The majority of those who testified asked the council to delay approval of the environmental impact report.

Five Western Placer Unified School District representatives told the council the report does not adequately address the need for school facilities or traffic impacts.

Others wanted to see more open space located in Village 1, especially in the northeast portion near Auburn Ravine. 

Allen told the council during his testimony at the Nov. 27 public hearing that his family ”never desired that their land be included in the specific plan.” He made repeated attempts during public and private meetings with city officials over the past 10 years to make that point, Allen stressed.

Councilman Hydrick said he supports Jack Allen’s right to do what he wants with his own property.

“It’s his property. Let him out,” Hydrick said.

The Allen family has owned the property at 930 Sierra College Blvd. since 1947. Their property is one of 40 properties included in the Village 1 Specific Plan.

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

The specific plan’s land uses include 341.9 acres Country Estates, 524.4 acres of Low Density Residential, 91 acres of Medium Density Residential, 28.8 acres of High Density Residential, 39.8 acres of Mixed Use Commercial, 97.9 acres of Park, 69.9 acres of Major Paseos, and 118.2 acres of Auburn Ravine Open Space. Turkey Creek Golf Course, which has 222.6 acres, is recognized as an existing land use. One 12.1 acre elementary school site has been identified.

Tony Frayji, project engineer for the proponents of Village 1, said the road alignment could be changed down the road when the property is annexed into the city. He said another alternative would be for the Allens to pursue an amendment to have their property removed from the city’s General Plan.

Frayji said his clients put approximately $4 million over seven years into the planning process for Village 1 although they are only involved with development of Phase 1, which includes about 290.2 acres located primarily east of Auburn Ravine and north of Highway 193.

Lake Development, on behalf of Elizabeth Layn and Jeanette Duff, the owners of Walkup Ranch, submitted a formal application for development of the Specific Plan for Village 1 in anticipation of the adoption of the 2008 General Plan, according to Frayji. To develop their portion, the applicants were required to participate in the development of a specific plan for the entire 1,832 acres that comprises Village 1, Frayji said.

Hydrick said the proponents are “a victim of a broken process” but it isn’t fair to the Allens to drag them in. The councilman “believes” this development should have been handled parcel by parcel.

 “So we’re going to drag them in kicking and screaming and then leave it to them to get themselves out?” Councilman Paul Joiner said. 

Lincoln Mayor Spencer Short said he is concerned about the potential for serious accidents for the proposed Oak Tree Lane alignment with Sierra College Boulevard because of a steep hill and a sweeping curve to the right coming toward Lincoln.

“I would prefer a straight road intersection, not bull’s horns,” Short said.

School issues

The mayor said he would like to meet with the school district “to iron out how the district and the city are going to work with developers to address funding for future schools” but he wants solid financial documentation.

Short pointed out that the school district’s facilities planner Heather Steer said one elementary school is planned to serve all the students from the Village 1 area. But the school district’s legal representative, Megan Macy of the law firm of Lozano Smith, said one 12.1 acre elementary school will not be adequate for 3,000 students from 14,000 residences. 

“For Phase 1, there is no elementary school within walking distance so parents of 1,300 5- to 12-year-olds will have to be driven to existing schools,” Macy said. “Lincoln’s environmental impact report does not address mitigation of impacts to schools or increased traffic at existing schools.”

Teacher Mike Agrippino said the district’s current school sites are overcrowded and at capacity. He has been a teacher in the district for 19 years, the last 17 years at Glen Edwards Middle School. He is also president of the Western Placer Teachers Association. 

The city is concerned about how students from the future development will be served, Mayor Short said. He placed the burden for financial planning “squarely on the shoulders of school officials.”

School officials say at this time there is no money to build that elementary school because the state has no money left to construct schools.

Ron Feist, an educational consultant who spoke on behalf of the school district, told the council that Senate Bill 50, the state law requiring developers to pay school fees, is inadequate to pay for the building of new schools. At this time, developers are mandated to pay 42 percent of the cost to build schools. 

“The state money would represent 36 to 39 percent of funding if you can get the money,” Feist said.

Steer said the school district is not counting on state funding because the state doesn’t plan to place a bonding measure on the ballot until 2014. The state, which is out of school construction money, places a bond for school construction funding on the ballot before voters every two years. 

The school district needs $615 million to pay for nine elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools to house children from the Villages’ housing developments to be annexed into the city of Lincoln. After funds from Senate Bill 50 and state funding, the district needs approximately $135 million to complete the school building plan, according to Steer and the school district’s Superintendent Scott Leaman.

The district estimates the villages will bring 20,238 new students to be served by Western Placer Unified School District. The district currently has 6,500 students enrolled in seven elementary schools, two middle schools, one comprehensive high school and a continuation high school. 

Although council meetings are usually videotaped and placed on the city’s website, the Nov. 27 meeting was not videotaped because the contractor and the city already agreed upon certain dates the contractor would not be required, according to Short.

 “Typically, we waive meetings at the holidays,” Short said, “but since Thanksgiving was early, we had the week free.”