Lincoln chooses to abstain

Councilmembers want to sent message today to Sacramento Area Council of Governments
By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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City Council decided in a special meeting Tuesday morning to have Councilman Tom Cosgrove abstain from voting at today’s Sacramento Area Council of Governments meeting. The vote is on whether to release a draft copy of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments’ Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2035 to the public for review. Cosgrove is one of 32 voting members of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. City Council spent about two hours during Tuesday’s special meeting discussing what to tell the Sacramento Area Council of Governments about today’s vote. Tuesday’s meeting was just one week after a two-hour discussion on the same subject during the Nov. 8 City Council regular meeting. “The direction is to give an abstention and communicate our concerns,” Mayor Paul Joiner said Tuesday. “It’s a good compromise for us.” Concerns expressed by all councilmen, with the exception of Cosgrove, during the Nov. 8 City Council meeting focused on a map showing future growth for the region provided by Sacramento Area Council of Governments executive officer Mike McKeever, according to previous News Messenger reports. Other concerns with the map given by councilmen during the Nov. 8 meeting were that the city was shown to be developing on the east side of town, away from the city’s “infrastucture core;” and that there was no growth shown along the bypass, according to previous News Messenger reports. Councilman Spencer Short said Lincoln was given a “two-block” area for its central core, when cities including Roseville, Rocklin, Auburn and Colfax were given “a greater area,” according to previous News Messenger reports. Clifton Taylor, from developer Richland Communities, asked the council Tuesday to give “some very pointed comments to SACOG (Sacramento Area Council of Government) to deal with issues” during the Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2035 review period. “We are not very pleased and I think a lot of other people in the community aren’t pleased with the way that things have turned out,” Taylor said. Short responded to Taylor’s comment. “I fail to see how we can work with a comment period that is a sham,” Short said. Short was referring to McKeever’s Nov. 8 comment that Lincoln could recommend changes to the agency during the plan’s review period in December. “The fact of the matter is, SACOG said we can’t make any changes,” Short said. Short said he would “advocate a no vote on the plan,” early on in the meeting but then suggested an abstention vote. “We abstain but give our comments,” Short said. “It’s not a yes vote, not a no vote.” Cosgrove pointed out that “delaying this document for review could have a significant impact on the region as a whole on transportation projects.” City staff in the development services department “had a part in the amount of growth shown” on the map, according to Cosgrove, and city staff had asked that the areas showing future growth on the map for Lincoln “be scaled back.” “The colors on the map are reflective of input given by local jurisdictions,” Cosgrove said. “Every step of the process asks for feedback from us and every bit of feedback was inputted.” The News Messenger asked Cosgrove after Tuesday’s meeting why he didn’t say anything to City Council or city staff about Lincoln’s projected growth on the SACOG map since he was Lincoln’s representative to the agency. “I was unaware of that communication,” Cosgrove said. “I was unaware they had made that request and it does highlight the importance of improving communication.” Cosgrove said the approval of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2035 document would take place in April. “If our concerns are not adequately addressed, in April, I can vote no on approval of the document,” Cosgrove said. Councilman Gabriel Hydrick suggested that the council “cast a dissenting vote.” “If enough municipalities do that same thing, I think that sends a message to SACOG that they’ve overstepped their bounds,” Hydrick said. Councilman Stan Nader said he was “inclined to support a dissenting vote” to “send the message that Lincoln was not pleased with the process.”