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New development amended to meet recession needs

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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To cope with the current economy and housing market, the Lincoln planning commission voted April 20 to amend the development agreement for the Aitken Ranch Development. The amendments would lower the cost of building the development. The commission voted unanimously to recommend the amendment to the development agreement, which will go to the City Council on May 10. Ten revisions to the development are included. The future housing development is located next to Lincoln Crossing, near the corner of Moore Road and Sorrento Parkway. The city entered into a development agreement with Signature at Sorrento LLC on June 8, 2004, according to Lincoln director of development services Rodney Campbell. The plan area contains 158 acres of land, with 125.3 acres of low-density housing allowing 477 single-family units, 5.8 acres of high-density land for 116 units, a 7.4-acre park site and 19.9 acres of open space, Campbell said. The agreement called for the installation of public improvements when Signature developed the subdivision, according to Campbell. Those improvements include the full development of Aitken Ranch Road from Moore Road to Ingram Slough and reconstruction of Moore Road due to its closure during construction of the Highway 65 Bypass. Other improvements are installing a 36-inch sewer line in Moore Road and building a new park that spans across the subdivision. “With the major downtown in both the economy and housing market, the city was approached by Signature to revise certain terms of the agreement in order to reduce the number of units in each phase and reduce the level of improvements required in order to make moving forward with development economically feasible,” Campbell said. Instead of building the development in seven phases, it will now be built in 11, according to Campbell, and the park will be built in three phases. “It’s to allow for smaller increments of development,” Campbell said. Two residents spoke at a public hearing prior to the commission’s vote. Resident Greg North compared Lincoln and Roseville, saying Roseville’s new developments have parks and schools. “I felt like we blew it when we bought our home (in Lincoln),” North said. “Homes in Roseville are next to schools and parks. You might want to build parks sooner than later.” Planning Commissioner Dan Cross said he waited seven years to get a park across the street from his home, and noted that despite the recession, Signature still wants to build homes in Lincoln. “We have people who have maintained an interest in the community,” Cross said. “The other alternative is for them to throw up their hands and walk away.” Diana Obella, who owns a home near the new development, addressed a list of concerns she has. When Moore Road closed in 2008, Obella said, residents were told Portello Road would open and connect to Sorrento Parkway. “Portello Road should be opened because it’s the right thing to do. The biggest issue we have with Portello not open is for safety reasons,” Obella said. “There is only one way out of there. If ever there was a grass fire or emergency, there are about 190 homes and we are trapped. There is no other way out other than by foot.” Obella also said a sign telling drivers on Sorrento Parkway the way to Lincoln is needed, as well as street lights for when it is foggy or dark outside. Campbell said the city could immediately address the sign issue but said the streetlights would “be developed as part of Sorrento and not until development starts moving along.”