Process to update Sheridan’s community plan begins

By: Patty McAlpin, Reporter
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Upcoming meetings

Sheridan Community Plan subcommittee meetings will take place at 7 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at Stewart Hall, 6005 Camp Far West Road, Sheridan. The first subcommittee meeting is Dec. 19, 2012.

Sheridan resident Steve Starling is wondering if Placer County should engage in a community update plan for Sheridan’s future if there isn’t any money to invest in infrastructure to provide new water connections to carry out those plans.

Starling was among more than 60 people who attended the first workshop Nov. 28 at Stewart Hall to kick off an update of the Sheridan Community Plan, which hasn’t been updated since 1976. The meeting was hosted by the Placer County Planning Division and the Sheridan Municipal Advisory Council. Residents broke out into groups of 10 to 12 to give input on future land uses following a presentation from county staff and a question and answer session.

County officials anticipate the work to update the plan will take two years. The update is expected to provide a long-range vision and a land use strategy to guide growth and development in Sheridan through 2030.

A Sheridan resident since 1999, Starling lives on a 30-acre property on Lichty Road. He and his neighbors have wells and septic systems on their properties.

Starling, a cattle farmer and a contractor, said during the question and answer portion of the meeting he is concerned a third well would dry up his well and those of his neighbors. That well and a water storage tank will be located behind the baseball field in Sheridan Park.

“The county wants to drill a new well that will pump 1.6 million gallons a year,” Starling said. “I’m worried that will hurt the water table. I have good water now.”
At present, Sheridan has two wells. The Sheridan public water system has 232 connections and serves about 660 residents.

As a result of sewer system improvements completed over the past five years, the Board of Supervisors was able to lift the long standing moratorium on new connections to the sewer and water systems.

Board of Supervisors to review water work

Completion of Sheridan water supply improvements will bring the water system into compliance with the California Waterworks Standards and provide capacity for approximately 100 to 200 new connections in the community. The project includes the development of a new supply well, a 180,000-gallon water storage tank, a well and pump station building, distribution piping, appurtenances and the replacement of existing water lines from Camp Far West Road to the existing Sheridan Elementary School. The project cost is estimated at $2 million. Construction is scheduled to begin in March 2013 following four years of discussion and planning.

“The water that will be provided from the additional well is tiny compared to the capacity of the aquifer,” Supervisor Robert Weygandt said he was told by county staff. “There is no reason to worry about the water table.”

County officials acknowledged at the Nov. 28 meeting financial resources would have to be identified to construct more facilities to provide water and sewer infrastructure facilities for future development.

The water supply improvements plan is scheduled to go before the Placer County Board of Supervisors for final environmental approval on Dec. 11. Starling said he and his neighbors plan to attend.

At the community meeting Nov. 28, Starling and the other residents who attended were asked to discuss: What does a future Sheridan community look like?; Community Plan area boundary changes; Decide how and where Community Plan use designations should change; business and/or economic ideas and if Sheridan should be considered for a Placer County fairgrounds relocation.

Residents are surveyed

A survey was mailed by Placer County and the Sheridan Municipal Advisory Council to ask residents for their opinions. As of Nov. 28, 45 completed surveys had been turned in. The deadline to return the survey was Dec. 5. The survey asks residents the types of development they would most like to see and least like; what the most needed improvements are; how important are the issues of economic development/jobs, affordable housing, open space, sense of community, small town character, public safety, cultural diversity, scenic/visual quality, keeping Sheridan Elementary School open, historic preservation, child care, recreational opportunities, traffic and healthcare; and how Sheridan ranks in terms of housing, shopping, and services choices/access, pedestrian environment and bicycle environment.

Lee Bastien, who is serving his fifth, four-year term on the Sheridan Municipal Advisory Council, said what he most wants to see is a gas station. He moved to Sheridan in 1989.

“”I have to go to Lincoln or Wheatland to get gas,” Bastien said.

Sheridan has a post office, grocery store and elementary school. The town is home to 746 people. In 1970, the population was 431.

County officials hope for an economic turnaround

Placer County officials, Municipal Advisory Council members and residents were hoping for an economic boost from two projects - Cemex Materials at 8705 Camp Far West Road and a sand and gravel pit proposed by Teichert.

County officials said because of the downturn in the economy the Teichert project is on hold.

“Because of the economy, revenue has been less than expected,” Weygandt said. “Once the economy turns around, there is the potential for revenue streams.”

There are 45 existing businesses in Sheridan, mostly home based, according to Placer County Planner Chris Schmidt. He said seven businesses in Sheridan are looking to grow and expand.

“More growth would require an investment in infrastructure,” Schmidt said. “I’m not sure whether the Highway 65 bypass is a plus or minus. That took half of the traffic away from here. There is easier access to Lincoln and up north, Sacramento and Roseville and the opportunity to develop land around the Riosa Road interchange. That land is owned by the state. We do want to rezone for commercial development. The housing market is down but now is a perfect time to plan for the future.”

Riosa Road improvements begin next year

Improvements for Riosa Road are scheduled to begin construction in 2013. Improvements along Riosa Road between ninth and twelfth streets include widening the pavement to provide a 5-foot sidewalk and curb with gutter on the north side and curb and gutter on the south side of Riosa Road, providing underground drainage facilities to replace the open drainage ditches and fill for a new shoulder to be striped as a Class II bike lane and pavement improvements upgrade of the road cross section and landscaping. The project cost is approximately $1.1 million, according to the county Department of Public Works.

Sheridan and Lincoln residents complain about pot odor

Sheridan resident Steve Sills told the advisory board and the county officials doing something about the odor emanating from pot farms in town would be one thing they could address to improve the quality of life in town.

“Can you stop the outdoor pot farms?” Sills asked. “It smells like skunks and people are suffering from asthma and breathing problems.”

Municipal Advisory Council Jim Houck said the farms are on the MAC agenda and he planned to speak to Supervisor Weygandt on the topic.

“This has been an issue for the last six months,” Houck said.

Weygandt said on Nov. 30 he did speak with Houck about the pot farms. He said before the issue can come before the Board of Supervisors the county has to explore legal options.

Sills, who lives on F Street, said there are four pot farms within 10 houses of his home.

“My neighbors are working with me. The neighbors planted the lemon meringue variety and the smell is better but I’m also concerned about the kids. It’s supposed to be for medical purposes but what about the kids? They see their parents selling and growing marijuana.”

Lincoln City Council members also received complaints about the odor from marijuana plants grown outdoors.

Lincoln Councilman Gabriel Hydrick at the Nov. 13 Lincoln City Council meeting said during the council initiated business portion of the meeting he had been approached by a citizen complaining about a neighbor growing so many marijuana plants the odor was overwhelming.

There have been multiple complaints about odor from multiple locations in the city of Lincoln for the last six months, said Lincoln Councilman Paul Joiner, who sits on the city’s Public Safety Committee.

Lincoln’s interim police chief, Paul Shelgren, said, “An indoor grow will not eliminate the odor. It still exists.”

Mayor Spencer Short referred the matter to the Public Safety Committee to craft an enforceable ordinance to address the odor issue.