Sprawl monitor: Sacramento’s leading environmental protection nonprofit sees growing interest in demanding smarter growth

By Scott Thomas Anderson

July 13, 2017

Sacramento News and Review

ECOS prepping ballot initiative against suburban sprawl

South Placer County beware: An environmental organization is on a mission to educate people about the impacts of wide-scale suburban sprawl. And it’s getting big turnouts.

On June 28, the Environmental Council of Sacramento held a town hall-style meeting about potential ballot initiatives aimed at slowing the tide of business parks and subdivisions spilling across the valley.

For critics of sprawl, the issue has become especially pronounced in cities like Folsom, which is currently allowing 11,000 new homes to be built across 3,600 acres of open space. Across the border in Placer County, expanding tract home developments are overtaking oak woodlands and merging the cities of Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln. ECOS representatives charged that Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, north Natomas and unincorporated Sacramento County territories are also guilty of approving “egregious” levels of sprawl.

According to the Seto Lab at Yale University, suburban sprawl erodes California’s productive farmlands and delicate habitats, accelerates unnecessary energy demands and harms “high-value ecosystems.”

ECOS has noted that the trend is contributing to a large automobile dependency around the region, along with related air quality issues. According to its research, the region has zoning for nearly 120,000 new single family homes already approved, with another 50,000 single family homes being planned for “remote areas.”

ECOS’ June 28 workshop was held at Mogavero Architects on K Street. “The turnout was great,” said ECOS Director of Operations Alexandra Reagan. “It was standing room only.”

Reagan is planning similar workshops in the future, though she said the next major step would be identifying which municipality should be the subject of a sprawl-controlling ballot initiative from her group. Once that’s determined, she thinks her organization will have a lot of help. “When we asked everyone there who would be willing to work on a campaign, 95 percent of them raised [their] hands.”

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Amador County says Sacramento growth plans will turn Jackson Highway into a parking lot

By Tony Bizjak

July 7, 2017

The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento County has asked Caltrans to give it control of 8 miles of the two-lane road so the county can turn it into an urban arterial street that would function as the spine for up to 30,000 new homes in the coming decades, allowing the metropolitan area to march east as far as Grant Line Road.

The Jackson corridor is one of several large undeveloped areas of east county slated for growth, along with projects underway to the south near Elk Grove and to the north in Rancho Cordova and Folsom, along the Grant Line Road corridor.

Several of the Jackson Highway development teams are conducting environmental reviews of their project proposals now, one of the last steps before they will receive county approvals to build.

Read more here.

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Airport is no place for hawk preserve

 

This is where Sacramento plans to put nearly 3,000 new homes

Advocates for the Swainson’s hawk, listed as threatened by the state, are unhappy with the habitat mitigation land chosen for the hawks, which is an orchard west of the airport, adjacent to the Teal Bend golf course. Advocate Jude Lamare said the site is too close the airport, where 11 Swainson’s hawks have been counted as hit and killed by jets in the last four years.

The hawks forage in various places around the Natomas basin, but, as development continues, nesting areas will be reduced, forcing more birds into limited sites, including the one next to the airport. “If you are picking a ‘forever’ home for threatened avian species, it would not be next to a runway,” Lamare said. “You are squeezing the species down.”

(Bizjak, Tony, This is where Sacramento plans to put nearly 3,000 new homes)

Read more here.


A Message from Judith Lamare, President of the Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk, a member organization of Habitat 2020/ECOS. May 29, 2017

Here is a text you can copy and email to urge the City to reject the Moody Preserve as part of the Greenbriar project. Use this in the Subject line of your email: Item 19 May 30, 2017: No Hawk Preserve Next to Airport

Dear City Leaders:

  • Please reject the proposed Moody Preserve as part of the Greenbriar Project at your meeting on Tuesday May 30. (Agenda Item 19)
  • The property is about 600 feet from the Airport’s west runway.
    Eleven Swainson’s Hawks have been listed as fatalities in the FAA bird strike data base for SMF between 2013 and 2016.
  • Airport operations are expected to grow by 30 percent over the next twenty years.
  • This is the wrong location to preserve in perpetuity for conservation of a threatened bird species.
  • Please require the Greenbriar developer to provide another mitigation site that offers more protection to the Swainson’s Hawk, listed as threatened under state law.

The email string to use is:
MayorSteinberg [at] cityofsacramento [dot] org, Angelique Ashby <aashby [at] cityofsacramento [dot] org>, Allen Warren <awarren [at] cityofsacramento [dot] org>, Jeff S. Harris <JSHarris [at] cityofsacramento [dot] org>, Steve Hansen <SHansen [at] cityofsacramento [dot] org>, Jay Schenirer
<jschenirer [at] cityofsacramento [dot] org>, Eguerra [at] cityofsacramento [dot] org,”Lawrence R. Carr” <Lcarr [at] cityofsacramento [dot] org>, Rick Jennings <rjennings [at] cityofsacramento [dot] org>, clerk [at] cityofsacramento [dot] org,swainsonshawk [at] sbcglobal [dot] net

Thank you for your help in averting a bad decision on conservation for our threatened wildlife.

Judith Lamare, President
Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk
www.swainsonshawk.org
swainsonshawk [at] sbcglobal [dot] net


Read the letter from the Environmental Council of Sacramento, Habitat 2020 and Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk here.

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