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.”