Natomas – more info

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In Natomas, farmland is essential habitat for threatened species. Farmland provides other benefits as well — food production, cleaner air, airport buffer, prevents urban storm water flooding, and more. But now, a number of development projects are proposed on that farmland. Examples are: the Airport South Industrial Project, Upper West Side, Grandpark, and WattEV, as shown on the map.

The first three are located outside of Sacramento County’s Urban Services Boundary (USB) on land zoned agricultural in the County’s General Plan. Their total acreage outside the USB is over 8,000 acres. If these projects are built, existing wildlife preserves will be degraded and the remaining open land will be inadequate as wildlife habitat. Loss of biodiversity and injury to the listed species will result. The Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (NBHCP) itself could fail.

The Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (NBHCP) was adopted in 1997 to promote biological conservation in the Natomas Basin. Twenty-two animal and plant species are protected by the NBHCP. Three land uses make up the Plan—urban development on 17, 500 acres permitted for residential and commercial use, mitigation lands/conserved habitat, and the remaining in habitat-supportive agriculture. The Natomas Basin Conservancy acquires and manages land for the purpose of implementing the NBHCP.

The Urban Services Boundary (USB) was established in 1993 to be the “backbone of Sacramento County’s urban planning philosophy . . . intended to protect the County’s natural resources from urban encroachment, as well as to limit costly sprawling development patterns. . . the USB is intended to be a permanent boundary. . .” From the County’s General Plan Land Use Element.

Inside the USB, the City and County have an abundance of land already planned and zoned for residential and light industrial uses. And, in the Natomas Basin, the Airport South Industrial Project could be accommodated in Metro Airpark, located just east of Sacramento International Airport, or in South Sutter County, both areas already permitted by the wildlife agencies to develop.

There are other areas of Sacramento that would welcome additional warehousing including the McClellan Park and Pell/Main area of North Sacramento and Depot Park in South Sacramento. Locating in these areas supports the existing plans of the City and County to promote infill and to make investments and create jobs in areas that need it. It just makes sense to place this project where it will benefit Sacramento and not harm wildlife and pave farmland.