Natomas hearing March 23rd

CALL TO ACTION: On Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016 at 2:00 PM, Sacramento County will look at a new proposal to expand the Urban Services Boundary. The boundary was created in the early 1990’s to try to limit the sprawl of urbanization in the Sacramento region.

Please voice your opposition to this proposal at this critical time. Tweet, Call, Email, Write or Post on Facebook and tag County Supervisors if you can!

Attend the 2PM workshop in the Board of Supervisors chambers on Wednesday if you are able — all bodies and testimonies are appreciated!

We need to halt urban sprawl in our beautiful valley, not add to it. The proposal is not consistent with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments’ recently adopted transportation plan, or the Sacramento Air Quality Management District’s plan.

Read the article by Rob Burness of ECOS and published March 22, 2016 in the Sacramento Bee, summarizing the latest:
http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article67576377.html

Some Background

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors is considering the entitlement request of North Natomas landowners to expand the Urban Service Boundary, amend the General Plan, prepare a specific plan, and rezone 5600 acres to allow for the development of a new suburban community of 55,000 people.

Why Expanding the Urban Service Boundary is Significant and Precedent Setting

Sacramento’s adoption of an Urban Service Boundary in 1993 represented one of the first California General Plans to define a long term boundary for urban growth in a metropolitan setting. It provided sufficient land within the USB for many decades worth of growth. The USB provided the potential, with carefully considered phased growth, to at least triple the unincorporated urban population in the County.

By and large the Urban Service Boundary has been an effective planning policy. Folsom did expand beyond the boundary south of US Highway 50—as a city it is not bound by the same policies—and the County approved one minor expansion for a truck stop along Interstate 80. When Elk Grove City tried to expand its sphere way beyond the USB, the boundary’s importance weighed in the issues brought before LAFCo and their ultimate decision to deny the expansion. The boundary was an important benchmark for the analysis that led to the Water Forum Agreement, and has been, as intended, a valuable tool for planning sewer interceptors and other urban infrastructure over the last 22 plus years.

The Natomas Project would expand the Urban Service Boundary to allow a new “city” of 55,000 people. It would send the message to other cities that the USB is just a line on a map and not a significant delimiter for urban development. For all of us who want to see responsible, efficient, phased growth that gives infill a chance, moving forward with the Natomas project at this time sends exactly the wrong message. So, for us and many Sacramento residents, moving the boundary IS a big deal.

ECOS submitted a comment letter on December 16, 2015 that can be viewed here.

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ECOS’ Comments on Expanding the Urban Services Boundary in Natomas

12/15/2015

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors announced today that they have moved their workshop on the plan to expand the Urban Services Boundary north of Natomas from tomorrow, December 16th, 2015 to March 8, 2016. ECOS’ comments on how expanding the boundary would allow for a whole new area of urban sprawl when we should instead be focusing on infill development and reaping the co-benefits were submitted on December 15th, 2015.

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We hope that your Board understands the significance of your actions regarding expanding the USB north to the Sutter County line. We understand that this is only a step in a long process of considering entitlement approval. But you have authorized entering into contracts for over $7 million worth of studies and work to figure out the details of creating a new town of 55,000 people, and you have authorized preparation of a $1 million Environmental Impact Report to consider the impacts. You are proceeding as if this is a done deal only requiring the planning details to be worked out. And you are doing so without having fully and publicly addressed the significant issues associated with the threshold decision of whether this development should proceed at all, in this time frame, or under the auspices of the County rather than the City. Please consider our request to put the project on hold while you undertake a serious and unbiased review and hold a public discussion on the important concerns we are raising.

See our comments by clicking on the letter above or here.

Light Rail to Airport Open Houses

The light rail to the airport is being planned, and local residents are encouraged to attend an open house meeting to provide feedback. 

Based on Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) forecasts, the population in the area between downtown Sacramento, north and south Natomas, and the Sacramento International Airport is expected to increase by 36 percent (or 811,000 people) over the next 20 years.

The region is showing significant signs of economic recovery, and job growth is leading to housing growth after the building moratorium in Natomas was recently lifted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This projected development calls for an increase in transportation infrastructure for the area and RT is working to provide access through the Green Line to the Airport light rail extension project. This project will extend the existing Green Line light rail service from the 7th & Richards/Township 9 light rail station on Richards Boulevard to the Sacramento International Airport and provide vital connections to various locations throughout Sacramento, including the Natomas communities.

The project is entering the environmental phase and RT is scheduling meetings that offer an opportunity for the public to provide comments related to the potential environmental effects of the project. Input received will become part of the public record and will be considered during environmental studies.

Staffed information stations with maps and other project materials will be available at the community open house meetings listed below. A brief presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m.

North Natomas
Tuesday, December 1
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Natomas Park Elementary School
4700 Crest Drive, Sacramento

Downtown Sacramento
Wednesday, December 2
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Downtown Sacramento Public Library
828 I Street, Sacramento

South Natomas
Thursday, December 3
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
South Natomas Community Center
2921 Truxel Road, Sacramento