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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March 28th Board of Directors Meeting with Mayoral Candidates

Join the Environmental Council of Sacramento for our Board of Directors meeting!

When: Monday, March 28th, 2016 5:30pm social/6:00pm meeting
Where: SEIU Local 1000 Union Hall, 1325 S Street, Sacramento CA (large meeting room)

In March, we welcome City of Sacramento mayoral candidates Darrell Steinberg and Angelique Ashby in addressing our board, members and neighbors. While ECOS will not be making an endorsement as a group, we value the opportunity for voters to learn more about these local leaders.

Arrive early for reception with wine, light refreshments, music and social time, beginning at at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin at 6pm. Feel free to bring a snack to share.

As always:
– ECOS Committees will report on their activities.
– Announcements are welcome at the end.
– Everyone who is interested is welcome! Bring a friend!

In case you missed it, the Sacramento Bee featured a special piece by Dan Weintraub on March 6, 2016 about the commitments of Angelique Ashby and Darrell Steinberg to making the City of Sacramento a more pedestrian- and bike- friendly city.

You can read the article here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article63877837.html

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ECOS to RT re Fare Increases

In response to Sacramento Regional Transit District’s proposal to increase ticket fares ECOS has released the following statement:

For many years, ECOS has supported transit (Sacramento Regional Transit in particular) as an essential alternative to the over reliance on automobiles for transportation in the Sacramento region. We are therefore very concerned about the proposed fare increase that was presented at the January 25, 2016 RT Board meeting, since increased fares will invariably decrease ridership. The current fare increase disproportionately impacts transit dependent riders — including seniors, the disabled, and people on low income — many of whom live in already underserved areas.

Occasional fare increases are probably inevitable just to stay in step with general cost inflation. But it would be wise to proceed in small steps, at roughly five percent increments. At the same time, RT must strive to implement reforms already under discussion, such as reinstituting transfers, better enforcing fare payment, and restoring as much service as possible, in order to restore ridership to prerecession levels. To provide a minimally acceptable level of transit service in Sacramento County will require increased public funding. Transit got shortchanged in the last Measure A, and future transportation measures will need to provide a much higher level of financial support for transit.

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