Disparate Interests Pan Elk Grove’s Expansion Plans at Sacramento LAFCo Meeting

December 18, 2017

Elk Grove News.net

Notwithstanding their 40-plus minute presentation, the City of Elk Grove was criticized at last week’s meeting of the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) for its plans to enlarge the city. The criticisms, which were made by a variety of interests, condemned Elk Grove’s planned expansion through the sphere of influence (SOI) process.
The presentation to the LAFCo commission was made by Elk Grove assistant to city manager and planning specialist Christopher Jordan [sic] at the Wednesday, December 6 meeting. Jordan’s presentation, which was as much part history lesson and part public relations pitch, focused on the city’s state-mandated general plan update and three current SOI applications, which are the initial steps to annex property.
During public comment, the presentation was criticized by three environmentalist, two agriculture interest, and one Elk Grove resident. There were no public comments in favor of Elk Grove’s expansion plans.
Speaking on behalf of the Mother Lode chapter of the Sierra Club, [and Co-Chair of the Environmental Council of Sacramento’s Habitat Conservation Committee] Sean Wirth noted there was nothing in Jordan’s presentations on the effects on the environment. He also opined what environmental documents included in the application were faulty. 
“If this new SOI is approved outside the urban services boundary, there is going to a general belief that other areas nearby will also be able to be part of this sphere,” Wi[r]th said … [“It is going to be impossible to do conservation in that area. The effect will be that it is going to be too expensive to buy any land there.”] … .*
Wirth also noted flooding that occurs every seven to ten years on the southern portions of the city along the Cosumnes River which affect sandhill cranes. When flooding occurs, the cranes flee to higher ground and if the land is developed, they will lose habitat. 
Speaking for agriculture interests was Bill Bird from the Sacramento Farm Bureau who in part echoed Wirth. Bird said agricultural uses were not taken into account and once the land is annexed, farms will be abandoned for a variety of reasons.
“When you consider all three sphere of influence amendments, you are talking about taking roughly 1,800-acres out of agricultural production,” he said. “Once these amendments are granted, the writing on the wall for farmers is crystal clear – the message is – GET OUT!”
Addressing Elk Grove’s performance regarding employment development was resident Lynn Wheat. In her comments Wheat noted there was no mention of the quality of the new jobs developed, the 2,000 promised new jobs should the Wilton Rancheria gain approval of their proposed casino will be low wage hospitality jobs, and that the Elk Grove Unified School District remains the largest employer in the city.
Wheat also noted former Mayor Gary Davis’ announcement two years ago that NRC Manufacturing, whom he called a large Silicon Valley concern, was locating to Elk Grove. Since that time NRC has not relocated any of their operations to Elk Grove.
“A firm from the Bay Area NRC was to come a couple of years ago,” Wheat said. “Since it was presented to our city council and spoken about we haven’t heard anything, so the joke in our community is N R C stands for not really coming.”

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to read the comments the Environmental Council of Sacramento have submitted on these attempts by Elk Grove to enlarge their city.

*This sentence was originally misquoted and the meaning was unclear. It was corrected for the purpose of this post.

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Kammerer Road-Highway 99 Sphere Of Influence Amendment DREIR

On September 11, 2017, ECOS submitted our comments on the Draft Recirculated Environmental Impact Report (DREIR) for the Proposed Kammerer/Highway 99 Sphere Of Influence Amendment (SOIA) Application for the City of Elk Grove.

Click here or on the image above to read the comment letter.


We appreciate the added attention to detail offered in the recirculated draft EIR, but rather than alleviate our concerns expressed in our original letter, the DREIR only further confirms those concerns. ECOS remains strongly opposed to the proposed Kammerer-99 Elk Grove SOI expansion and stands by our initial observation summarizing the project: Elk Grove’s anticipated growth can be accommodated within the existing City limits, and we find no justification for expansion beyond the Sacramento County Urban Services Boundary (USB) established in 1993 to be the ultimate growth boundary within the County. The proposal is inconsistent with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments’ (SACOG) Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS) for meeting State mandated greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, Federal mandates for Air Quality Attainment under the State Improvement Plan (SIP), as well as myriad regional goals for social equity, public health and natural resource conservation. There is an extreme lack of certainty that municipal water can be provided to this area without severe regional impacts, and the impacts to invaluable agricultural and biological resources by the proposal are potentially impossible to mitigate. The RDEIR confirms significant and unavoidable impacts in all these above-mentioned areas, with the exception of less than significant biological impact after mitigation which is a finding we disagree with. The question is, what justification is there for these impacts? We, again, find that there is not, and we strongly recommend that LAFCo decline the proposed Kammerer/99 SOIA.

Click here to read our comment letter to the Draft Environmental Impact Report, submitted March 31, 2017, which is referenced in our letter.

Click here for the Friends of Swainson’s Hawk’s comment letter on the Draft Recirculated Environmental Impact Report, submitted September 11, 2017, which is also referenced in our letter.

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The Bilby Ridge Sphere of Influence Amendment

June 9, 2017

The City of Elk Grove continues to fail to demonstrate a need for more land on which to build, and yet they want more anyway. The Bilby Ridge Sphere of Influence Amendment proposes to increase the City of Elk Grove’s Sphere of Influence, thereby allowing increased urban sprawl around the area of Elk Grove and South of Sacramento. The Environmental Council of Sacramento has submitted our comments regarding the Notice Of Preparation Of A Draft Environmental Impact Report For The Bilby Ridge Sphere Of Influence Amendment_(Lafc 04-16) Application.

Our comment letter addresses the Demand for the Project, the Loss of Agricultural Land, Water Demand and Availability, the Growth-Inducing Effects associated with this amendment, as well as the important Biological Resources at stake.

Click here to read the full letter.

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