Elk Grove Expansion May 2 Hearing Outcome

May 11, 2018

Unfortunately, on May 2, 2018, Sacramento LAFCo voted against a reconsideration of their decision to allow Elk Grove to develop into 1,156 acres of farmland, despite the 4,000 acres they already have available for development. ECOS and fellow environmental groups are disappointed, but we are not giving up!

For the latest on opening up farmland on the outskirts of Elk Grove to development, please see the following summary from Judith Lamare, President of Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk and ECOS Board Member.

Dear Farmland and Wildlife Advocates,

Thank you for all your help on the May 2 Reconsideration hearing at LAFCo — no surprises there, the reconsideration was denied on recommendation of staff and legal counsel. You can review the hearing online at http://www.agendanet.saccounty.net/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=12340&doctype=AGENDA.  Click on item 5.  The video and supporting material are on the right, including the Executive Director’s report.  It’s amazing what you can learn from reviewing the hearing.  For example, at the May 2 hearing, Rob Burness of ECOS pointed out that County General Plan policy requires 4/5 Supervisors to approve a change in the Urban Services Boundary.  But at LAFCo, two Supervisors voted to change that policy on a 4-3 vote.
 
So what can we do now?  Here’s our recommendation.
 
1.  Stay knowledgeable and remember who voted to approve the expansion.  County Supervisors Susan Peters and Sue Frost, Carmichael Water District Board member Ron Greenwood and City of Elk Grove Councilman Pat Hume.   Do they represent you?   Voting against were Councilmember Angelique Ashby, Special District Member Gay Jones and Public Member Jack Harrison.  
 
Here are a couple of links to articles:  
 
2.  Stay active
Especially if you live in Elk Grove, there are things you can do now to become more active to help prevent urban sprawl.  You can go to the City of Elk Grove website (here:  http://www.elkgrovecity.org/cms/one.aspx?pageId=275657  ) and ask for notifications for all meetings regarding the update of the General Plan and participate in that process.  The next step for the City is to adopt a new General Plan planning for growth outside its present boundary.  Then it will need to do an annexation procedure, which will set off another battle at LAFCo sometime in the future.
 
Election time is here – a great time to talk to candidates about your desire to keep cities inside their current boundaries, protect farmland and habitat, and respect habitat protection plans.  Find out who is running and talk to them.  
 
3. Support litigation by Sierra Club and ECOS
 
Yes we will file a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court against LAFCo to address the errors in the legal process.  Sierra Club and ECOS have retained attorney Don Mooney who is preparing to file.  FOSH is helping to raise money to pay the costs of litigation.  You can help by sending your donation to:
 
Green Incubator
C/o Lamare
 
Mark the check in the memo spot with “FOSH”.  Green Incubator. –  http://sacgreenincubator.org/donations/   – is Sacramento’s 501-c-3 “community bank for the environment” – and maintains a Fund to support conservation activities for the Swainson’s Hawk.  It’s tax id is  68-0143852.
 
Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk
Judith Lamare
President
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Reconsideration of LAFCo Decision on Elk Grove expansion

UPDATE: On April 4, 2018, LAFCo cancelled this hearing for reconsideration due to protests of the killing of Stephon Clark in the downtown area. The item will likely be back on their agenda on May 2, 2018.  

Thank you to everyone who has communicated with LAFCo about the importance of this decision and the need to rethink the 4-3 vote.  
 
Thank you also to those who have sent donations to help pay the cost of our attorney.

ECOS and Sierra Club have asked and been granted a hearing on whether there should be reconsideration of the Feb 7, 2018 LAFCo decision to approve adding 1,156 acres of farmland to the Sphere of Influence for Elk Grove (first step in urbanization). The hearing will be April 4, 2018, 5:30 pm at 700 H Street. As we get closer, we will ask you to write again to LAFCo to oppose this conversion of farmland.

We have asked for reconsideration based on:
1. Lack of evidence to support a Statement adopted by the Commissioners to “override” the 22 significant and unavoidable impacts of the decision.
2. Misleading statements at the hearing on water availability, farmland mitigation, benefits of the decision to the JPA Connector, and the extent to which impacts can be mitigated .

This was a very close decision with Councilmember Angelique Ashby of City of Sacramento, Metro Fire Board member Gay Jones, and Public LAFCo Member Jack Harrison voting against the SOI, and Supervisors Sue Peters and Sue Frost, CM Pat Hume of Elk Grove and Carmichael Water District Board Member Ron Greenwood voting to approve. We hope to reverse this decision.

We would like the commissioners to receive comments with time to read them before the hearing at 5:30pm on Wednesday, April 4, 2018.

Click here to view the hearing agenda.

Click here for links to the most recent relevant documents, on the Friend’s of Swainson’s Hawk website.

Click here to learn more about the background of this issue.

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Expanding Elk Grove…

Expanding Elk Grove: Narrow vote allows city to start considering southern development of farmland, wildlife habitat

Environmentalists and farmers say commission vote opens door to sprawl

By Michael Mott

February 15, 2018

Sacramento News and Review

A regional body of elected officials and residents narrowly approved opening the door to development that farmers and environmentalists say could threaten wildlife habitats and conservation efforts south of Elk Grove.

On February 7, the Sacramento Local Area Formation Commission, or LAFCO, approved landowners’ bid to expand Elk Grove’s “sphere of influence” by 1,156 acres, which could lead to a formal annexation and development process. The commissioners’ 4-3 approval came with an environmental impact report that warned development could cause “significant and unavoidable impacts” to wildlife, habitats and groundwater.

Read the full article here.

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