Heads up! The City of Elk Grove is still trying to acquire more land to develop, despite having thousands of acres that are available to develop within their sphere of influence. The next action deadline is August 19, 2020.
The latest move by the City of Elk Grove is called the Multi-Sport Complex Site and Southeast Grant Line Industrial Annexation Area. Here is where the project is in the environmental review process, under the California Environmental Quality Act.
There are four general stages to the CEQA process and the Supplemental EIR:
Notice of Preparation and Scoping – Under this stage, the City provides notice (through a Notice of Preparation) that a Supplemental EIR will be prepared. This provides other local and State agencies, as well as the public, with an opportunity to comment on the scope of the EIR.
Draft SEIR – The City will prepare and release for public comment, a draft Supplemental EIR. The EIR will be available on this page for review and comment.
Final SEIR – The City will review comments received on the draft Supplemental EIR and prepare responses to comments, along with technical corrections to the draft Supplemental EIR. This will be documented in a Final EIR.
Certification – Once the Final Supplemental EIR is prepared, the document will be presented to the Planning Commission and City Council for review. The City Council will be asked to certify the document. Once certification is completed the City Council may approve the General Plan amendment, prezoning, and initiate the annexation application with LAFCo.
The Supplemental EIR is currently at Step 1, Notice of Preparation and Scoping. A Notice of Preparation (NOP) has been prepared and is available for review.
The comment period for the NOP is from July 20, 2020 to August 19, 2020. Comments may be mailed, emailed, or submitted using the form on their website.
Long-time regional environmental champions Mike Eaton and Charity Kenyon have moved from their Delta home and organic farm to the Bay Area. Mike was President of the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS in 1985-86) and went on to serve as Director of the Cosumnes River Preserve for over a decade. As a parting gift to the region, they have donated to ECOS three original Roman Loranc photographs of the Cosumnes River Preserve with the express understanding that we would sell them and use the money to fund the active lawsuits against Elk Grove (see expanded description of lawsuits at the end). Mike and Charity also gave ECOS three Roman Loranc photographic posters with the same understanding.
Consultation with a gallery in the Delta that sells Roman Loranc’s work indicates that the photos are worth between $1500 and $2000 each, the framed poster is worth $500, and the unframed posters are worth $200 each. The gallery would charge a fairly high premium to sell them. We are hoping to make a direct sale to a buyer without having to dilute the return by using a gallery’s services.
If you are willing to pay $1000.00 or more for one of these original photographs, please contact Alexandra Reagan at office[at]ecosacramento[dot]net. We would also be interested in offers on the posters. The photos and the posters will be at the ECOS office if you want to make an appointment to see them.
These photos were taken with a large format (4 x 5) film camera and were developed by hand by the artist himself. They would be a beautiful addition to anyone’s living space, and they are likely a savvy investment in fine art.
Biography of Roman Loranc
Roman Loranc is a living, modern-day master of fine art black and white photography. He was born in the city of Bielsko-Biala, southwestern Poland, in 1956 during the communist era. In 1982, at 26 years of age, he immigrated to Madison, Wisconsin, and in 1984 he moved from the Midwest to Modesto, California. Much of his early, better-known photographic work was created in California’s Central Valley. He moved to Northern California near Mt. Shasta in 2006 where he currently resides.
Before arriving in the United States he did not have access to the high-quality photographic books that are found so readily in America. What he remembers most about the work he saw in Poland was that it had a general dullness to the prints; so when he first saw original works by the great photographers Ansel Adams, the Westons and Morley Baer, he was in awe of the richness of tone, the depth of the blacks and the glowing light that seemed to come from the prints. He immediately knew that this is what he wanted to produce technically with his own work.
Loranc’s first inspiration as a visual artist came from the paintings of Chelmonski, Stanislawski and Pankiewiz. He was drawn to the richness of their work, their sense of drama and use of light and dark. A painter interprets his subject before it is painted, filtering the scene using his skill and artistic sensibility. This was something that he wanted to achieve with his photography.”
He enjoys photographing meditative things, like tule reeds, when the light is soft and just right for such photography. Such smaller intimate subjects, which are often overlooked because of their commonplace nature, he finds to be quietly expressive. He believes that minimizing what is included in the frame not only helps focus the viewer’s attention, but more clearly conveys the message of the photograph.
“I appreciate that light is a messenger,” he says, “revealing the world at every instant.” “The magic of photography is its ability to slice a moment out of time, which you can later hold as a print in your hands. There are special moments when I know that I have connected with something bigger than myself, when I have focused the camera on the essence of my subject. At that moment I feel a fullness that I cannot describe in words. It is a visual experience, and I can only refer you to my finished print to explain the fascination and connection I feel for the place I have photographed.”
Loranc first began photographing river tules at the Nature Conservancy (Consumnes River Preserve) in Galt, part of the Great Central Valley of California. His aim was to show the subtle beauty of the disappearing wetlands. Many people overlook this beauty because it is not easily accessible, but Loranc likes the idea that this area is being preserved more for wildlife than for people. He hopes that when people see his photographs they will want to help protect and preserve these fragile lands. This is the crucial impetus behind his efforts with the camera.
Today, Roman says he faces different challenges than he did many years ago when he first decided to make fine art photography his vocation. Originally, when he began to work solely on photography, he was challenged by not having a secure source of income. Now his biggest challenge is time. It is the essence of everything in life and how we spend it determines our happiness and personal fulfillment.
The work of Roman Loranc is not digital in any respect. Everything is done by his own hand and the toned, silver-gelatin prints he crafts are the final result. A computer display cannot convey everything that he is able to capture in his prints – not the depth or richness of blacks, the sparkle of the highlights, the subtlety of the tonality. There is a presence one feels when standing in front of a hand-printed photograph, it’s as if one can bear witness to the soul of the photographer. The computer display and the hand-printed silver-gelatin print are not equivalents!
Loranc doesn’t follow the traditional theory that one must have all the shades of gray plus complete black and complete white in order to have a great photograph. Each photograph demands a unique print interpretation in order for it to have voice and be compelling. The only thing all great art, including photographs, has in common is the intense passion of the artist for his or her work. Technical skills must be secondary to the overall impression of the photograph because they are craft and great art is more than technical skill. A great photograph is one that is infused with the artist’s passion.
Roman Loranc photographs with a Linhof 4×5 field camera. A good deal of his work is done with a 210mm Nikkor lens. He only uses Kodak Tri-X film, which he stockpiles in a freezer because he feels uncertain what the availability of film may be in the not-to-distant future. He develops his negatives with the Gordon Hutchings PMK formula from Photographer’s Formulary using a Jobo processor and then prints with Ilford glossy paper which is archivally washed, selenium and sepia toned and then archivally dry mounted. All work is done by the artist.
What Are The Two Lawsuits About?
The first is an effort to overturn a Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCo) decision to allow an expanded sphere of influence (SOI) that is the first step for Elk Grove to expand south of its current borders into an area that is invaluable to many of the species that call the Cosumnes River Preserve home. The lower reach of the Cosumnes River floods every seven to ten years inundating large swaths of the Preserve and surrounding areas. Migrants like Sandhill Cranes rely on the important upland habitats south of Elk Grove during these stochastic events, and with climate change and predicted sea level rise the need may be constant. LAFCo made this decision despite the fact that it was clearly evident that there was no demonstrated need for an expanded SOI at this time, and probably not for the next 30 years. LAFCo also completely ignored substantial evidence about the lack of available water.
The second lawsuit challenges Elk Grove’s decision to ignore its Swainson’s Hawk ordinance and allow for mitigation of their Southeast Planning Area to be twenty miles away in an area known to be at the very fringe of the hawk’s usable range in the Central Valley. Essentially Elk Grove wants to allow the destruction of an area that boasts usage by ten pairs of hawks for an area that has only one pair using it. If Elk Grove successfully makes an end run around its Swainson’s hawk ordinance we can expect that they will continue to do so on a regular basis because these mitigation lands are half the price of appropriate lands. Gallery
Part 1: The Photos
Original photograph number 1 – SOLD Description: Photo of a forest at the Cosumnes River Preserve Frame size: 29” x 23” Photo size: 19” x 14 ½”
Original photograph number 2 – SOLD Description: Photo of a foggy forest at the Cosumnes River Preserve Frame size: 22” x 38” Photo size: 16” x 20”
Original photo number 3 Description: Photo of oak trees in water at the Cosumnes River Preserve Frame size: 16” x 20” Photo size: 9 ¼” x 11 ¼”
I hope this letter finds you in good health. I want to highlight some of the Environmental Council of Sacramento’s (ECOS) accomplishments last year, inform you about our plans for the New Year, and ask for your continued financial support—because ECOS would not exist without support from local environmental stewards like you.
We need your support. Please consider becoming a member – better yet with a recurring monthly donation of ten or twenty bucks a month (less than the price of going out to dinner!). You can become a dues-paying member and support our community by clicking here: https://www.ecosacramento.net/membership-account/membership/.
We accomplished a lot in 2018:
· ECOS wins lawsuit securing light rail funding. ECOS secured $40.5 million for the Sacramento Regional Transit Light Rail system by settling our lawsuit challenging the Caltrans Environmental Impact Report for the Capital City Freeway Improvement Project. This money will be used to complete double tracking to Folsom, purchase low floor train cars, and resume evening service on the Gold Line.
· ECOS organizes 29th annual Earth Day. On April 22, 2018, ECOS hosted Sacramento’s annual Earth Day celebration in Southside Park—the largest annual environmental event in Sacramento County. This event now draws over 3,000 visitors to live music, 150 nonprofit and crafts vendor booths, and the largest electric vehicle display and test-drive event in the Sacramento region. Thanks to our partners the Sacramento Electric Vehicle Association and Charge Across Town, some 40 different electric vehicle models were displayed by owners and several hundred test-drives were conducted by regional EV dealers.
· ECOS advocates for underserved communities. In 2018, ECOS advocated for environmental protection in green spaces occupied by Sacramento’s growing homeless population and for expanded homeless services and transitional housing. In addition, ECOS established an Environmental Justice Committee within our organization to identify the priorities of underserved communities and help build networks in support of our mutual environmental interests, including the expansion of public transit, affordable infill housing, and living wages.
· Housing, housing, housing. With the economy continuing to improve, land use projects of increasing size and adverse environmental impact were proposed in Sacramento County last year. If the region does not accommodate the new urban housing market, sprawl will continue, threatening whatever habitat, agriculture and open space is left. So we have also paid a great deal of attention to the intensification of urban development in the region’s cities (Elk Grove, Roseville, Sacramento, Galt, Citrus Heights, West Sacramento, etc.) where the new urban housing market could be focused.
In 2019, ECOS will focus on future transportation funding options, Phase 2 hearings on the California WaterFix, local electric vehicle roll-out, environmental justice group empowerment, and local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act next year. You can support our work by becoming a member: https://www.ecosacramento.net/membership-account/membership/.
As you know, we are a small, local organization that operates on a shoestring budget and depends on the financial support of community members like you. ECOS does a lot with a little: we have an annual budget of just thousands of dollars; with more members and an expanded budget, we can serve the community better. We know you receive requests from many organizations and hope our decades of dedicated community service and proven success earn us a spot on your list. As always, we would be extremely grateful for your support.
Happy New Year!
Earl Withycombe, ECOS Treasurer
P.S. There are many ways to support ECOS. Beyond your annual donation we encourage you to become a monthly sustainer, which give us the financial stability to do more. You can do this by visiting our website (https://www.ecosacramento.net/), and then clicking on “Donate” under “Support ECOS”. We also welcome volunteers for every aspect of our work – you’ll have fun and learn skills as you help our environment. Contact us at office[at]ecosacramento[dot]net.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.