The Sacramento region has approved too much sprawl already; a reckoning is here

By Tom Philp | March 6, 2024 | The Sacramento Bee

The politics of the Sacramento region have long been fueled by its expansion, with land speculators, developers, builders and trade unions funding political campaigns. But the extraordinary power of this political bloc needs to be checked before they cost the region hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding and blow up Sacramento’s climate goals.

Click here to read the full article: https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article285860766.html#storylink=cpy

Related to inhibiting sprawl, SACOG is tasked with developing a new 25-year housing plan that lowers GHG emissions in Sacramento’s six-county region. The Land Use and Natural Resources Committee of SACOG will receive important new information on the region’s future housing demand on March 7, 2024. To watch a recording of the meeting, go to https://www.sacog.org/meetings/meeting-agendas; Advanced Search – insert meeting date, then see Item History.

Sacramento supervisors are addicted to sprawl. It could cost our region dearly | Opinion by Tom Philp, Dec 7, 2023, The Sacramento Bee

The Sacramento region could lose about $1 billion in state transportation funds in the coming years if it fails to develop a housing/transportation plan that reduces sprawl and increases housing within communities. Yet Sacramento County does not seem to care as it reflexively pushes for more sprawl.

Click here to read the article: https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article281716338.html#storylink=cpy

Why are Sacramento County Supervisors pursuing a lame idea that’s bad for the region? Opinion by Tom Philp, Oct 24, 2023, The Sacramento Bee

An October opinion piece in the Bee states the Sacramento region has already approved more suburban projects than the region will need for the next generation.

“It is time for supervisors to think far more strategically about growth. They must acknowledge that there can only be so much growth and what growth is approved must happen in a way that minimizes congestion and maximizes affordable housing and transit opportunities. Otherwise, it simply doesn’t make sense for the Sacramento County of today. . .

According to the latest SACOG population projections, the entire six-county region is expected to grow by approximately 278,000 between now and 2050. But Sacramento County’s transportation staff is suggesting that nearly half of the region’s entire growth is about to happen in Supervisor Phil Serna’s district.”

Read more at: https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article280893568.html#storylink=cpy

Click here to read the article: https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article280893568.html

Press Release: ECOS launches campaign to save wildlife habitat and farmland in Natomas, Sept 11, 2023

“We think the annual Farm to Fork month, with so many people celebrating the locally grown food in the region, is a perfect time to highlight how important farms are to people and wildlife.” stated Heather Fargo, former Mayor of Sacramento and lead of the Natomas Campaign for the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS).

ECOS is calling on the public to protect Natomas open space and embarking on a major campaign to educate the community about how important the Natomas farmlands and open space are to wildlife in our region and beyond. Natomas is a special place; it is a vital part of the Pacific Flyway and home to 22 protected species, in addition to providing food for our region and the world.

The Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan was established in 1997 to ensure the basin’s natural resources are not lost with the growth of the Natomas community. Unfortunately, loss of these resources is likely to happen because of proposed residential and industrial development projects covering more than 8,200 acres of land intended to remain in agriculture.

The first of those projects is the Airport South Industrial Project, a 450-acre warehouse district proposed for land south of I-5 and adjacent to the West Lake neighborhood in North Natomas. If approved, it would put over 6 million square feet of warehouses on foraging habitat for the endangered Swainson’s Hawk.

“ECOS wants Sacramento to remember the value of open space and farmland as a way to support wildlife and combat climate change. We Sacramentans have a role in protecting one of the Earth’s biodiversity hotspots,” said Fargo.

A new message is on display on a digital billboard along I-5 in downtown Sacramento. It has a simple message – save Sacramento’s wildlife habitat and farmland.

Targeted to those who enjoy the local dining experience offered in the city, it simply says, ““There’s no Farm to Fork without farms” and “Natomas farmlands feed people and wildlife”.

The billboard is timed to coincide with the annual Farm to Fork Festival that includes the Tower Bridge dinner and the street festival on Capital Mall on Sept 22-23.

The billboard kicks off a major new campaign by ECOS, continuing its 50 years of efforts to protect the environment.

“The establishment of the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan was important for regional sustainability thirty years ago. Now with climate change, it is essential that we stop sprawl and protect biodiversity in this area. The NBHCP provided for development on 17, 500 acres, and the proposed projects are outside of that,” said Susan Herre AIA AICP, President of the ECOS Board of Directors.
ECOS is partnering with Sierra Club, Habitat 2020, Audubon Society, Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk and California Native Plant Society.

Map of the Natomas Basin The proposed projects are in red and are labelled.

More information is available on the ECOS website – https://www.ecosacramento.net/

Contacts: Heather Fargo, former Mayor of Sacramento, ECOS Natomas Team Lead: h-fargo[at]comcast[dot]net, (916) 600-6615; and Susan Herre, President of ECOS Board, susanherre[at]gmail[dot]com

The ECOS Mission: Our mission is to achieve regional sustainability, livable communities, environmental justice, and a healthy environment and economy for existing and future residents. ECOS strives to bring positive change to the Sacramento region by proactively working with the individual and organizational members of ECOS, neighborhood groups, and local and regional governments.

Click here for a PDF of this Press Release.

ECOS and Partners Letter re South Airport Industrial annexation proposal in North Natomas, Jul 15, 2021

On July 15, 2021, ECOS, along with Habitat 2020, Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk and the Sierra Club Sacramento Group sent a letter regarding the South Airport Industrial annexation proposal in North Natomas.

Below is an excerpt from our letter.

We urge you to delay consideration of the proposed LAFCo MOU until you have an approved Memorandum of Understanding with the wildlife agencies for the process you will follow to comply with the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (NBHCP) while considering annexation of 450 acres outside your permit area. The NBHCP is a contract between the City and state and federal wildlife agencies that sets the terms of its permits to develop in Natomas. The purpose of the Plan is to preserve the populations of threatened wildlife in the Basin while allowing some City and Sutter County development. This contract states that “Because the effectiveness of the NBHCP’s Operating Program is based upon CITY limiting total development to 8,050 acres within the City’s permit area . . . , approval by either CITY or SUTTER of future urban development outside of their respective Permit Areas would constitute a significant departure from the Plan’s Operating Conservation Program.”

Click here to read the letter in full.


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