FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 30, 2014 –
By Steve Marschke
About 75 citizens attended a meeting Monday evening to provide input on the West Sacramento’s long-range “general plan,” and to make comments four specific planning projects. Hosted by the city’s planning department, the workshop took place in the community center on West Capitol Avenue.
Several residents asked questions and showed concern about new growth bringing about more traffic problems, and about the city’s level of protection from floods.
Mayor Christopher Cabaldon attended briefly.
“The general plan, as you’ll hear, is one of the most important plans we have in the city,” Cabaldon told the crowd. “It is a long-term plan. It goes to 2035 – but that doesn’t mean nothing is going to happen until July of 2034.”
He asked participants at the workshop to envision the city they want.
“What do you want this place to be like, in value-based terms?,” Cabaldon asked. “What do you want your neighborhoods to be like?”
The mayor himself said the future city ought not to be “all residential suburbs” or “just rural, with horses,” but ought to be combined of different elements, including housing opportunities for the different stages of life.
West Sacramento’s city manager for the past two years is Martin Tuttle, a former executive with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). Tuttle talked to the crowd about the “Blueprint,” a six-county regional guide to future development.
The Blueprint aims to promote transit-oriented development, encouraging compact growth near transportation options and attempting to avoid sprawl into farmlands.
“This community has incredible assets,” said Tuttle of West Sacramento, including “the port area, the riverfront and the emerging downtown area. . . You really are seeing more compact development, more development near transit. When we started ‘Blueprint,’ Sacramento was on its way to 35 miles per day of driving per person. Now it’s around 21 miles.”
David Tilley, the city’s senior planner, explained that the general plan contains a number of distinct elements – most mandated by the state. The plan includes a “preferred land use alternative,” a climate change plan and other elements.
“Our general plan will keep the child care element (in) and also have a ‘healthy communities’ element,” reported Tilley. Cities are required to create a general plan and update it periodically.
He introduced the four specific project areas being shown off at the workshop, inviting residents to look at drawings, chat with staff and leave comments, which staff would try to tabulate afterward.
The “Stone Lock District,” he said, surrounds the barge canal near Jefferson Boulevard, and includes the bluffs known as “Honda Hills” often used by motorcyclists.
“This is roughly 210 acres,” said Tilley. “It could be ripe for a master plan of some sort.”
An earlier plan to jointly develop Stone Lock with the Cordish Company expired during the economic downturn.
“Seaway” includes about 300 acres west of Lowe’s, on Port of West Sacramento property along Southport Parkway. It has been zoned for industrial and business park uses.
“It’s on the table,” Tilley said. “We want to hear what you think is best for the community.”
The “Liberty Specific Plan” is the only one of the four projects with a working developer on board. The acreage is east of the Clarksburg Trail in Southport, between Linden Road to the north and Davis Road to the south. It could hold up to 1,900 residential units.
“This is the last major piece in Southport that’s unentitled,” said Tilley.
Lastly mentioned was “Pioneer Bluffs.”
“This is the area along South River Road south of 15th Street, going down to where it presently dead-ends.”
This stretch is home to “legacy uses,” said Tilley, including the city’s old wastewater treatment plant and industrial uses including petroleum “tank farms.”
“It’s been long-planned to transition to mixed-use, but the question is how do we do that,” said Tilley. “It’s likely to be served by not one, but two new bridges: the South River Road Bridge, and another, perhaps in the area of 15th Street, crossing from Sacramento.”
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