Tag Archives: new

New bridge to Southport set to open on December 5

The new bridge is sited off to the right in this modified City map. It will cross the barge canal from South River Road from the north. Eventually, it will connect with Village Parkway. Construction may start on that extension sometime after mid-summer of next year.

The new bridge is sited off to the right in this modified City map. It will cross the barge canal from South River Road from the north.
Eventually, it will connect with Village Parkway. Construction may start on that extension sometime after mid-summer of next year.

NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 12, 2014 —

West Sacramento officials have set the date for a ribbon-cutting of the new Mike McGowan Bridge:

December 5, at 10 a.m.

The bridge will add an alternative connection across the barge canal, particularly for Southport residents used to using the Stone Lock Bridge on Jefferson Boulevard.

Initially, the bridge will connect South River Road from near the freeway to the Marina Greens Drive area in Southport. A later project will build a direct connection to Village Parkway.

Construction crews working under contractor C.C. Myers, Inc., were at work on the surface of the Mike McGowan Bridge last Tuesday. (News-Ledger photo)
Construction crews working under contractor C.C. Myers, Inc., were at work on the surface of the Mike McGowan Bridge last Tuesday. (News-Ledger photo)

The bridge is 615 feet long and about 80 feet wide. It will have room for a 12-foot lane each direction, bike lanes, a median, and separated walkways (with room for another striped lane later. It will feature half-circle pedestrian overlooks and a gold steel hand-railing.

It’s named after former mayor Mike McGowan.

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Check out open-house & take a walking tour of replacement bridge site

The historic I Street Bridge serves train traffic on the lower level and autos and pedestrians above. It's at the end of its lifespan, and is slated to be replaced by a new bridge slightly to the north, connecting West Sacramento's "Washington" area to the Sacramento Railyards region. (News-Ledger photo)

The historic I Street Bridge serves train traffic on the lower level and autos and pedestrians above. It’s at the end of its lifespan, and is slated to be replaced by a new bridge slightly to the north, connecting West Sacramento’s “Washington” area to the Sacramento Railyards region. (News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 17, 2014 —

The cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento have plans to replace the 103-year old I Street Bridge with a “new low-level, neighborhood-friendly bridge upstream” that will “provide better access for bicycles and pedestrians, and serve motorists more efficiently,” they report.

The project is entering “environmental assessment” phase.

You’re invited to an open house from 3:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9, at the Stanford Gallery, 111 I Street in Sacramento.

The public workshop includes a 5:30 p.m. walking tour of about a mile on mostly-paved roads.

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West Sac: odd/even watering days and other new rules approved

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 13, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

As California’s drought continues, the state has tightened up its rules required the City of West Sacramento to follow.

On Wednesday (Aug. 6), West Sacramento declared a “water shortage emergency, stage two.” Local residents and business owners are still being asked to cut their water use by 20 percent from last year, and a number of “voluntary” conservation measures are now becoming “mandatory.”

But staff and several city council members said at last week’s council meeting that they hope they’re not creating a culture of informing on neighbors, and a climate of punishment. They’d rather see neighbors helping each other fix faulty sprinkler systems than informing on each other.

“We will only issue penalties after the third or subsequent violation,” said Paulina Benner, the city’s environmental services manager, at the meeting. “The first two notices will simply be notices informing people of a violation.”
(Some information for this article was taken from video of that meeting.)

The city will do “outreach” informing people of the new rules – using the city “iLights” newsletter,” a printed newsletter, information in residents’ utility bills, social media and press releases,” said Benner.

She said the city government itself is trying to “lead by example.”

“We’re implementing some additional conservation measures such as drastic cutbacks in landscape irrigation and closure of our ‘splash park’ (at the city recreation center pool in Southport), and we’re reducing our street sweeping frequency,” said Benner.

She said those measures are saving over five million gallons per month, or enough to serve about 670 residents.

At Wednesday’s meeting, city officials noted that they have posted signs on street medians and other public-owned property where green grass is being allowed to go brown, explaining that the City of West Sacramento is deliberately reducing its watering.

MARK JOHANNESSEN, City Council Member   (News-Ledger file photo)

MARK JOHANNESSEN, City Council Member
(News-Ledger file photo)

Councilman Mark Johannessen acknowledged this, but added, “I know staff is making sure we at least keep the trees alive.”

Johannessen also suggested using water bills to give residents more information about their water use and about how to conserve it:

“We don’t have water meters throughout the city and there’s really no way to tell who’s using what unless you’ve got a water meter in,” said Johannessen. But he suggested letting metered homes know what they’re using and what they’re being asked to save, and telling them “here’s how you do it – you put a brick in your toilet, and those things.”

The city now has a tip line for messages about water wasters. It’s at (916) 617-4545.

Councilwoman Beverly Sandeen said she hoped the community would come together to save water:

“My hope is that when this gets announced tomorrow and subsequent days, people come together,” said Sandeen. Instead of having the first thing they do be to go to their phones to report their neighbors, they’ll actually knock on the (neighbor’s) door and say ‘Do you need help? I know how to change the timer (on your sprinkler system).’”

The new rules are:
— Using potable (drinkable) water for washing sidewalks and driveways is prohibited.
— Using potable water for washing streets and parking lots is prohibited.
— Using potable water to wash down buildings or to cool building roofs is prohibited.
— Watering of lawns or landscaping between noon and 6:00 p.m. is prohibited.
— Outdoor watering limited to an odd/even schedule. Customers with street addresses that end in an odd number may only irrigate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Customers with street addresses that end in an even number may only irrigate on Wednesday, Fridays, and Sundays. No irrigation is permitted on Mondays.
— Washing a motor vehicle using a hose without a shut-off nozzle is prohibited.
— Using drinkable water in a fountain or other decorative water feature is prohibited unless the water is part of a recirculating system.
— Using drinking water to water outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff to adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots or structures is prohibited.

The suggestions become “law” on September 5, reports the city clerk.

Tip line: (916) 617-4545 (leave a message with information about water being wasted)

For more information, go to cityofwestsacramento.org/water.

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West Sac looks at tightening zoning rules for gun shops

NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 9, 2014 —

TWO GUN BUSINESS OWNERS SAY PROPOSED RULES ARE ACCEPTABLE —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento’s planning commission on June 19 approved a tightening of the permitted locations for gun shops in the city. But those restrictions were made with the approval of a couple of gun-related local business owners.

As David Tilley, the city’s principal planner, told the commission members:

“We are proposing that they become a ‘conditional use’ in our business park, limited industrial, light industrial and heavy industrial zones, and that we take them out of our community commercial, central business district, waterfront and mixed-use zones.”

(Comments here are taken from the City of West Sacramento’s video of the meeting.)

As a “conditional use” in any of these zones, gun and ammo sales would need city approval on a case-by-case basis.

Lieutenant David Delaini of the West Sacramento Police Department expressed his support for the changes.

One of two people in the local firearms trade to speak at the public hearing was Brent Dawson, who described himself as a disabled veteran and business owner of American Tactical Outfitters. That business was formerly on Northport Drive in an industrial part of West Sacramento.

Dawson said he had used to operate under the rules of a firearms “broker” –  with with no gun inventory on hand. He’s now seeking a larger location that would, in part, sell guns it kept in stock. Dawson said the new zoning seems to give him enough real estate options to find such a location.

State and federal governments already “regulate all aspects” of firearm sales, said Dawson, before voicing his support for the new zoning rules.

Dawson raised concerns that another West Sacramento business – Aim U Nation, in an industrial part of Southport – may not be in compliance with city rules. As a stand-alone retail shop that sells guns, ammo and other things, the business may not qualify as one that sells firearms only as an “accessory use” as listed.

Ken Garrett, an owner of Aim U Nation and the separate All Phase Security business, was on hand at the meeting. He said that he, too, supported the proposed zoning changes. He told the commission that his business “may not be in compliance,” but “we’re willing to take steps now.”

Planner David Tilley said the new zoning rules may clarify things and “provide a path” for Aim U Nation to solve any local licensing trouble.

Several planning commission members had comments on the issue before they voted.

Commissioner Russ Leibig gave an “aside” about Aim U Nation:

“I have a hard time seeing (firearms) as an accessory use today,” he said. “Especially with the ad that’s in even our local paper today, the primary use seems to be firearms sales, ammunition sales, and then training. . . Moving forward, maybe we can get them into this permitting process and in compliance.”

Commission member Jeremy Olsen wondered if the zoning was too strict – never allowing firearms sales as an automatically “permitted” use, and always requiring city approval of a “conditional use” permit:

“There’s no zoning designation here where it’s not ‘conditional,’” said Olsen. “If a Cabela’s or large retailer was looking to site a retail location in our town, I’m afraid they would look at it and get the wrong idea.”

Colleague Charlie Moore talked about Aim U Nation’s possible need to get into city compliance, saying “I’m just trying to make sure we’re not putting somebody out of business.”

Tilley assured Olsen that only the gun-related portion of a Cabala’s store would need a conditional use permit, and told Moore staff was communicating with Aim U Nation and trying to help that business work within the rules.

The commission approved the proposed zoning changes, and the matter will now head to the city council.

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West Sac voters will face $49.8 million school bond in November

Local school district doesn’t plan to build any news schools, but does hope to pay for some repairs and upgrades at West Sacramento campuses

— NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 2, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento voters will be asked to approve a $49.8 million school bond on the November 4 general election ballot.

If the bond measure earns the required 55 percent voter approval, it will help fund the local school district’s laundry list of needed capital improvements –possible items such as fire systems, wheelchair access ramps, heating and ventilation units, windows, paving and security systems.

A motion to place the bond on the November ballot passed 4-0 at last Thursday’s meeting of the Washington Unified School District board of trustees. The action needed all four “yes” votes to take effect – and board member Alicia Cruz overcame her initial reluctance to support a 2014 bond and eventually provided the needed fourth vote.

Board member Adam Menke was absent from the meeting. Cruz joined fellow trustees Katie Villegas, Mary Leland and Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez in supporting the bond.

MARY LELAND: ‘community will support this bond’ (News-Ledger file photo)

MARY LELAND:
‘community will support this bond’
(News-Ledger file photo)

Board member Mary Leland was the first of the group to speak up after hearing a staff presentation on the proposed school bond. She noted that the bond would pay for campus safety measures and “ADA,” or “Americans with Disabilities Act,” compliance.

“I’ve been very anxious to see this on the agenda,” commented Leland at the meeting. “The community is willing to support this bond, and safety is very highly rated on their list. . . In addition, we’re not going to be able to provide career and college readiness if our facilities aren’t up to date.”

“I admit I as on the fence, going back and forth wondering if this was the right time,” added board colleague Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez.

SARAH KIRBY- GONZALEZ:  ‘let the voters’ decide’ (News-Ledger file photo)

SARAH KIRBY-
GONZALEZ:
‘let the voters’ decide’
(News-Ledger file photo)

She called for a “carefully thought-out” bond expenditure plan and warned that “it’s important to realize the bond will not fix everything.” The bond money would pay for about a quarter of the district’s capital improvements costs, said Kirby-Gonzalez.

Trustee Katie Villegas, who as a private citizen headed up a previous WUSD school bond measure, recalled that running a bond campaign is “a ton of work.” That bond paid for the new River City High School campus.

“I literally ran that high school bond day to day from my garage,” she said. “We’re at a time now where we need to make some investments, particularly in the north area, in our aging schools.”

Alicia Cruz, chairing the meeting, initially dissented.

“I don’t feel this is the right time for a bond,” she said, earning a bout of polite persuasion from her colleagues on the board.

ALICIA CRUZ: school board member was reluctant to support this bond (News-Ledger file photo)

ALICIA CRUZ: school board member was reluctant to support this bond
(News-Ledger file photo)

Her colleagues seemed to agree that waiting for the higher turnout of a 2016 presidential election might give the bond a better chance to pass.

“But can our district wait that  much time?” asked Villegas.  At one point, Villegas added:

“This isn’t for building a new high school or anything. This is basic stuff. Have you been to Bryte (Elementary School) lately? It’s horrible.”

Kirby-Gonzalez spoke for the majority when she suggested the board simply vote to put the bond on the November ballot, and then see what West Sacramento voters have to say about it.

“I would argue that we just put it out there,” she said. “We put it out there and let them make a choice.”

Cruz detailed one of her objections, which was to the lengthy list of possible projects that bond money could be spent on.

“What scares me is the list of items the bond will cover,” said Cruz. “I think it’s voluminous. I don’t think it’s specific.”

KATIE VILLEGAS:  campaign will be  ‘a ton of work’ (News-Ledger file photo)

KATIE VILLEGAS:
campaign will be
‘a ton of work’
(News-Ledger file photo)

But despite having “that feeling in your gut that says this is not the thing,” concluded Cruz, she eventually agreed to provide the needed fourth vote.

Why?

“Because I am part of a team and I know the district needs this,” she told her colleagues.

The per-household cost of the bond has been estimated downward. The bond resolution capped the cost at $60 per year for every $100,000 in property value, but the board was advised last week that the actual cost would be about $39 annually for every $100,000 in property value. A $300,000 home, therefore, would be taxed around $117 per year over the life of the bond repayment.

The school district conducted a public survey in February to gauge public support for a 2014 bond.

“Although the results were positive, it was clear that a bond campaign would be needed to ensure the public was aware of the need for facility funding that exceeded both (WUSD’s) and the State’s capacity,” noted a district staff report.

The community has a mixed record of supporting school bond measures.

In other business, the school board was briefed on the school district’s budget. The big picture view of the budget is that WUSD is recovering from several years of deficit spending as the State of California’s finances improve. The local district is, to some degree, repairing and rebuilding programs.

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June in West Sac: one food plant breaks ground, another expands

FROM LEFT: Mayor Christopher Cabaldon; TOMRA C.E.O. Stefan Ranstrand of Norway; Dr. Volker Rehrmann of Germany, head of TOMRA Sorting; Ashley Hunter, TOMRA Senior V.P. in Belgium and Sacramento (courtesy of TOMRA Sorting Solutions)
FROM LEFT: Mayor Christopher Cabaldon; TOMRA C.E.O. Stefan Ranstrand of Norway; Dr. Volker Rehrmann of Germany, head of TOMRA Sorting; Ashley Hunter, TOMRA Senior V.P. in Belgium and Sacramento
(courtesy of TOMRA Sorting Solutions)

NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 25, 2014 —

Two days after city officials helped break ground for the 28,000 Shinmei U.S.A. rice bun plant in the Southport Business Park, they helped celebrate a new plant for TOMRA Sorting on Wednesday (June 18) in northern West Sacramento.

The new 60,000-square foot TOMRA Sorting plant at 875 Embarcadero Drive (near Reed Avenue) replaces the company’s former 42,000-square foot building on Seaport Boulevard. The plant includes the “latest technology for sorting nuts, such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios,” reports a spokesperson.

The facility handles fresh and processed foods, and a laboratory to test for aflatoxins.

West Sacramento officials are pursuing a future as a food industry hub; Mayor Christopher Cabaldon has called for the city to become the “Silicon Valley of food.”

Over 50 people work at the West Sacramento plant, the international company reports.

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Yolo County appoints new planning boss, merges several departments

NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 18, 2014 —

From Beth Gabor, County of Yolo

Yolo County Administrator Patrick Blacklock has announced the appointment of Lautaro “Taro” Echiburu as director of the newly configured Department of Planning, Public Works & Environmental Services.

Lautaro ‘Taro’ Echiburu (courtesy of County of Yolo)

Lautaro ‘Taro’ Echiburu
(courtesy of County of Yolo)

As of July 1, the division of Environmental Health will merge with the divisions of Planning and Building, Public Works and Integrated Waste Management to form the Department of Planning, Public Works and Environmental Services.  For the next six months, Environmental Health will remain in its current location at 137 N. Cottonwood Street in Woodland.  In 2015, it will join Planning and Building, located at 292 W. Beamer Street in Woodland, to provide its customers a more efficient process for permit applications.

Since 2003, Echiburu has served as planning director, interim planning director and special projects/long range/environmental planning manager for the City of Elk Grove.  Prior to that, he was an associate planner with the County of Monterey.

“In addition to his planning expertise, Taro’s background, skills and passion for Yolo County will help us continue to grow and strengthen our long term goal to protect open space and the environment,” said Yolo County Administrator Patrick Blacklock in a Yolo press release.

Echiburu holds a bachelor’s degree in marine science from Universidad Católica del Norte in Chile and a master’s degree in international environmental policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey California.

“I am honored to have been selected director of Planning, Public Works & Environmental Services,” said Taro Echiburu in a press statement.  “As a Yolo County resident, I am eager to begin working with the county, and am excited to lead the department following the recent consolidation of functions.”

Echiburu will assume his new responsibilities on June 30.  The annual salary range for this position is $133,704 – $162,516.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014