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Plans to develop 750 acres of Rancho Murieta North were announced Thursday by the Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers and Murietan John Sullivan, long rumored to be in negotiations with the PTF to buy the land.

In a brief announcement at the conclusion of a Community Services District board workshop, Sullivan said he hoped to bring the county an application by mid-year "for all the remaining subdivisions and all the remaining units for Rancho Murieta" -- about 700 lots.

Sullivan said his plans call for initial development of about 110 acres between Murieta Parkway and the Fairways, about 180 acres between the Fairways and the Cosumnes River and about 72 acres between Lake Chesbro, Lake Clementia and Bass Lake. 


The first planned development areas surround the existing Fairways neighborhood.  This development map from a decade ago calls the areas The Terrace, River Canyon Estates and The Highlands.

"We're just going to do  a bunch of villages so that everybody understands what type and style of lot is where and what density is where, and what the housing types look like," Sullivan said. "We're talking about housing types that range from triplex manor homes all the way up to multiple-acre estate lots."

Sullivan said his group didn't intend to build, just get the necessary approvals and prepare the land for builders.

The most distant land, to the east and north of Lake Clementia, will be handled differently, he said.

“The sensitive area on the east side of Clementia going all the back to around Calero, those areas had some really high densities on the original Rancho Murieta master plan. ... Those are just a practical impossibility ... (with) too many conflicts with Lake Clementia reservoir and drainage and Lake Jean ... and the cost of running extended facilities out to the Calero back lake is not something that needs to be contemplated in an improvement plan today…" Sullivan said.

Sullivan, a longtime Murietan, called Lake Jean, a small lake east of Lake Clementia, one of the gems of Rancho Murieta that needs to be preserved and protected.

The Pension Trust Fund was represented by Michael Hamilton, an asset manager with New York Life Investment in San Francisco, which manages the PTF's pension assets, including the ranch land bought in the late 1960s that has been developed into Rancho Murieta.

In response to a question, Sullivan said the property transfer hasn't taken place yet, but he encouraged the CSD board to join him in discussions in February around water and sewer service for the land.  He said he hoped it could be wrapped up in four to six weeks, but it may not be that simple.

Sullivan currently trying to get the board to agree to a services and fee agreement for another project, Murieta Gardens, which includes a hotel, instead of participating in a financing and services agreement with other developers for water treatment plant expansion and other facilities.

As for Thursday's proposal, he said he believed annexation into the Rancho Murieta Association would have to allow developers to control the architectural review process.

"We've started the discussion with RMA about how to bring everything together …" he said.  "We've said that we don't think there's a conflict of us being annexed. We just need you to understand that architectural review needs to be the developer's purview and not RMA's. I don't think that's a stumbling block that's going to kill annexation."

John Sullivan, left, and Michael Hamilton delivered their announcement informally.

As for CSD's reaction, General Manager Ed Crouse said Friday, "We have to take a hard look at the lot types and what they plan and make sure the county and the community are on board before we make a firm commitment on water supply."

Any development would be subject to terms of a development agreement the RMA signed a decade ago.

The agreement gave RMA title to community parks, provided $1.4 million for a new North Gate, and required new developments to be part of a central homeowners association with CC&Rs that mirror RMA's, to pay full RMA dues and contribute to community parks funding.

Development plans were announced for the North in 2000, prompting years of community opposition.  In 2006, the PTF turned its back on those plans, but two projects, with a total of 282 homes, came out of that process and won county approval for development.  The poor housing market has kept the lid on new home construction, however.

There have been rumors for years of PTF interest in selling its remaining land here.  In 2010, the PTF went to the extreme of taking out an online ad to showcase the land to potential buyers.  The land for sale included the Country Club, which has a lease that doesn't expire until 2028.

Sullivan's announcement didn't mention the Country Club or Operating Engineers' Training Center, which were included in the PTF pitch in 2010.  The Country Club has repeatedly said a sale would only be a change of landlords, since its lease has many years to run.

Candy Chand's picture
Joined: 08/15/2007
Posts: 304
Post rating: 811


Due to the number of calls I've received about the remote possibility of development happening anytime soon , I'll post my response here. :) 

Please remember, in the midst of developer bravado, the last projects pitched by developers took more than 8 years to be approved at the County level.

8 Years.

Then, after approval, most of those projects went into default. 

So, if this project is pitched to the county, it will take many years to be approved. Before the hearings, there will be multiple years of environmental review--both state and federal.

While something may be built in Murieta, eventually, the thought Murieta will receive buildout in any of our lifetimes is ...well, it's just not gonna happen.

Some things just don't pencil out. The other developers (with far more experience) gave up due to far more than the economy.

As for the Drinking Water Treatment plant, it will cost developers millions, before they can construct a single house (even models)  Thank you, again, to Ed Crouse.

While Mr. Crouse and I have not always agreed, he has stood strong over the years, despite developer pressure (both then and now) that NO development can ever be constructed without a new water plant for drinking water-- both funded and built.  Go Ed!

FYI: A draft, or even a signed, financial service agreement (FSA) does not constitute payment, nor does it build a plant. It's worthy of note: Several financial agreements have been signed in the past, by multiple developers, and, yet, their check has never managed to arrive in the mail. :) 

Bottom line: this is just more of the same. Enjoy the beautiful weather :) 

Candy Chand

955 2027

Jen Cooper's picture
Joined: 06/06/2012
Posts: 72
Post rating: 96

I agree with Candy and support Ed

My concern is this:  "Sullivan said his group didn't intend to build, just get the necessary approvals and prepare the land for builders."

If he means that his primary goal is to close off access to that entire side of RM and start the process of leveling and grading well before there is someone to buy the land from him and build a home on it it would place us in a not so wonderful position (look at the large empty lots in Anatolia etc.)

Lastly has any one called the county heritage oaks board?   I know that we have a piece of land out side of RM that has a "heritage oak" on it and it has created some conflict in land use, even for grazing and farming, let alone the pain it was to build a well house.  I know that there are quite a few trees that should be looked at before someone gets to them with a bulldozer. 


Bunky Svendsen's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 165
Post rating: 210

There goes our undeveloped river.

It was nice while it lasted...but I am afraid our access to the beautiful Consumnes River will be ending soon. You thought that new gate preventing access to the river on the north was bad?.....you havent seen anything! Be thankful for the cart path(and river view) that was provided in order to access the bridge between north and south.....because that's all that's going to be left. Hopefully the developers will have in their hearts a plan to provide open space and access to the river (from both sides) for all residents. If not. no such plan should be approved.

Bunky Svendsen's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 165
Post rating: 210

protect the oaks and the river wild life

There are hundreds of oaks along the north side of the Consumnes river that are in danger from this development from what I see. NO mitagation plan could replace them. The wildlife in that area is spectacular. Residents....be ready for a fight.

Candy Chand's picture
Joined: 08/15/2007
Posts: 304
Post rating: 811

Thanks, Jen. Don't be

Thanks, Jen.

Don't be concerned about trees being cut, or land bulldozed, now. It won't happen for many year--if ever. 

Yes, be ready for a fight, but land changes can't happen quickly. It's not possible.

What Sullivan is referring to, regarding preparing the land, is getting approvals at the county level. Right now, the land is unapproved for development, and is still zoned Ag.

If the land were bulldozed or trees cut before approval, there would be more than county sanctions, but state and federal. This is a very lengthy process--It will take many, many years.

Again, the other Murieta development projects (with far more seasoned developers) took 8 years for approval. Then, 5 years after that, the land still remains dormant. (yep, 13 years)  Most of those developers went into bankruptcy.

While it's good to prepare for a battle, understand most of the developers are more talk than action. While some property may be built--some day-- I'm convinced, most of that land will never be constructed.

There are far more obstacles than the economy and water. :)


Candy Chand

955 2027

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