Roberta MacGlashan became Rancho Murieta's county supervisor when redistricting moved the community out of Don Nottoli's district.
Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan introduced herself to the community and provided an update on recent county actions at a meeting Thursday night at the Rancho Murieta Association Building. Much of the meeting was devoted to answering questions about development plans for Rancho Murieta.
After an informal meet-and-greet at the meeting room entrance, MacGlashan moved to the front to address the group, which eventually totaled about 15 people, including some from outside Rancho Murieta.
MacGlashan was introduced by Glen Craig, a former Sacramento County sheriff who is a longtime resident of Rancho Murieta. Craig said he was sheriff when MacGlashan was involved in the planning effort for the incorporation of Citrus Heights and served on its city council.
“We provided the police services for Citrus Heights when they were first incorporated,” Craig said. “While we haven’t always agreed on every issue ... she has an open mind. She will listen. She’s always available for you to make your point and, if she doesn’t agree, she’ll tell you. ... We had a great representative in Don Nottoli. ... I think she is up to the task. ”
After a half-hour presentation by MacGlashan, the meeting was opened up to questions and it turned into a discussion about the history of opposition to development plans the supervisors have approved for Rancho Murieta.
The following topics were discussed at the session, which lasted more than two hours.
MacGlashan explained how redistricting had moved Rancho Murieta to District 4 from Supervisor Don Nottoli’s district.
Redistricting is based on census numbers, she said, adding, “The redistricting process was difficult this time because the changes were so dramatic compared to 10 years ago.” Due mainly to Elk Grove’s growth, Nottoli’s district had to lose about 70,000 people to achieve the goal of making each district roughly equal in size, about 280,000 people, MacGlashan explained.
“We decided that we should try to keep all communities whole ... I believe that was a good decision,” she said. Keeping Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova whole meant moving district boundaries, which meant MacGlashan’s district gained the communities of Rancho Murieta and Rio Linda/Elverta and lost the community of Fair Oaks.
MacGlashan said District 4 has a tradition of community meetings that she has continued since her election to the Board of Supervisors in 2004. She offered this as an option for Rancho Murieta and asked the audience to complete a survey about having meetings and how often to schedule them. “That’s one of the things I’m here to find out,” she said.
People were also asked to provide their email address “only for the purpose of being able to contact you personally if we’re scheduling a meeting out here or for important county announcements,” she said. MacGlashan said she usually has a guest speaker at the community meetings and noted, “In January, I’m having the new county executive come out and speak at each of my meetings.”
General plan and growth
In her opening remarks, MacGlashan, who holds an advanced degree in city and regional planning, said, “I’m a planner by profession,” and later in the meeting, she emphasized “smart growth” in talking about the new general plan the supervisors expect to adopt at their meeting Wednesday.
“When they have a headline that we gave the green light for the development of 20,000 acres, that just simply was not correct,” MacGlashan said in response to a question. “All of our meetings are available on video if you want to see that for yourself. ... What we are set to adopt next week is a set of criteria that an applicant would have to meet for new development, for us to even consider them for new development. ... Contrary to what has been written in the local press, we have not approved -- with the exception of an infill area in North Highlands -- any new areas for new development.”
The agenda and meeting documents for Wednesday’s board meeting and previous board meetings are available here.
The general plan update web site is here.
Rancho Murieta development
During the last hour of the meeting, some members of the audience revisited opposition to development plans for Murieta North that were approved by the supervisors in 2007. Realizing it was “obviously still an important issue out here,” MacGlashan said she had reviewed the planning documents for the Retreat and Residences of Murieta Hills projects.
“I just want to explain to you why I voted the way I did, and I believe I did the right thing at the time,” she told the group. “...The project that a majority of the board approved was a very different project than the original applications and a very different project than the Rancho Murieta master plan allowed. ... There were many, many changes to the projects along the way, and to the conditions of approval, and that all led to a better project. ... With fewer units, it saved a lot more tree canopy, it cut way down on the amount of grading that would be required....”
Resident Don Sams responded, “From a planning standpoint, I would just go back and say, the original thought was a total piece of junk, and what came to pass was a modified piece of junk.”
Sams’ daughter, Julie, a former Rancho Murieta Association director, called the Mutual Benefit Agreement, a 2003 development agreement between the RMA and the Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers, “a boondoggle of a boondoggle.”
MacGlashan fielded audience questions and criticism about development. Julie Sams posted maps and other documents and referred to development plans for "cookie-cutter houses." Others in the audience called the environmental impact review for the projects flawed and said a new master plan should have been prepared before any projects were approved.
Sams maintained the community doesn’t have enough water to support development. “Nobody did the water math,” she said.
The supervisors authorized an independent peer review of the Rancho Murieta Community Services District water and wastewater planning in 2007. When it was presented to the board last year, Supervisor Don Nottoli termed it “a very, very important step as a precursor to doing a master plan update at some future date.”
None of the projects approved by the county for the next phase of development in Rancho Murieta have been built. “Subdivision maps don’t live forever,” MacGlashan said. “...If the developer doesn’t complete the final map, which means complying with all the conditions of approval, at a certain point, that map goes away. It doesn’t look to me like it’s going to happen any time soon.”
MacGlashan was introduced by Glen Craig, former county sheriff and a longtime Murietan.
“The county continues to have budget challenges,” MacGlashan told the group. “From 2007-08, which is the first year we really had to start cutting, through the 2011-12 budget, we’ve cut $150 million from our general fund budget. ... It’s now $475 million. We went from having over 14,000 employees to a little over 11,000 employees. I mean, we have made really serious cuts over the years at the same time while we’re trying to maintain basic services for our residents and as other costs go up. And that’s the general fund. There are many other funds. The county budget’s a very complicated thing.”
MacGlashan said her top priority is public safety -- the Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office, the Probation Department. “Not that we haven’t had to cut them, because we’ve had to cut everything,” she said. She added that she’s never supported a tax increase. “That’s never been an option in this budget process,” she said.
She said Sacramento County received the largest COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) grant for two years in a row from the Department of Justice, adding 50 deputies last year and 25 more this year.
There were 19 labor contracts set to expire this year and the county had nothing to offer, McGlashan said. The contracts were negotiated without salary or benefit increases “and we have achieved pension reform,” she said. The pension changes apply to new hires and MacGlashan predicted they will save the county “hundreds of millions of dollars in the years to come.”
Realignment -- the shift of responsibilities from the state to the counties -- is another challenge. “The problem is that there is just never enough money that goes along with it for us to run these programs,” MacGlashan said.
MacGlashan made contact information for her office available at the meeting:
Roberta MacGlashan, supervisor: firstname.lastname@example.org; (916) 874-5491
Ted Wolter, chief of staff: email@example.com; (916) 874-5491
OJ Platt, special assistant for constituent services: firstname.lastname@example.org; (916) 874-5491
Vangie Schoening, secretary: email@example.com; (916) 874-5491