Posted by Saving Our Lakes & Open Spaces (SOLOS)
June 19, 2018
June Update: Development Status; Bond Election Recap; and Celebration in the Works
All Quiet on the Development Front … or at least it seems that way
Hello SOLOS members.
Yes, things are fairly quiet in Rancho Murieta as it pertains to “development.”
Many of you have been asking what is happening, and what is SOLOS working on. Well, although we are working on a lot of “stuff,” the progression of development does appear to be at a standstill. The only development that is going on in our community is the completion of the first phase of homes at the Retreats adjacent to the Country Club. The Retreats development was approved for 84 homes back in 2007 as part of the development project that also includes the hotel, shopping center, and housing behind the shopping center across Jackson Road. So, it appears that the Developers are focused on these activities right now and for the next year, at least.
In the meantime, the application submitted by the Developers (Rancho North Properties) for future development of 795 homes in RM North sits at the Sacramento County Planning Department—incomplete—and there has been nothing submitted towards its completion since January 2017. This application is the one that, if approved, would convert open space now zoned for agriculture to zoning for housing. This approval would then permit the building of 795 houses across 8 different Villages. Half of these houses would be built around our beautiful back lakes, most certainly ruining our unique habitat environment, pristine views, and hiking trails—to say nothing of possibly endangering our water supply and wildlife.
SOLOS is committed to finding a way to acquire the land around our back lakes to create a “preserve” so that this very special area can be protected and enjoyed by all RM residents for many years to come.
So far, the Developers have not been willing to talk directly or seriously about an acquisition; however, we remain confident that at some point that will change.
SOLOS will continue to work on some very important goals in preparation for an eventual land acquisition.
Continue to build our membership from its current 1012 to 2000 individuals.
Continue to engage our local governing organizations, RMA & CSD, to monitor future development activities to make sure all legal documents and regulations are strictly followed.
Prepare for the Notice of Preparation (NOP).
When the Developers’ application sitting unfinished with Sacramento County eventually gets completed, a new NOP has to be issued. An NOP is a public notice stating that the County Planning Department will undertake an Environmental Impact Review to ascertain the impact of the proposed development on the environment.
Twelve (12) areas of impact, such as traffic, noise, air quality, etc., are reviewed, and the Developer must address each area with research-backed information to ensure limited or no negative impact from their housing development. (Many believe this is often a very contentious and subjective process.)
The expected timeline for the whole NOP and EIR process is at least 12 to 18 months. Eventually the EIR will be written and the Planning Department will make its recommendation(s) based on its findings. In most cases, they recommend approval of the development project to the Board of Supervisors, and as we have been told, it is rare when the Sacramento County Board does not approve a housing development application.
Here’s a good question…
What happened to the idea of a bond election to raise money to help the Country Club and purchase the open space land around the lakes?
And here’s the answer…
CSD had a great idea back in January. They proposed that our community look at having a bond election to raise money for a joint proposal between RM Country Club, RMA, CSD, and the Developers to do the following:
Renovate and rejuvenate the Country Club and its two golf courses.
Build a Community Center at the Club that would have an aquatic center, fitness center, restaurant, child care, and community meeting rooms.
Acquire the open space land around the back lakes and create an environmental preserve designed and accessible for all ages.
And, although the details really never got hammered out, the proposal, if passed, was designed to not cost more than $50 per month per household, and would have allowed access to the Community Center and Club, at the Social Member equivalent, for all residents. Golf membership would remain at a higher rate.
So, hopefully, you are thinking as we all did, what happened? Well, it appears that the Country Club did not want to enter into this agreement, and neither did the Developers. The Club claimed they were going to give their new marketing project a chance to increase their membership, believing that would help them deal with their money problems. The Developers asked for $11 million for the land in question, which had only appraised at $4 million, and they did not include two parcels that are the most pristine areas of the open space acreage desired.
So, no further meetings or discussion of the concept has taken place since March.
We at SOLOS are greatly disappointed by this, as we really felt this proposal was a perfect solution for our community and would have created amenities that would have greatly enhanced our community and property values. Maybe the idea will come back for discussion down the road—at least, we are hoping it will.
1000+ Membership Celebration
We are hoping to have a celebration for reaching our goal of 1000 members towards the end of the summer. Watch for more info on this fun occasion!
One of our eagles flying over Lake Clementia, taken by Steve DeMello.
- See you next month!