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City seeks growth south of Highway 50

Community plan would include schools and town center
By: Don Chaddock Telegraph Managing Editor
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Residents will have a chance in August to give their feedback on plans for the city to expand its borders by more than 3,500 acres, or 5.48 square miles. The “South of 50” project, as it is commonly called, will reach from Highway 50 to White Rock Road, bordered by Prairie City Road in the west and the El Dorado County line in the east. David Miller, Folsom’s Community Development director, said the master planned community is unique in the region. “This is very transit oriented,” Miller said. “The development features a town center, two new fire stations, five elementary schools, a combination middle and high school, a library and two new Highway 50 interchanges.” He said compared to other regional development plans, this one achieves higher air quality standards and higher density for residential needs. “I haven’t seen the commitment to open space or transit in any other regional master plans,” he said. “We have a higher density than any other plan in the … area.” Mayor Jeff Starsky has worked on the project for years, dating back to his time on the city’s planning commission. He said the planned community would essentially be a new city within the existing city. “This (plan) reflects what the residents of the city of Folsom wanted,” Starsky said. “We worked on this 12 years back … and it’s been a project for the 10 years I’ve been on the ... council.” Starsky said those familiar with existing city of Folsom wouldn’t see much of a difference in the new town. “It will very much mirror the city we’ve already built,” Starsky said. “This (project) has 30 percent open space. … I think this is a picture perfect plan.” Residents will be able to give their input at two upcoming forums. The first is a workshop and open house from 5 to 7 p.m., Aug. 2, at the Folsom Community Center, 52 Natoma St. Residents will be able to view the Specific Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report. The second opportunity will be a public hearing at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 4, at City Hall, 50 Natoma St. According to City Manager Kerry Miller, there is still a lot of work to do. “We need a revenue sharing agreement with the county,” he said. “That will almost be happening concurrently with the (report) adoption.” The new community is expected to be built out over two decades and be self-supporting, according to Starsky. “This annexation will ensure the viability of the city for the next 25 years,” Starsky said. “In large part, (development) will be driven by the economy. The key for Folsom is to be prepared for when the next economic cycle takes off.” According to Assistant City Manager Evert Palmer, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments identified the land south of Highway 50 as prime growth area. “We’ve gone through a number of citizen-involved (processes),” Palmer said. Water will be provided through an agreement with the Natomas Central Mutual Water Company and will not impact existing supply, according to Kerry Miller. According to David Miller, an application to the Local Agency Formation Commission should be made by the end of the year. The deadline for written comments has been extended to Sept. 10. Mail comments to Gail Furness de Pardo, City of Folsom Community Development Dept., 50 Natoma St., Folsom, CA 95630 or via e-mail to gdepardo@folsom.ca.us.