We recently released draft copies of the key planning and environmental documents that set the stage for Folsom’s growth south of Highway 50 over the next quarter century. I encourage you to share your comments on the draft Specific Plan and Environmental Impact Report (EIR). These documents represent a significant step in the annexation process. I hope you will join us for next week’s public meetings. First is an informational open house and public workshop from 5 to 7 p.m., Aug. 2, at the Community Center. Second is a public hearing at the Folsom Planning Commission meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 4, in Council Chambers at City Hall. The Specific Plan is the guiding planning document for the 3,510-acre annexation area. It reflects what local voters told us they wanted when they passed Measure W in 2004. The plan preserves 30 percent of the area as natural open space, and adds 121 acres of parks. In addition, all costs for water and infrastructure will be borne by future residents of the area. Those who attended visioning meetings in 2004 will see that the new land use plan has all the key elements identified in the visioning drafts. The annexed area will have connectivity to our current community and will mirror the charm and atmosphere we treasure. It will be a self-sufficient community that provides a full range of housing options as well as retail, office and public amenities that will bring new jobs and services to Folsom. The Specific Plan and EIR are the result of three years of intensive work by staff, consultants and land owners. We listened to the concerns of environmentalists and other special interest groups and took care to address their issues. We adhered to a high standard and take pride in knowing that this is a model plan for open space, transit and air quality. I believe we are creating an immensely attractive environment that will be a magnet for new employers and future residents. The land, which is owned by private property owners, will be available for development next year after annexation is complete. However, it is important to note that this land use plan is based on today’s economic realities. I anticipate that development will occur in strategic increments in the coming years as our region’s economy rebounds. Copies of the Specific Plan and draft EIR are available for viewing at the City Clerk’s Office in City Hall, and at our two Folsom Public Library locations. The documents and comment information are also posted on the city’s website at folsom.ca.us. Note that written comments are due Sept. 10. I encourage you to express your views at this important juncture in the annexation process. You will have another opportunity to comment when the City Council considers certification of the EIR and adoption of the Specific Plan, most likely in late October. Please watch the city’s website for updated information. Kerry Miller is the city manager of Folsom. He can be reached at email@example.com.