Tuesday Jun 21 2011
Folsom unanimously approves South of Highway 50 expansion
By: Laura Newell Telegraph staff writer
The Folsom South of Highway 50 annexation project was unanimously approved by the Folsom City Council last week. The city approved the specific plan and the environmental plan. Now, the project will go before the Local Agency Formation Commission for a final decision on the city’s expansion plans. Unlike previous public hearings, only a handful of residents protested the issue and came out to speak to the council. Folsom resident Debbie Meier questioned whether or not the council had read the documents in full before voting. Some council members reassured her and other residents that the documents had been read. Other community members from organizations including Friends of Folsom Parkway and Parks and Recreation also questioned council about the plan. On the other hand, a number of people speaking in support of the project came out including members of the Folsom Chamber, developers and business owners. Marshal Crossan, owner of Folsom Chevrolet, spoke in favor of the project. “I want to say thank you. … Business has to be tied to the growth of the community. … This has been a very long journey (and) I think you’ve worked very hard on this plan,” Crossan said. Mike McKeever, chief executive of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, called the project a “high-quality plan.” He spoke in favor of the housing mix and the transit planning that would provide walking and bicycle trails, open space and parks. He provided only minor criticism saying, “We think on a commercial side you may be a little bit high. On the residential side, you may be a little bit on the low side.” Ardie Zahedani, principal with RCH Group, represents the seven active landowners South of Highway 50. Zahedani said with that approval, the city has set the bar for any other project in the state. “This project was led by the city and community with technical support from landowners and the final project is something we are all proud of,” Zahedani said. “We are really looking forward to national recognition for this project.” The project includes a mixture of residential, commercial and open space. David Miller, community development director, said there is an estimated 27,000 population expected. The project is expected to be fully built out in the next 20 to 30 years. The project is a comprehensively planned community featuring new development patterns based on the principles of “smart growth” and transit-oriented development, according to officials. Councilman Jeff Starsky said in terms of air quality impacts, there is nothing like this in our region. “Our residents overwhelmingly said they want us to develop this project,” Starsky said. “This land is the most ideal place to build.” For more information on SOI, visit folsom.ca.us.