Planes, apartments and a pooch top city council meeting

By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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The Folsom City Council whipped through their Tuesday night meeting in about 90 minutes, approving bonds, flight plan easements and listening to a resident complain about a parcel-leaving pooch. The council approved “navigation easements” for Mather Field flights as part of the Folsom South Tier 1 Development Agreement, paving the way for an agreement between the airfield and landowners in the area targeted for development south of Highway 50. Some council members expressed concern about the appearance of giving in too quickly to the airfield and their flights. “We argue in existing city limits, these nuisances came to us,” said Councilman Jeff Starsky. “I know the base was there long before us. But where my house sits, at the time military planes were actively flying in and out of there, nothing was there. … It’s baby steps toward a solution.” Councilman Steve Miklos said he didn’t want airfield officials to get the wrong idea. “I didn’t want us to look like we’re giving up with Mather,” said Miklos. “We’ve fought too long and too hard. We’ve all had to deal with those planes." Starsky agreed, but said the easement was just a way to get the ball rolling. “Your concern is well founded,” Starsky said. “This Tier 1 provides certainty for financiers. … It’s important Folsom continues to grow through the (economic downturn).” Councilman Ernie Sheldon also had reservations. “I can’t come to grips with it that this is enough,” said Sheldon. “What I get really hung up on is the timing. … I expect to see specifics in many areas when we get to Tier 2.” Ardie Zahedani, principal with RCH Group, represents the seven active landowners south of Highway 50. “It’s been a month of milestones,” he said. “All the owners are comfortable with the easements. … Let’s be aware a Tier 2 is absolutely necessary (for further development).” During public comment, outspoken project opponent Debbie Meier questioned whether Starsky was directly receiving developer funds or stood to make money on the development. He denied the allegations. “We still have vacancies and unfinished projects that don’t have people in them in city limits,” Meier said. “Yes, I live in Empire Ranch and I would have railed against that if I had the opportunity. It wasn’t done right, in my opinion.” Bob Holderness, the attorney representing interests in the south of Highway 50 development, said an opposition letter regarding the project is targeting affordable housing. “We’ve seen the letter from the affordable housing advocates,” said Holderness, himself a former city councilman and mayor. “Apparently this project does not (adhere to) their philosophy. … I didn’t see any of them come up to speak tonight.” Councilwoman Kerri Howell was not at the meeting. In the end, the easement passed. In other matters, Folsom resident Madeline Moseley said she supported the Folsom Oak Apartments, but said she’s having trouble with one tenant. “Folsom Oaks Apartments is right across from my house,” she said. “It’s a great complex and I went to their open house. I hate to complain. There is one person who walks with a cane and walks her dog twice a day. The dog goes potty by the door of a pickup truck everyday. Her kids also ride up and down the street on their scooters.” Moseley said she’s complained to the apartment manager, whom she said she doesn’t blame, but the steaming yard presents from the pooch have continued to be left for neighbors. “We’ll see what we can do to clean that up,” punned Mayor Andy Morin. Vic and Alice Laverdiere, Sutter Street residents, opined the loss of the barriers that used to block traffic from entering side streets near the Folsom Historic District. “There are ongoing traffic problems on the Coloma to Sutter Street corridor,” Alice Laverdiere said. “We need the city to respect the uniqueness of the historic district. We have narrow streets (and) sidewalk-less streets. There is a disregard for speed and stop signs.” She acknowledged there has been some strong feelings around the barriers, which were put in place after Folsom Dam Road was closed after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. “We know this is a hot button issue for the city council,” she said. She said permanent, “well-designed” traffic diverters should be installed at Sutter and Scott and there should be no right turns allowed on red traffic signals on Scott and Riley streets. She also said the city should install in structural improvements at the roundabout near the Sutter Street Steakhouse building. “We feel our request is a workable solution,” she said. The City Council also approved a resolution authorizing the issuance of “multifamily housing revenue bonds for the purpose of financing the acquisition and construction of the Granite City Apartments at 1150 Sibley St.”