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Residents raise concerns over planned housing in El Dorado Hills

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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EL DORADO HILLS, CA - Plans to rezone two areas off El Dorado Hills Blvd. and build roughly 1,000 “housing units” isn’t sitting well with some area residents.

The proposed Central El Dorado Hills Specific Plan which would occur in the Serrano Westside Planning Area and Pedregal Planning Area, includes the development of up to 1,028 dwelling units, 11 acres of public facility/recreational use or 50,000 square feet of commercial use, 15 acres of public village park, and 85acres of public parks and open space in the center of the El Dorado Hills community.

The proposed Serrano Westside development would surround the El Dorado Hills Fire Station (located on Wilson Way east of El Dorado Hills Boulevard) to the north, east, and south.

The archery range would remain, officials said.

The Pedregal planning area is adjacent to the existing Ridgeview neighborhood and the Copper Hill Apartments.

Serrano Westside would be an extension of the existing Serrano development with gated residential neighborhoods and would include approximately 763 dwelling units, civic or commercial, and village park development, according to the El Dorado County planning department.

The approximately 102-acre Pedregal planning area would include residential neighborhoods of approximately 265 dwelling units, which may or may not be gated.

Mel Pabalinas, of the planning department, said the project is still in the planning phase.

“Basically we just completed one of the milestones for the project – the notice of preparation for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR),” he said. “We had a public meeting (last month) and there were concerns.”

Pabalinas said some of the issues addressed at the first meeting were quality of life, traffic, water issues and the like.

Rebecca Brandon wrote in an email copied to the Telegraph that adding so many new housing units is not a good idea.

“Basically, all the land/hills from Raley’s down to the old archery range (by the famous ‘EDH Rocks’) are slated to be developed, as well as the other side of the El Dorado Hills Blvd. from Wilson Way down to Olson Drive,” she wrote. “Can you imagine exiting EDH Blvd. and no longer seeing our beautiful rolling hills-instead it will be apartment complex after apartment complex. What a terrible thought!”

George Watson, who recently moved to El Dorado Hills, said he has mixed feeling on the issue.

“From an economic standpoint, building new homes or apartments would bring more jobs, which is good, but adding that many more people and their cars to the roads would increase already heavy traffic on El Dorado Hills Blvd,” he said. “If there are more than a 1,000 new homes or apartments, that would bring at least 2,000 more people and 2,000 more cars – that’s a huge impact on our infrastructure.”

Pabalinas said the project is still in its infancy and additional meetings will be held in the future to allow for public comment.