If a developer proposes to change the character of two established neighborhoods he either needs to come to the neighborhood with a blank slate and build from there or bring a flushed out plan to the table and be ready to negotiate. A firm handle on public transportation, landscaping, architectural continuity with existing neighborhood homes, density and traffic issues is a must. Starting an application process before you understand what the neighborhood can tolerate is not a good start.
While urban density is preferred, it can’t come at the expense of air quality and traffic management. If developer Phil Angelides takes a second look at his plan he might create a project that East Sacramento and Midtown can tolerate. He knows where to begin–he got an earful of suggestions to ponder.
Come back to the table Mr. Angelides. Refresh your plan so it doesn’t punish the neighborhoods. If you want to calm tempers and lessen anxiety start with reassessing the density, number of vehicle entries, three car garages and lack of low-income housing. Be mindful that the traffic increase your plan imposes on East Sacramento and Midtown is rightly perceived as an enormous burden.
Has East Sacramento Preservation Neighborhood Association prejudged this project? No, we have not. We have not published an opinion of the project, just asked hard questions. The neighborhood will be ready to listen if its concerns are seriously addressed.
Here are the general responses the development team gave on important topics:
What are the geographic boundaries of the traffic study? Not answered.
Can the plan have three well-designed car traffic access points? Not possible for technical reasons. Developer was not given time to answer this fully.
Has no plans for traffic mitigation.
Maintains urban environments must deal with traffic.
General response: railroad never intended as a second levee, no flood insurance required in the area, 100 year flood protection, maybe more in the future.
Storm and Sewer Runoff
Developer maintains that the area will be self-contained and will not burden the East Sacramento or Midtown systems.
Regional Transit Access Issues
Maintains that bus line exists within walking distance. Plans to work with RT.
Plans to have leafy canopies, no specific plan or research in place.
Application in to SCUSD and Twin Rivers to rezone the area to SCUSD.
Developer’s Model for Dealing with Concerns
Will continue to hold meetings with neighborhood groups. Frowned on negative comparison to Stonebridge/Sutter Memorial developer’s community outreach. Did not state any intent to change communication/interaction model with neighbors.