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Housing in a shopping mall?

EDITOR:

My husband and I attended the Board of Supervisors meeting on Dec. 11. We were there to show our support for the presentation being made by Rural Communities United and the Measure Y Committee. However, before that item reached the floor, we were treated to a “conceptual review” of an AG Spanos proposal for Town Center in El Dorado Hills.

They are proposing to build an upscale four-story apartment building on the four vacant acres adjacent to the “open space” and “pond.” The apartments are intended to attract well-heeled residents seeking a “maintenance-free” lifestyle in an “urban village.”

I have always wondered how you can have a Town Center where there is no actual town. Now I’m wondering how you can have an urban village where there is no city.

Towns and cities grow organically and sometimes messily over decades. Town Center is an artificial construct — a sort of Disneyland version of a town. Now they want to add a population. But as one speaker pointed out, it will be a transient population of renters who will have no real long-term stake in the community. These folks will essentially be living within a shopping mall, adjacent to a car dealership and a freeway. Sound good to you?

This project would be laughable if it did not have the potential to start a shift toward higher-density housing in other parts of the county, and to increase the already congested traffic in that area. There is great irony here. For the last 10 years the county has gone along with developers pushing outsize “mini mansions.” Now AG Spanos is trying to convince us that 570-square-foot apartments are the wave of the future.

So instead of a fungus of McMansions coating the hills, we’ll have towers of teeny, tiny apartments dotting the valleys. Personally I prefer grass on the hills and oaks in the valleys. How about you?

It’s time for the citizens of this county to take charge of the future. I encourage all of you to become informed and get involved, or soon our beautiful county will look like “Anywhere, USA.”

MARY LOU GILES
Cameron Park

Short URL: http://www.villagelife.com/?p=36726

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Posted by on Dec 15 2013.
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1 Comment for “Housing in a shopping mall?”


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  1. Great letter Mary Lou! This project is being proposed to go on commercially zoned property which if using the Mixed Use Policy would only allow 16 units per acre for residential use and 30% of the property would have to retain commercial use. The original Mixed Use in the 2004 General Plan only allowed 10 units per acre of residential. If they developers were able to change the zoning to multi-family, they would be allowed 24 units per acre. This project equals 55 units per acre. The height and scope of this project would be massive compared to what already exists in Town Center. . I reminded the Board of Supervisors of the battle when they changed the General Plan to go from 10 to 16 units an acre for mixed use and now they were jumping to 55!
    This would also set a precedent for the rest of the county. The Supervisors should have told them this was not a good fit and sent them back to the drawing board. Instead the Board seemed to court these developers and I’m not sure at the end what direction was given.

    https://eldorado.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=2746738&GUID=6C55EB0B-AC3D-47A2-9001-CD659561A4B0

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