More Homes or parks: Director begins debate
El Dorado Hills Community Services District Director Bill Vandegrift has called a special meeting to discuss alternative uses for the old El Dorado Hills golf course.
The property, owned by Parker Development, shares a border with Highway 50. Last year, the developer unveiled a new plan for the space called Serrano Westside. The 155-acre area westward extension of Serrano encompasses the former golf course along El Dorado Hills Boulevard and extends north past the fire station, but leaves the ridge above the archery range, which contains numerous pockets of naturally occurring asbestos, as open space.
The proposal calls for 523 to 763 diverse dwellings designed to appeal to an aging population and shifting demographics — modest-sized stand alone houses on the east side with progressively denser and more affordable options to the west (townhomes, half-plex homes, condominiums and apartments). The development also features a 15-acre, freeway-adjacent EDHCSD park large enough for two soccer fields and a baseball diamond.
“I’ve been getting a lot of calls from sports groups, parents and the frustration is there are (already) not enough fields,” he explained, adding that more homes will result in more demand and, “We’ll never catch up.
“We’ll probably never see this opportunity again,” Vandegrift added, referring to the property’s prime location and size.
He’s asking his fellow board members to encourage the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, which approves all development projects, to consider a park alternative. Vandegrift said he’d love to see numerous fields and possibly an indoor sports facility.
“There is an obvious alternative to the proposed housing on the old golf course … its recreation facilities,” he said. “Let’s ask the county and others to work with us and make it happen.”
Serrano spokesman Kirk Bone was surprised to hear about the meeting, but said, “We’ve been soliciting public input on every aspect of this project since May 2011 and we continue to appreciate any feedback.”
The former Executive Golf Course was losing a quarter million dollars annually and needed major infrastructure improvements when Serrano Associates closed it in January 2007. Following a public protest and numerous meetings, the CSD commissioned a feasibility study by the National Golf Federation, which ultimately offered little hope for the undersized course in a region with many golf options.
Serrano Associates offered to lease the parcel to any concessionaire who thought they could make it work. None stepped forward.
The special meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 3, in the CSD pavilion.