Parker Development’s management team defended the proposed Marble Valley project during the June 13 El Dorado Hills Community Services District Board of Directors meeting.
The proposed specific plan calls for 2,800 to 3,200 homes in the vacant and historic four-plus mile valley located immediately southeast of the Bass Lake freeway interchange.
Project Manager Tom Howard designed Serrano and is the chief architect of the Marble Valley and the central El Dorado Hills projects, which have been the subject of presentations to the CSD board in May and June.
He and Government Affairs Director Kirk Bone have delivered the same basic presentations for two years running. Last week’s edition differed in that it addressed recent criticism directed at the sister projects and their cousin, Gallo’s Lime Rock Valley.
Bone led off by saying that critics of Parker Development had propagated “misinformation, and in some cases dishonesty” about the developer’s planned contributions to road infrastructure and the impact on county water supply.
Marble Valley will be one of the first projects measured by a new traffic model. As part of the Land Use Programmatic Planning Update the county has purchased new traffic modeling software, which was released to Parker Development early last week and should yield predictions of proposed traffic impacts in early July.
A preliminary analysis, conducted in 2011 using the prior traffic model, found “no fatal flaws,” said Bone. “We didn’t trigger any LOS (Level of Service) deficiencies.”
He took umbrage to recent criticism that the project doesn’t improve the Bass Lake interchange, countering that the county Department of Transportation’s Capital Improvement Plan currently includes roughly $50 million for the Bass Lake interchange and another $20 million for the Cambridge Road interchange.
“To the extent that we have greater impacts than what’s planned we’ll have to face those,” Bone added.
Tension rose when one resident criticized the project and asked how many Parker Development employees lived in El Dorado Hills.
Howard and his wife, Parker Development Principal Planner Andrea Howard, who was also present, are local residents. He bristled at the question’s implications.
“If you’re implying that I’m some kind of carpet bagger, I’m not,” he said. “I’ve spent 20 years of my life on these projects, and if you’re implying I don’t care you insult me.”
Bone recapped the Marble Valley economic analysis of two years ago, which calls for $92.5 million in road fees over the course of the project, not including the central El Dorado Hills or Lime Rock Specific Plans.
Other projected fees for the Marble Valley project include: $13.8 million to El Dorado County, $92.5 million to El Dorado Irrigation District, $31.4 million split between three school districts, $30.1 million to the Community Services District for parks, $7.5 million to the El Dorado County fire and $4.5 million to El Dorado County Fire.
The building phase would pump $1.1 billion into the local economy and provide 8,000 construction jobs, according to Bone. Longer term, he added, the project would generate $312 million in annual economic output and 1,550 permanent jobs.
Bone argued that Marble Valley solves problems for EID on the wastewater front. The adjacent Deer Creek treatment plant sent EID deeper into debt and left it with excess capacity of roughly 5,000 homes, which would handle Marble Valley and Lime Rock with room to spare, he said.
He also took issue with those who say the projects are using up all the available water. Two-thirds of the water used on the project will be recycled, he said. “And it’s made next door.”
El Dorado Irrigation District will provide fresh water from a combination of Folsom Lake pumping and gravity-fed water from points east as part of EID’s “big loop,” a large-scale EID plumbing project that creates efficiencies in the supply system.
Bone anticipated that the advent of Three Stages in Folsom would preclude the $50 million Marble Valley Center for the Arts from moving forward, and that a prime parcel dedicated to the non-profit would likely come back to Parker Development. He encouraged the group to take advantage of the outdoor public amphitheater by the lake, and committed to “work with them … and look at alternatives to help them do something else,” he said.
He suggested that the arts center site, which is near the entrance to the project, could be combined with adjacent commercial parcels to create a 41-acre corporate campus. “If the right company was interested, something that would bring good jobs to the area,” Bone explained. “We could be very flexible with that parcel.”
Howard gave a brief overview of the prior plan for Marble Valley, approved in 2008. It calls for 398 homes spread over most of the project’s 2,341 acres, and does not reflect modern planning practices, he said. The current proposal calls for greater densities, and calls for 2,300 to 3,200 homes on less acreage than the 2008 plan. Howard predicted that actual buildout would result in 2,500 to 2,800 units.
By comparison, he explained that Serrano was analyzed for approximately 7,000 homes, approved for less than 6,200 and, even before the propose shift of ridge lots to the golf course, was falling well short of its approved capacity. He predicted Serrano would finish up with roughly 4,600 homes.
He presented maps demonstrating that the Marble Valley plan is freeway-adjacent, supported by two interchanges and a new boulevard, Marble Valley Parkway, connecting the two.
The project is well-suited to the location and comparable in size to other large El Dorado Hills specific plans in the immediate area, according to Howard, who also cited neighboring examples including Promontory: 1,400 dwellings, Serrano: 6,200, Bass Lake Hills: 1,450, Carson Creek: 2,400, Blackstone: 2,800, and Lime Rock: 800.