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More Homes or parks: Director begins debate

By From page A1 | May 29, 2013

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.

Noel Stack

Discussion | 3 comments

  • DavidMay 31, 2013 - 9:48 am

    700 new homes means more kids for our over-crowded schools, too. Recreation areas make more sense.

  • EdwardMay 31, 2013 - 10:01 am

    This is privately held land, where's the money going to come from to purchase and build these facilities that Mr. Vandegrift proposes? I do not want to pay more taxes in the form of bonds in addition to the Mello Roos and other infrastructure taxes I already pay. However, in the proposal for this development (I did read through it), we as a community will get almost 30 acres of field space built by the developer for free.

  • DavidJune 01, 2013 - 1:10 pm

    Do not make the assumption that a new privately funded development didn't benefit from public monies in some way, and don't assume that it is not going to create a burden on the County Budget. If it's truly privately held land as many claim, then no public funding should be required for any aspect of the project. That includes some kind of funding for impacts to infrastructure, like expanding and maintaining surrounding roadways, expanded services (police, fire, etc..., ), etc... And this funding should provision for some measure of future impacts as well. Reality is that people can't do anything they want with their land. While it's common practice for communities all across the USA to require developers to pay for the impact their development has on the community at large it's almost unheard of in El Dorado County. Look at the proposed developments in EDH: Dixon Ranch (>400 homes/high density) and several other smaller developments. Blackstone, and now this. EDH has become the cash machine for the more rural areas of El Dorado County and being that this is still a democracy, I think it's only fair that the public have a voice in how their community is allowed to evolve.



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