Implement Loomis General Plan and approve Village at LoomisBy: Perry Beck
I served 11 years as Loomis town manager (April 2000 through September 2011) and worked with some members of the current council and Planning Commission. I also worked with Mr. Todd Lowell, the applicant on the Village at Loomis project. It was a crucial planning time because of development pressure and a need to update the General Plan.
We rose to the challenges by creating, approving, implementing and starting to implement quality projects that kept the values and unique look of Loomis to the maximum extent and meet the obligations of state law.
Important to the update of the General Plan that took three years to complete, was the Town Center Master Plan that is included in the General Plan. The Town Center was seen as the place for higher housing density to support downtown business that would augment the funds available from the rural residential areas.
Sustainable and thriving towns can be achieved with higher density in the downtown and lower density in the surrounding area. The city of Winters that I managed from 1987 to 1992 also needed a General Plan update, along with other plans, to encourage projects similar to the Loomis Village. Winters became a successful model.
When I arrived in Loomis and started looking for a house, a real estate agent advised that housing was tight. There were five houses to look at. Housing in Loomis is still tight. In other words, the reasons then and now point to implementing the town’s General Plan.
In addition to the General Plan, there were updates to the Zoning Ordinance, Trails Master Plan, Bike Transportation Plan and, in 2010, the Town Center Implementation Plan. The vision expressed in those documents wasn’t just for development but also included strategies for funding the changing needs of town operations and services.
An active and thriving downtown supporting the needs of Loomis residents was the vision. That is why a project like the Village at Loomis is described in the Town Center Master Plan and the General Plan.
The Town Center would have the housing and commercial activity where citizens lived and patronized the businesses, along with all Loomis residents and visitors. Resident and visitor alike could spend time savoring what is a unique place for its location in Placer County. Residents especially could enjoy the fruits of their labors close to home because it included areas for work, play and education.
The transportation plan pictured people being able to get to Loomis Grammar School, Del Oro, shopping, salons and restaurants without a car. All the plans work together to support and encourage what was becoming known as the “Shed to Shed” community vision.
Planned development zoning will provide a solid legal foundation because there will be a development agreement to insure that the unique designs and mix of uses on the Village site will be implemented. Included are the commitments to build Doc Barnes Drive and provide another connection between Horseshoe Bar Road and King Road that benefit downtown circulation, whether by car or other means, and for emergency services.
The Planning Commission held many public hearings between September 2017 and April 2018. It saw a need for larger lot sizes (3,000 and 4,000 square feet minimum), wider setbacks, more park space, and one-story homes and 20-foot rear setbacks along Sun Knoll Drive, David Avenue and Silver Ranch Avenue.
The Village at Loomis plan, now before the Town Council, includes those revisions. It is time to approve this unique and well planned opportunity for Loomis.
Perry Beck was Loomis town manager from April 2000 to September 2011.