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Developer submits revised plans for Village at Loomis

Reduced density, expanded parks plan
By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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Know and Go

What: Loomis Town Council special meeting on the Village at Loomis

When: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10

Where: H. Clarke Powers Elementary School, 3296 Humphrey Road, Loomis

Todd Lowell has returned from the drawing board.

The developer for the proposed Village at Loomis project has re-submitted plans to Loomis town staff and the town council will hold a hearing on the project at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10.

Lowell does not expect to have to make anymore changes to the project.

“I’ve checked all the boxes,” Lowell said Nov. 5. “From a policy basis, I expect they will move forward.”

“This is the final-final,” Lowell added. “I’m still committed to building the town’s circulation improvements. It’s not required as a condition for approval but for the development project to proceed I will build the circulation improvements.”

An extension of Doc Barnes Drive from Horseshoe Bar Road to King Road, at a cost of $10 million would be the first portion of the project.

Lowell said he will honor his commitment to the Loomis Union School District because “I’m a school guy.” A $2.9 million facilities-mitigation deal between the school district and Lowell was approved by the district’s board of trustees on Dec. 14. and is $1.8 million more than required by law.

The revised plans include a reduction from 261 homes to 251 homes; increased minimum lot sizes of 5,000 square-feet for the Village Traditional district and increased minimum lot sizes of 3,000 square-feet for the Village Residential and Village Court districts; single-story restrictions for lots adjoining Sun Knoll Drive, David Avenue and Silver Ranch Avenue with 20-foot rear setbacks; and increased off-street parking in the Village Residential district.

Lowell said he has lived with the proposed project for 20 years, ever since he bought the first piece of property from the Kim family in 1998. Lowell was part of the team that developed the Raley’s shopping center.

“I loved the vision of the Town Center Master Plan, it was a very forward-looking document,” Lowell said. “I went all in on the Town Center Master Plan. This project is better today than when I submitted it in 2014.”

“I submit this with pride and want to see it built. It exceeds my expectations of livability and quality,” Lowell added. “It will be a catalyst for downtown.”

Lowell said the “heaviest lift” has been with the new people in town.

“The biggest challenge has been the demographic of people who have no idea of the town’s own plans for itself,” Lowell said. “Another challenge is that the executive staff at town hall is all fairly new. The General Plan envisions and defines this kind of project. The defining document for me is the Town Center Master Plan.”

Opposition

Loomis resident Dennis Oliveira is opposed to the Village at Loomis project and described the revisions made by Lowell at the town council’s request as unacceptable.

“I feel (Lowell) is making surface changes but deep within the plan there isn’t the compromise we are seeking,” Oliveira said Wednesday. “He’s just moving things around.”

Oliveira would not cite specifically problems with the revised plans but said he believes the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project is “old and out of date.” The final EIR for the project is dated July 2017 and was prepared by Dudek, an environmental consulting firm in Auburn.

Oliveira went on to say he does not trust Lowell nor his association with the True Life Companies, a real estate development firm.

“I will never support (Lowell and the True Life Companies) unless they truly want to turn (the project) into a Loomis-like, park community,” Oliveira said. “They need to get out of Loomis and let the town deal with their own problems with other developers.”

“The (council) will have a problem on their hands if they make the wrong decision,” Oliveira added. “A California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit.”

Town Council

Town Councilman Miguel Ucovich said he expects “the most important decision in the history of the Town of Loomis” will be made at the special meeting.

The Town Council has a regularly scheduled meeting the next night but Ucovich’s replacement will be sworn in then. The special meeting on the Village at Loomis was called so Ucovich could vote on the project.

“It’s my swan song,” Ucovich said. “We’ve been working on this for a couple of years now; I’m pleased (Town Manager Sean Rabe) made the accommodation.”

“I have great concerns regarding the traffic impacts; Horseshoe Bar Road isn’t going to get any better,” Ucovich added. “I regret the town never pursued a King Road on-ramp; it may take an act of congress but it’s not impossible.”

Ucovich added he is also concerned that: alleyways are being considered as part of the lot sizes; there is a lack of commercial space and the dog park is not allowable as a neighborhood park.

Councilman Tim Onderko said Wednesday he also expects a decision to be made on the project at the special meeting. He added the council was clear with its direction to Lowell.

“This project has been through a dozen workshops and hearings and hours of testimony from the community has been brought forward,” Onderko said. “The council has done an excellent job of listening to the community.”

Onderko said the most recent revisions “address the direction from the council and planning commission to bring in an adequate amount of parks, more than 110 additional parking spaces and it is less dense by more than 50 units than originally proposed.”

“According to the staff analysis, this project conforms to  the policies and provisions of the General Plan and Town Center Master Plan; both of which are our guiding documents for land use planning for that part of town.”