150-unit Orchard housing development tapped for Penryn

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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In the development stage with Placer County for the past four years, the 150-unit Orchard at Penryn housing project goes before the planning commission Thursday for a public hearing. The hearing will give the public and the commission an opportunity to give their opinions on a draft environmental impact report. Michael Johnson, the county’s director of the Community Development Resource Agency, said Monday that the meeting will provide a chance to give testimony to the commission on the draft environmental impact study – but not debate the pros and cons of the project. A final version of the state-mandated environmental impact report will undertake to answer questions posed either at the hearing or in writing. Johnson said the final report is expected to be ready for commission perusal before the end of the year. Plans call for 150 multi-family residential units located in either triplexes of sixplexes on a 15.1-acre parcel a half mile north of Interstate 80 on the west side of Penryn road. The rectangular parcel is already zoned for multi-family residential uses and is part of the Penryn Parkway, an area of Penryn near the freeway that has been earmarked for commercial development, with some multi-family residential development. Penryn Development, owner of the now-vacant site, has zoning allowances to build up to 212 units but Johnson said the project applicant has made modifications in response to public concerns. Current concerns include how the Orchard could downgrade the existing visual character of the site. Johnson said that Thursday’s hearing is not meant to be a meeting to discuss the merit of the project. When the final report is ready, the Planning Commission will also consider a use permit for the property, which would open the future meeting to public comments on the validity of the Orchard. The hearing is slated to start at 10:05 a.m. Thursday in the Placer County Planning Commission hearing room, 3091 County Center Drive in North Auburn.