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Changes offered to Village at Loomis

By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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A sometimes controversial proposed development, the Village at Loomis, has been revised and developer Todd Lowell hopes the changes will satisfy the Loomis Town Council.

And, at a Loomis Town Council study session Tuesday night, Lowell announced the elimination of two-story homes adjacent to David Avenue.

Included among the issues Lowell tried to address with the changes were increased setbacks, larger lot sizes, fewer homes and increased park acreage.

“The integrity of the public hearing process is to vet concerns and address them; that’s what we’ve done with larger lots, more park space and addressing the privacy concerns for David Avenue residents,” Lowell said Monday. ““The project has been redesigned; it took a full engineering effort to redraw the project.”

Lowell has proposed increased lot sizes for the Village Residential neighborhood, and 30 fewer homes, with the average lot size 3,900 square-feet and the smallest lot size 3,500 square-feet; increased lot sizes for the Village Court, with an average lot size of 3,600 square-feet, although 15 of the 62 Village Court homes would be smaller than 3,500 square-feet; eliminating rear-facing garages and alleys in the Village Court neighborhood; an average lot size of 5,000 square-feet in the Village Traditional neighborhood with a minimum lot size of 4,000 square-feet.

Proposed lot sizes and setbacks for the Village Traditional and Village Court neighborhoods did not meet the sizes requested by the Town Council.

Lowell said he has proposed paying two-out-of-three traffic impact fees, Sierra College Boulevard and Horseshoe Bar Road, but has asked to apply the $860,000 of the Major Road Impact fee to traffic improvements requested by the town. Lowell said the town has put aside $194,000 toward $14 million in traffic circulation improvements.

“If the town allows me to apply the major road impact fee toward the (traffic circulation) improvements, then the project is economically feasible,” Lowell said. ““I am still committed to doing all of the traffic improvements the town needs. It’s been part of the town’s vision for 30 years. I will build Doc Barnes Drive from beginning to end on Day One.”

“The challenge is that Loomis adopted the Town Center Master Plan 26 years ago, and since the plan was adopted, much of the town staff and decision-makers have come and gone. There is little institutional memory,” Lowell added. “The town’s vision was to protect the rural edges by building density in the downtown area.”

Originally, 737 new homes were intended to be built in the town center area, according to Lowell.

Loomis Town Manager Sean Rabe said many of the changes proposed by Lowell fell short of the council’s requests, specifically regarding lot size and setbacks. He and his staff need more details, according to Rabe.

“Staff is still analyzing the changes in park acreage,” Rabe said. “The problem is there are no tentative maps that show dimensions. If you look at the park network of trails, it is much improved.”

And Lowell on Tuesday night offered a last-minute change by eliminating pop-up and two-story homes parallel to David Avenue neighborhoods.

“The council has demanded all along there be single-story homes near David Avenue,” Rabe said. “So, the council is happy with that.”

Rabe said Lowell made the changes in good faith.

“I think he feels constrained on the finance side regarding what he can and can’t do,” Rabe said. “The council is looking at the entire project and how it interacts with the community. The council has made it clear they don’t want another study session; they want to see a project they can vote up or down on.”