Final Loomis Village workshop held Tuesday

Vote on whether it’s to built planned in near future
By: Brody Fernandez Of Gold Country Media
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Tuesday’s workshop was the last workshop or study session on the Village at Loomis project as Loomis Town Council directed staff to make final evaluations for a vote to be taken at a council meeting within a few months.

The Village at Loomis is a proposed 391-unit housing development that includes a village-themed retail center of shops and restaurants, a civic park, a variety of housing styles, and a linked system of trails, open space and sidewalks.  
Project developer Todd Lowell presented his latest project modifications and revisions Tuesday, which he considered “a complete redesign.”

Lowell then answered questions from council members.
Loomis Town Councilman Tim Onderko stressed the importance of the Planning Commission's five considerations after it recommended denial of the project on April 25.

Those five considerations were insufficient minimum lot sizes at Village residential and Village court, too small of setbacks, aesthetic defects (popups) from two-story homes along David Avenue, inadequate park space and inadequate general commercial space, Onderko reminded the workshop’s audience members.
Citing the science of the economic impact study and parking changes being subjective, Onderko estimated that 70 percent of the considerations have been met.

Onderko asked Lowell how many “boxes” (or considerations) were checked off: “By math, we’ve hit 3.5/5 considerations and this is a lot of progress, so how many of five considerations do you, Todd, think we have checked here?”

Lowell responded without hesitation, “4.75 out of five.”

It was then time for one last session of public comment from Loomis residents.
Loomis resident Joe Bittaker and business owner supports the project.

”As a big-picture guy, I actually think this development should be more dense,” Bittaker said. “It’s quite a shame that people who want to live in Loomis are forced to buy a house in Rocklin and Roseville. I hope my employees will be able to buy a home here, once it’s approved.”  
Jim Williams also supported the project.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes here in Loomis and this project will contribute to major infrastructure improvements,” Williams said. “This project brings more solutions to bear and more alternatives and talking opportunities. It’s time to get it going for the benefit for everybody. The challenge has been met by the developer.”  

Pam Blake, though, does not support the project.

“This is my fourth time missing out on volunteer time at the animal shelter to attend this type of meeting. I can’t imagine five homes on 3,000 square foot lot,” Blake said. “Would you like to live next to this proposed development? I believe you would not want to buy a home here or would want a family member to buy a home here.”  
Longtime resident Carol Wolf praised the developer.

“I can’t compliment the developers enough. These new people who will be moving into the community will help save businesses downtown,” Wolf said. “We have to look at this project as an opportunity to share with new friends and family. I am definitely a supporter of this project.”
Town Council members then shared their comments on the latest revisions.

Councilman Jeff Duncan was the first to speak.

“I’ve been here since 1986. I like the way things turned out here. My main concern here is the traffic. What are the costs for our peripheral areas that are not covered by the developer? It’s not just the park fees,” Duncan said, “there are other fees that will hit us. I do like single- story homes along David Avenue and I do like the parks but for me, it comes down to the traffic issues here we need to address.”    
Councilman Brian Baker shared the same sentiment.

“My concern is the traffic and parking,” Baker said. “I do appreciate the single-story houses along David though. Overall, it’s a vastly improved project from what it was. I want to make sure the five points are met.”  
Onderko again illustrated the importance of the Planning Commission’s considerations.
“So we talked about the five points and some have been met. I want to get closer to the 3,500 (minimum lot sizes) on the Village Court area,” Onderko said. “I don’t want to average it, so that’s on my radar. I’m also not fond of the park fee’s.”
Onderko reminded residents how much this project helps the Loomis Library.

“This project enhances the library and can provide a more lively experience for the treasure that this town saved and I fought for,” Onderko said. “As far as direction, I want to get to a point where this project is cleaned up.”  
Councilman Miguel Ucovich, however, wasn’t convinced.

“What I’ve seen over the past few years, Todd (Lowell), is basically the same plan,” Ucovich said. “Small lot sizes with the promise of affordable housing. What I want to see is the financial statement on all the costs on these homes. I want to see bottom line 3,500 square foot ‘minimum’ lots. These are not 3,500 square foot lots.”
Council unanimously decided to direct staff to make the final evaluations and assessments so the Village’s future can be placed on an agenda in the near future. Council members do not want this topic to be an election item issue so they are hoping for a vote to be made before November.