We have an opportunity, which is quickly passing us by, to preserve the special character of Loomis.
After Tuesday night’s Town Council Study Session, I don’t have a good feeling about the way our town is heading. I thought our vision was to create a downtown core that would be a go-to, unique, shopping destination that highlights our farming and rural heritage, complemented by a residential area that would be appropriate for our town as envisioned by our town of Loomis General Plan.
But our town leaders seem to be letting go of the Town General Plan, holding to just some of the plan specifications in favor of allowing The Village developers to re-define what Loomis is and to cram in as many houses as possible, not considering how unsafe it is to build homes so close to the freeway and certainly not considering the unsightly and unfriendly design of alley-loaded homes with no yards.
The Village street widths do not meet the town of Loomis requirements, just as the guest parking requirement of one guest space per two-and-a-half housing units is not being met. People will be walking for blocks to reach the homes of friends, if they can find a parking spot.
Our town leaders continue to support the building of a three-story apartment complex in The Village at Loomis development, instead of forcing the developer to allow a little more acreage for the apartment building so that it can be two-story.
The developer has included the square footage of public-use alleys in the lot sizes to make the lots appear larger, even though the residents would not be able to park in the alleys behind their garages and their cars would be towed away if they parked there.
There is much talk of The Village offering affordable homes but they will be at market rate, and in Loomis, that will be very high, even for the most basic and condensed of the units, especially when you add the HOA costs, Mello Roos and special taxes that the developer plans to put back onto the property owners to pay for the roads and circulation elements.
Last night, our town manager said that the recent retail study suggests that, because of the square footage/retail absorption of the proposed Costco, our town does not need the planned commercial areas along Interstate 80 where the Town General Plan had envisioned the exposure of unique-to-Loomis merchants to draw people into our Loomis businesses. Costco is a warehouse store that will be drawing its business from all of the surrounding communities as well as drawing from all of the towns throughout the foothills, and certainly does not meet the criteria of retail square footage absorption for our town. How sad that the retail study ordered by our town leaders only serves to further support the “cram in as many houses as you can for profit” plan of the developer by eliminating the two, large areas of freeway-visible retail and commercial specified in our General Plan.
The developer is requesting from the town over $2.3 million in excused mitigation fees, over $875,000 in credits for the streets developed within the confines of The Village housing project (although he is also charging them back to the homeowners) and the developer expects the town to pay a $50,000 annual payment on the library park that the developer offered to build on land he does not own.
Although we were once told that the developer for The Village was local, we later determined that the managing partner for The Village at Loomis is True Life Companies, a multi-state developer who has current activities in areas such as Ahwatukee, Arizona.
There may a vote on The Village at Loomis as early as the next Town Council public hearing. Our Town leaders need to hear from all of us.
Jackie Pitts Euer is a 24-year Loomis resident.