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Another View

Village at Loomis adapts plan to meet town’s vision

By: Russ Kelley
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After literally decades of planning to create a vision for the Town Center area of Loomis behind Raley’s, the proposed Village at Loomis came before our town leaders a year ago for formal consideration.

The proposal received a thorough review from the town Planning Commission from last September to April and commissioners identified changes they believed necessary for the project to be approved.

After a Town Council forum in May and additional feedback, the owners of the 66 acres have revised the Village plan to address the concerns of the Town Council and many issues articulated by residents.
The revised Village plan now includes:
• A reduction in single-family homes from 303 to 261, a total reduction of 42 homes since the first proposal in July 2014.
• Increase in park space, adding three new parks and increasing park acreage by about two acres to more than six acres on site, along with 10 acres of open space.
• Larger lots in the Village Residential area off Library Drive, resulting in an overall reduction of 30 homes in that neighborhood since the July 2014 plan was submitted. This area was the focus of many concerns from residents.

These and other changes were in response to the Planning Commission, the Town Council and neighbors review of the proposed plan.

It is now the time to move this planned, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood forward.

As a long-time resident and former council member, this vision for the Town Center is not new: it was part of the town’s first General Plan and was even talked about by Placer County before Loomis was incorporated. You cannot get (new) things done if you never start or finish anything.

Our General Plan, unanimously adopted by the Town Council in 2001, specifically incorporated the Town Center Master Plan to provide for the proposed type of mixed-use project that would create a pedestrian-friendly community. You cannot get old things done if you never start!

The Village at Loomis will help spur economic activity in downtown while offering a range of housing options for not only young families but also retirement-aged residents looking to downsize. It also will lead to more local shopping and dining opportunities.

We should also not lose sight of the other significant benefits to the entire Town from the Village, including:

Creation of a Civic Park next to the Loomis Library that will enhance that area as a community gathering place.

Construction of the town-approved extension of Doc Barnes Drive from Horseshoe Bar Road to King Road along Interstate 80. The road, estimated to cost $10 million and nearly all paid for by the development, would create an alternative route to lessen traffic on Taylor Road.

Walkways and trails throughout the development connecting seamlessly with existing shops and neighborhoods.

And the Village of Loomis will reflect the special character of Loomis. I know it will never be the same as it was when I got here. Every house around my property is new, and they are very nice for the neighborhood.

The smartly-designed project will look like it has been here for years but it does not happen overnight. Because we ask to incorporate the significant architectural styles and elements of the town. The plan includes an 80-page architectural guide to ensure the entire development conforms to the vision for it.

There is no doubt that the Village represents change but it is the change that we have planned for our community.

This revised plan is a great step forward to fulfill that vision. The time has come to move forward with the plan.

Nothing is perfect for everyone, but then again, doing nothing (with a plan) never gets anything good for anyone.
 
Russ Kelley is a  former Loomis council member, mayor and long-time resident. Reach Kelley at russkly@hotmail.com.