Costco and Village at Loomis dominate ‘Talks of the Town’ discussion

By: Brody Fernandez Of Gold Country Media
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The first “Talks of the Town” forum hosted Tuesday at the Loomis Library and Community Learning Center discussed the latest updates on the proposed Costco and the proposed Village at Loomis.

Library board member Bonnie London explained how these talks came about.

“Town Talks is a new program co-hosted by the Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce and the Loomis Library and Community Learning Center,” London said. “The first Tuesday each month from 5 to 7 p.m., we'll host one to two guests and invite members of the community for informal discussions with town staff, elected officials and community leaders. The goal is to gain a better understanding of the work being done in our town, foster open communication and build positive relationships in the community.”

Loomis Town Manager Sean Rabe and Town Councilman Jeff Duncan were the first guests for the monthly event as residents took turns asking them questions.

A Loomis resident opened the forum by asking Rabe what he thought about his first year as town manager.

It’s good,” Rabe replied. “There's a lot going on here in Loomis. When you look at stories like the library being saved and other community collaborations, it makes you think this is a good place to be. I’m really impressed how tight knit this community is.”

Rabe vaguely addressed some more concerning issues in Loomis.

“Obviously, there's some controversial stuff going on but we’re addressing that,” Rabe said.

A resident asked Rabe if he’s “wearing too many hats” and, as a result, possibly not seeing all the problems with Loomis. The resident wanted to know why the town doesn’t hire an economic development director to work under him.

“We don’t have the revenue for me to hire an economic development director. I agree. If we had the revenue to hire an economic development director, I would do so,” Rabe said.

“We want the downtown to be vibrant and inviting. For example, some ideas we have for the old Chevy dealership could become a nice artisan cheese shop or a locally-owned coffee shop.There’s energy happening on both sides of town in reference to new businesses coming to Loomis,” Rabe said. “The Star Liquor location will just require an over-the-counter permit. The stone-encrusted Christiansen's building is being sold without even having a tenant currently, which shows people that business owners remain confident with investing in our downtown. If we can think of a way to tie in the Christensen building, the Star Liquor building and the High Hand business with options for commercial growth, we will be in a good place.”

Loomis residents then asked Rabe about the Horseshoe Bar Grill status.

“He was going to redesign his building and had committed to that,” Rabe’ said. “However, recently, he has dealt with some personal issues that I can’t talk about but once those issues are resolved, he told me he is committed to get in there and redesign the place his buildings,” (which include the Horseshoe Bar Grill and the retail space in the back of Pizza Factory).”

Residents raised multiple concerns and questions over the lack of online information about new developments and news regarding town management that Rabe’ addressed reluctantly.

“I think our website needs help. We need to make it more user-friendly and I want to figure out a way to see this with new eyes and not from a government employee standpoint,” Rabe’ said.     

Costco was brought up and an update was requested.

“Costco is in a EIR stage right now, Rabe’ answered. “We’re in the process of addressing the responses the city of Rocklin has posed via the letter to the town.”

Rabe’ stressed that one element is the cause for Rocklin’s concern about the proposed Costco.

“It all centers around traffic. Rocklin is also specifically concerned with the one entry/access point which the proposed Costco will have,” Rabe said. “The Walmart on the border of Loomis in Rocklin has only one entrance and exit, although they are now very concerned with the one entrance and exit regarding Costco here in Loomis. However, the two sites do have differences that must be noted; Walmart has more queuing space internally than Costco.”

The Village at Loomis update was summed up by a simple response as not enough time has passed for the developer to make modifications.

“Right now, I don’t have anything different to more to report,” Rabe said. “The developer has not come back to me with anything yet.”  

Longtime law enforcement officer and Councilman Duncan, who announced that he is running for re-election for Town Council then fielded questions and spoke to the crowd.

Duncan first addressed the library.

“The huge moment for me when thinking about how great this town is was when this community came together and saved the library. It’s just tremendous,” Duncan said. “The power might go out, but with a candle, you can still read a book.”

Duncan addressed a question on how he sees the town’s future.

“What I see is our uniqueness of the farm-to-fork atmosphere with Loomis and I want to expand that,” Duncan said. “With our mandarins groves and the High Hand nursery and cafe supporting local agricultural and business along with the expansion of the LBB gastro pub, I think the sky’s the limit for responsibility keeping that unique town feel.”

Duncan advocated for more medical buildings.

“I don’t know how we’re going to do it just yet but I’d like to see more medical offices in our town,” Duncan said. “As far as the town and the growth goes, I always like to have the facts to back up what will impact the town in any way. In regards to expanding, we have some big decisions coming up.”