Beck retires from post

By: Laura O’Brien Loomis News Correspondent
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Perry Beck retires this week after serving 11 years as Loomis Town Manager. Beck planned for a Sept. 30 retirement, but the town may contract with him on a part-time retired-annuitant basis, until a new city manager is hired. According to Crickett Strock, town clerk, the town council is in the final stages of the hiring process. In an interview with the Loomis News in January, Mayor Rhonda Morillas said one of Beck’s key contributions was revamping the town center, including renovation of the Train Depot, acquisition of land adjacent to the tracks on Taylor Road, and construction of Blue Anchor Park. In other town news, at their Sept. meeting, councilmembers voted to add the new Blue Anchor Park and Swetzer Road to five new directional signs that will replace the existing ones. The council decided to forgo more costly monument signs listing the names and street numbers of individual Swetzer Road businesses. In another agenda item on Sept. 13, Beck presented a report on Blue Anchor Park at the request of Councilmember Miguel Ucovich. The report described plantings and other construction work that required correction. Omni-Means, a planning firm with offices throughout California, designed the park but several subcontractors completed the work, said Town Engineer and Public Works Director Brian Fragiao in a later interview. “There was landscaping that needs to be replaced and added,” Fragiao said. The installation of the wrong kind of buffalo grass at the park drew attention of councilmembers and the public. As a result of the discussion, Fragiao said a different kind of grass – a fescue – will be planted. Council discussed the proposed construction of a 100,000 square-foot church complex at the town’s border. LIFEhouse Church’s new worship center has been proposed on a 24.6-acre site near the intersection of Delmar Avenue and Sierra College Boulevard. The church is affiliated with the North American Baptist Conference and currently operates from another facility at 4800 Sierra College Blvd., in Rocklin near the intersection with Interstate 80. The project triggered a mitigated negative declaration from Placer County, meaning it is acceptable as long as it incorporates provisions to reduce potential environmental impacts to a “less than significant level.” The county’s initial study addressed only the first phase of the project, which consists of a two-story, 25,785 square-foot church building with 578 seats, 20 rooms for classes or offices, and 219 parking spaces. Councilmembers offered their suggestions to include in the town’s comments on the initial study. The county planning commission will make a recommendation in response to the town’s comments that the town could appeal to the Board of Supervisors. Ucovich noted the town’s lack of a “sphere of influence” extending beyond its borders as significantly detracting from its ability to represent the interests of Loomis in the region. The council agreed to take up the issue again at a future meeting. Councilmember Walt Scherer said the town should explain its concerns to County Supervisor Jim Holmes, who represents Loomis. “This is the county putting urban development outside the area where urban development belongs,” Scherer said in an interview. “It’s contrary to the Town of Loomis’s general plan.” Councilmember Gary Liss said he was concerned with traffic impacts from the church as well as potential environmental impacts on nearby Antelope Creek and the burrowing owl. The study confirms that water runoff is an issue at the site but says mitigation measures including a drainage report would sufficiently address concerns. The study does not mention Antelope Creek. The study also does not mention the western burrowing owl, although the church listed it as a potentially affected species in the environmental questionnaire filed with the county in March 2009.