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Councilman appeals approval of subdivision

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Loomis Town Councilman Miguel Ucovich has appealed the recent planning commission approval of a subdivision that allows five existing homes to remain on a one-acre lot on property zoned as Rural Residential. On Nov. 18, the planning commission voted 3-to-2 to approve the tentative subdivision of the Berg Lane property into eight lots and to allow the five homes to remain on the one lot. Commissioner Jean Wilson made the motion, which was seconded by commissioner Greg Obranovich. Planning Commission chairman Mike Hogan and commissioner Janet Thew voted no. Wilson called the approval a “temporary measure.” Ucovich’s appeal, filed on Nov. 24, stated the project’s approved private road is not adequate and that the five homes on one lots is in violation of the existing zoning. The Rural Residential zoning in the Loomis General Plan allows one home per acre. The subdivision is on 9.4 acres at 3769 Berg Lane, near Saunders Avenue and Frost Lane. The five homes have been on the property for many years and are currently rentals. Eric Nejadian, the property owner, hoped to retain the homes as low-income housing and build one home per acre on the remaining seven lots. The parcel in question was approved as what the staff report called a “remainder lot” until “the Council determines a direction on rezoning the parcel.” The issue had been discussed at three planning commission meetings and a variety of public comments had been heard. At one meeting, residents who live in the houses appeared before the commission to plead the need for the retention of their affordable homes. Councilman Walt Scherer spoke against approval of the project at the October planning meeting, and Ucovich spoke against approval at the commission’s November meeting. “I recommend the houses come down, just leave one. This sets precedence,” Ucovich said. The planning commission gave the approval with a deadline of 2012 for the council to either update the General Plan and change the zoning, or have four of the houses torn down. “The approval allows the homes to be kept for the time being and basically gives the tenants a countdown to 2012, so they don’t have to move out right now,” said Matthew Lopez, Loomis planning technician, in a later interview. The council now must decide at its next meeting on Dec. 9 whether to hear the appeal or let the planning commission decision stand.