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Housing development violates Penryn plan

By: Michael Sasko, former chairman of Penryn Municipal Advisory Council
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That "D" word has once again surfaced around Penryn, as developers have set-up shop in one of their favorite parts of unincorporated Placer County. Quietly moving through the county planning department are several small parcel, high-density housing projects that will, if approved, change the face of Penryn forever. Although legal, these projects are a direct violation of our Penryn Horseshoe Bar Community Plan and we, as defenders of the plan, cannot not allow for their approval. Since America is a free country and because of the county's need to generate tax revenue, anyone can propose almost any development project, whether we like it or not. Perhaps you remember Penryn plans for a casino, big-box church, and even a convention center. These projects were stopped when county planning stepped in and opposed zoning changes. Today's developers are more savvy and now simply target C-1 commercially zoned parcels for their cash-out plans, because technically C-1 parcels can allow for residential use. Such is the case for the first proposed threat, Penryn Townhomes, a 23-unit, single family, townhome project located on 3.2 acres off Penryn Road. Should this gain approval, watch out for the Penryn condos located next to the Lutheran Church, which proposes 150 rental condos on a 15-acre site complete with 244 garages and 350 parking spots. Penryn Heights is on the parcel behind the Valencia Club, where developers cleverly renamed their duplex structures, as "duets", not bringing music to ears of many local citizens. Until the recent change in leadership, county planning would traditionally reject C-1, cluster-type projects because they violate the community plan. For back in days of pre-development, our forward-thinking ancestors of the 1980s completed a two-year project that defined a rural vision for growth in our Penryn-Loomis community. Meeting weekly several residents worked tirelessly to design, down to specific detail, how change should occur within the 25-square mile area of the Penryn Parkway. The plan, approved by the community and the Board of Supervisors, called for us to "protect and preserve the unique character of the community" and that "no dwelling units are assumed for the commercial designations even though multi-family residential is permitted within the implementing zoning district." The Penryn-Horseshoe Bar Community Plan stands as our strongest defense against a new planning director and county-supported, cluster development. New to the mix, Penryn activist Muriel Davis has created a remarkable Web site that documents all proposed Penryn developments. Read our plan at www.penryncommunity.blogspot.com. ACTION is required to stop these projects. The meeting is scheduled for Aug. 9 at 10 a.m. Defend our community plan and contact the Planning Commission at Tbennett@placer.ca.gov. and Planning Director Michael Johnson at mjohnson@placer.ca.gov. Should our community lose at the planning commission hearing, we will have to count on Supervisor Jim Holmes' ability to gain two more votes on our last appeal, to the Board of Supervisors. Stop high-density, cluster development, it is not part of our Penryn Plan. Michael Sasko is the former chair of the Penryn Municipal Advisory Council.