Loomis expresses traffic-congestion concerns over 150-unit residential complex in Penryn

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Citing traffic-flow concerns, the town of Loomis waded into the debate Thursday over a 150-unit residential complex a San Diego company plans to build on a vacant 15-acre parcel in Penryn. Speaking at a Placer County Planning Commission hearing on the Orchard at Penryn proposal’s draft environmental impact report, Councilman Gary Liss said increased traffic congestion caused by the project at two Loomis intersections should be addressed. That could come by either scaling back the development or finding ways to ease flows to more manageable levels, he said. “It’s not acceptable to the town of Loomis,” Liss said. Loomis Town Council is particularly concerned with traffic impacts from the Orchard at the Taylor Road-King Road and Taylor Road-Horseshoe Bar Road intersections. They’ve been determined to be significant and unable to mitigate, he said. Liss said the town is willing to work with the county and developer to come up with potential solutions, including funding agreements for Loomis intersection improvements. Penryn Development, a limited liability company based in San Diego, owns the property and is going through the development process to construct the Orchard on Penryn Road, near Interstate 80. The Planning Commission heard testimony but made no decisions on the project at Thursday’s session. Penryn resident Muriel Davis said the Orchard plan is inconsistent with nearby development that includes high-end homes and a church. “It’s like putting a concrete block in a garden,” Davis said. Davis said locating a large apartment complex in an area that had been zoned for mixed use didn’t seem to be following the intent of the Penryn community plan. Lora McPherson, a 35-year Penryn resident, said the original intent of the most recent general plan for the area around the Orchard apartment complex was one that matched the community and its needs. “They never envisioned ‘apartment row,’” McPherson said. McPherson said she was concerned about the transitory nature of apartment dwellers and the possibility of prostitution, drugs and crime there. “I was a mail carrier in Penryn for over 10 years and saw it as a stable area,” McPherson said. “At least make the apartments owner-occupied.” Placer County planner E.J. Ivaldi outlined the Orchard proposal to the commission, stating that the draft environmental impact report indicates the project will create have negative impacts on air quality, transportation circulation and the rural appearance of the property. The draft environmental impact report’s comment period ends Aug. 29. Ivaldi said that with no fee-impact agreement on traffic issues between the county and Loomis, impact on that community’s roads are unavoidable. No Penryn Development representative spoke at the hearing and no one from the audience spoke in favor of the project.