Planning commission hosts priory workshop

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Editor
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The Loomis planning commission will hold a workshop on the Regina Caeli Priory project next week. Project proponents requested the workshop, slated for 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Loomis Train Depot, to address any final concerns before the project goes for a vote at the February commission meeting. The Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist proposed more than a year ago to build a 100-sister priory on 40 acres on the corner of Barton and Rocklin Roads. The Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (Neg Dec) had been received and the only comments submitted by the public were from Town Councilman Gary Liss, Planning Commissioners Pat Miller and Janet Thew and Loomis Parks, Recreation and Open Space committee member Shawna Martinez. The applicants then made a change to the project that lowered the height of the priory’s bell tower so that a variance would not be required and re-circulated the modified Neg. Dec. and also addressed the concerns raised by town officials. Public comment on the revised study was due earlier this week, with more comments received frm Thew and Miller. The next regular meeting of the planning commission will be Tuesday, Feb. 7. According to Sister Mary Samuel Handwerker, the Dominican sisters wear traditional habits and became known as the “Oprah sisters” after two appearances on the popular daytime television show. Handwerker is in charge of the Loomis project and said the Priory is planned to be a 134,000-square-foot, mission-style convent. Handwerker said 77 sisters will live at the convent with additional sisters living out at other locations, but returning for holidays. The residential agricultural zoning allows an organizational facility such, as a monastery, by conditional use permit. PRIORY WORKSHOP Who: Loomis Planning Commission What: Regina Caeli Priory Project When: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18 Where: Loomis Train Depot, 5775 Horseshoe Bar Rd. Information: 652-1840,