Town of Loomis aiming for master plan balance

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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The Town of Loomis and its consultants are trying to find a balance between competing needs. During recent public meetings and workshops, MIG has been wading through issues and opinions on the downtown master plan and making revisions as they go. “They’ve made dramatic progress since the last draft. It shows they’re listening to the community trying to strike the right balance,” said Randy Elder, of Loomis. Elder, president of the South Placer Heritage Foundation, attended the Nov. 21 steering committee meeting with presentations by MIG. The Heritage Foundation owns the Blue Goose Fruit Shed. Town councilmen and planning commissioners, along with the public, discussed the latest draft proposals for the town’s railroad property and downtown. An earlier draft proposal eliminated all of the parking in front of the Blue Goose Fruit Shed, adding a sidewalk and park instead. The draft viewed at the latest meeting showed half of the parking spaces returning. Issues of pedestrian friendly versus business friendly and parking versus parks are being ironed-out during the meetings. Janet Thew, chair of the planning commission, congratulated MIG on “looking at what’s best for the community as a whole. “The more welcoming, attractive and safe you make it, with shaded walking areas, the more willing people are to walk a little further and park,” Thew said. “We all feel entitled to park right outside the front door, but that’s not a workable model anymore. Joe Latham lives on Taylor Road and said during the meeting, “We need to properly address the problems first – handicapped (accessibility), sidewalks.” Latham said dream plans are meaningless if they don’t address the problems and take care of them first. MIG presented plans for Taylor Road from Sierra College Boulevard to King Road and Horseshoe Bar Road from Interstate 80 to Taylor Road. They estimated the total cost of the parks, landscaping, streetscaping, road revisions, etc. to be $9.5 million and said it could be done as funding became available over a long period of time. According to Perry Beck, town manager, planning and design of the projects will cost $580,000. He said the design is being funded by a $400,000 grant the town received from Cal Trans. Beck said the town had to provide $250,000 in matching funds. Earlier in the week, the planning commission, at their regularly scheduled meeting, approved a draft Bikeway Master Plan and forwarded it on to the council for review and approval. The commission called it a “visionary document.” Commissioner Greg Obranovich, an avid cyclist, was pleased with the plan and said the town “has something to look forward to.” The plan, created by Omni-Means engineering and planning, identifies a number and range of potential and existing bike trails and shows how they should be expanded and improved. According to Brian Fragiao, town public works director, the town is using $29,000 of gas-tax money from the state to pay for the plans.