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Town objects to Rocklin Crossings EIR

Legal correspondence begun
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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“We as a town really need to take a stand and say, ‘Don’t tread on us,’” said Dias Lane resident Jim Green. Green was addressing the Loomis Town Council at their April 8 meeting on the Rocklin Crossings development proposed for the corner of Interstate 80 and Sierra College Boulevard in Rocklin. The project will include a Wal-mart Supercenter and Home Depot and those living nearby fear they will be greatly impacted. “We’re really getting dumped on. We’re the little ants,” said Dan Foster, also a Dias Lane resident. Council member Walt Scherer had the Rocklin Crossings item added to the council agenda as an “emergency item” because the deadline for public comment on the project’s Environmental Impact Report was due to the Rocklin Planning Commission the following week. “Traffic mitigations are not adequate. They want our property owners to foot the bill,” Scherer said at the meeting. Loomis residents, many living on Dias Lane, spoke before the council citing noise, traffic, lighting, runoff pollution to creeks and the loss of animal habitat as their major concerns. “I’ve been in Loomis for 38 years. I’ve seen a lot of change, but this is the biggest … I want to see Loomis fight,” said Anna Nakashoji, a former Loomis town clerk. Another Dias Lane resident, Leslie Gray, said, “We live on the border of Loomis and still want to stay a small town.” Gary Liss, chairman of the Loomis Parks and Open Space Commission, said the “cumulative environmental impact of the entire development area needs to be examined. “This is an attack on not only property values and our lifestyles. The impact reaches farther than just Dias Lane. Loomis will never be the same after these projects.” During the meeting, the Loomis council decided to have staff review and respond to the EIR. Donald B. Mooney, an attorney for Loomis, then sent a letter to the Rocklin Planning Commission. The letter, sent on April 15, stated the EIR failed to address impacts to Dias Lane, and failed to address the cumulative impact of other proposed projects in the area including a Lowe’s, Target and movie theatres. Mooney also wrote that the alternatives analysis portion of the EIR failed to look at an alternative that eliminates 24/7 operation of Wal-mart and reduces it to a 12-hour period. The letter further stated that the EIR failed to address economic impact and urban decay issues associated with Loomis businesses, especially Homewood Lumber and Nelthorpe & Sons Appliances, two businesses that provide much of the sales tax revenue for the town. Scherer attended the Rocklin Planning Commission meeting on April 15 and addressed the Rocklin commissioners as a private citizen. “I tried to convey to them that this was their opportunity to change our relationship in regards to development,” he said. Scherer said the commissioners’ response was to take “me to task for asking them to disregard their staff recommendations. “They’re rather short-sided in their planning vision. They’re not interested in anything beyond their borders. They think the world ends at their Rocklin City boundary.” According to Perry Beck, Loomis town manager, Rocklin plans to widen Sierra College Boulevard to four lanes from Interstate 80 to Granite Drive. Rocklin’s only mitigation for Loomis was to restripe the intersection of Taylor Road and Sierra College Boulevard in order to add turn lanes. Beck said the town sent Rocklin a memo stating “we weren’t too happy with it (the traffic mitigation) and asked for more details,” but they never received a response. The Rocklin Planning Commission did approve the EIR and the next step is for the EIR to be sent to their city council, Beck said. The Rocklin council will meet again on May 22. Another letter will be sent to the Rocklin council to restate the town’s objections, Beck said. If the Rocklin council approves the EIR, then Beck said the Loomis Town Council would need to decide on a response.