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Uhler keeps the peace in Granite Bay zoning dispute

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler’s role as peacemaker between a 26-lot Granite Bay development and its opponents just may have turned down the heat on a recall drive. In the last week, Uhler has worked with the Save Granite Bay group and developer Pastor Land Development to develop a compromise. The result is a plan outlined at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting that would halve the number of lots being sought for the 12-acre parcel north of Elmhurst Drive. With the plan on the table, Uhler helped convince supervisors to move ahead with a possible rezoning that would allow Pastor Land the opportunity to come up with a plan for the property that would be limited to 13 units. Pastor had appealed an August decision by the Planning Commission to turn down the rezoning proposal for a 26-lot seniors subdivision. Many of the neighboring residents to the undeveloped lot told supervisors Tuesday that they would be happy with the change because it would keep the land from being developed at a higher density than the current community plan calls for. “We’ve talked about working together and I think we can do that,” said nearby Swan Lake Drive resident John Taylor. Marilyn George, a leader in a drive to recall Uhler that has been simmering since the summer, said before the meeting that the new “good neighbor policy” from Pastor and the hope that Uhler will continue to respond to community concerns would keep a threatened recall from moving forward. George, whose property is adjacent to the Pastor Land parcel and serves as chairwoman of Save Granite Bay, said the group e-mailed 550 community members and the response was that they would support the 13-unit plan if it was involved in all phases of planning. “As long as he stays in the process of approaching the community,” George said. “Otherwise, he would have to pay the political price.” Uhler said that the developer’s decision to downsize the project had earned the consideration of the board for a rezone. Board members voted 5-0 to continue the request to Dec. 14. Even with the rezone, Pastor Land would still have to have a final map on the proposal approved to move forward with the development.