The Village takes center stage

Residents share views on development behind Raley's shopping center
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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While some residents want high-density housing in a new development planned in Loomis, others are more concerned about preserving the town’s rural feel. And more comments will be accepted on The Village, a project that will bring major changes to a large section of Loomis, at a meeting to discuss the Environmental Impact Report at 6 p.m. Monday, March 16, at Loomis Town Hall. The 54-acre project is planned on the former Gates and Kim properties, located behind Raley’s at Interstate 80, along Horseshoe Bar Road and reaching Laird Street. An applications for general plan and zoning amendments to allow 434 dwelling units and approximately 76,000 square feet of office and commercial space at The Village has been filed on behalf of Lowell Development, according to Kathy Kerdus, town planning director. As part of a workshop hosted by the town Saturday to gather community input, the audience was shown photographs of residential projects with varying degrees of units per acre. Those in the upper level, of 40 to 60 units per acre and above, drew negative reactions. “Where do you put all the cars in a 50-to-25-units-per-acre development?” said Pat Brechtel, of Loomis. John Knott, of Loomis, said he would like to see the development include high-density housing for seniors, which would also ease need for parking cars. “Senior citizens shop,” he said. “If there are other means of transportation, there may not have to be six cars per unit.” The talk of high-density housing did not go over well with Loomis Mayor Walt Scherer. “There is no place in Loomis for 20 to 50 units per acre. It is not being considered in this project. Do not go out and tell people it is,” he said adamantly. Shelly Richardson, who lives in the Day Tract near the proposed development, acknowledged “there’s going to be growth,” but she wants small, affordable, one-story homes that are safe and accessible to people such as her mother, who uses a wheelchair. Beth Rowe, of Oak Tree Lane, wants bike trails to connect rural areas to Loomis Community Park. She said Horseshoe Bar Road is too dangerous to ride bikes on. “Things need to be easier to get to downtown,” she said. However, Mike Carey, who lives on Laird Street, is worried about privacy. The “project is coming, whether we like it or not,” Carey said. His concern was to protect the privacy of property owners near the trails. Pat Anderson addressed the need for people to live where they work. She asked if there are plans for commercial, retail and industrial uses, as well as residential uses. Zack Rockwell of Loomis, who describes himself as a semi-retired general contractor, said he doesn’t like having to go out of town to shop and for services. “The more (people) you have, the more (businesses) you bring,” he said.