Sacramento County supervisors postponed a much-anticipated decision Wednesday night on whether to approve the controversial Cordova Hills project just outside the county's urban development area.
More than two dozen people signed up to express their concerns with the 2,700-acre project east of Rancho Cordova, warning it would produce sprawl and harm the environment.
"I think this is growth-inducing," said Rob Burness of the Environmental Council of Sacramento.
"Our recommendation: We ask you not to move forward and give land speculators the chance to make millions on this decision."
The delay in a decision until Jan. 29 came after Supervisor Phil Serna proposed that the development be analyzed for its effects on the area's eligibility for transportation funding and on its ability to meet smart growth and sustainable community strategies - both with and without a university.
The county staff is expected to work with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments to review the possibilities for analyses over the next month.
So far, planning has focused on the concept that a university will be part of Cordova Hills, which received its initial approval from the county in 2008.
The area is designed to house more than 20,000 people, include 75 miles of trails as well as retail services, commercial and office space and a private university for 6,000-plus students.
But the university initially proposed for the site pulled out, and critics have voiced doubts that any university is likely.
Larry Greene, executive director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, said his agency has reached agreement with Sacramento County to strengthen the Air Quality Management Plan for the site without a campus.