Revised housing project returns in Elk Grove

Published: Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B

An Elk Grove housing subdivision with a nine-year history of bitter opposition and legal snarls is back with a revised design and some of the same old worries.

Silverado Village, a 660-home development, is proposed for 230 acres at the northwest corner of Bond and Waterman roads. The housing community is reincarnated from a past planned subdivision, Vintara Park, which sparked a lawsuit by nearby residents successfully challenging its traffic and water supply plans.

Now, a new set of developers say they've spent a year huddling with nearby homeowners to craft a more palatable version of the subdivision, embarking on a full-blown environmental review to address traffic congestion and water deliveries, adding a senior housing component and improving drainage on the property.

Residents in the surrounding Quail Ranch Estates and Fallbrook neighborhoods, however, still have many of the same concerns about too many new homes being built in open land on the outskirts of existing communities.

As proposed, Silverado Village would have 660 single-family homes and an Eskaton village with up to 125 senior independent, assisted-living and memory care units.

Developers also plan a 64.5-acre wetland habitat preserve, 6.5 acres of open space, a 16-acre drainage basin, 6 acres of parkland and public trails.

The city is taking public comments on the project through Tuesday. After a traffic impact study and water supply report are submitted, a final environmental report will be released, followed by another 45-day public comment period. City staff expects the project to come before the Planning Commission by late July, before going to the City Council.

Ed Johanson, president of developer Silverado Homes in Roseville, said residents' objections to the former Vintara Park project were triggered by high-density housing and the lack of a full environmental assessment – concerns that have now been addressed, he said.

"Right at the outset, we met with local community groups and associations about density, we've had workshops for over a year, and have been getting support for this plan," Johanson said.

He said the housing abutting Quail Ranch Estates is now more compatible to the existing neighborhood.

Angee Wangsgard, who lives in Quail Ranch Estates and owns a home in Fallbrook, said she was pleased with the outreach efforts of the developer but is still worried about density, possible building of parks and sports fields on open spaces, and trampling of environmentally fragile habitats.

She said the only substantial improvement in Silverado's concept is the addition of senior units, which she acknowledges will cut down on traffic congestion.

"Residents are nervous," she said. "This is a big deal for Elk Grove. There aren't very many big spaces like this left in Elk Grove."

In 1996, the county approved a tentative subdivision map for the property, called Elk Ridge Estates. The project never moved forward and the map expired.

The land is currently owned by the Sacramento Area Sewer District and was declared surplus property in 2000.

Centex Homes was negotiating to buy the land and proposed Vintara Park in 2004. In 2006, the city approved a pared-down environmental review process for the subdivision. Neighbors filed suit against the city.

A judge ruled the city was lacking in its assessment of water and traffic impacts in 2008. Silverado Homes took over contract negotiations in a purchase agreement with the sewer district in 2009, submitting an application for a redesigned subdivision map last year.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Anne Gonzales



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