Sacramento planning commissioners on Thursday unanimously approved a controversial plan for a new subdivision in east Sacramento called McKinley Village, after neighbors expressed concerns about traffic and supporters called the plan the best option for an awkward site.
The plan by developer Phil Angelides – the former state treasurer and gubernatorial candidate – and builder The New Home Company will go next to the Sacramento City Council for consideration.
“That property’s going to be developed, but because you all came out it’s a better project,” commissioner Douglas Covill told the packed chambers at City Hall.
The McKinley Village site is surrounded by the Capital City Freeway and the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Prior proposals for the site included a high-rise development called Centrage in the early 1990s, which was denied approval by the Sacramento City Council, and big-box retail development in the mid-1990s, which was withdrawn by the developer.
“Have you visited this site and stood in the land between the freeway and the trains?” asked Ellen Cochrane, head of the community group East Sacramento Preservation. “Your children, your family, your friends – would you encourage them to live in this development?”
Fierce neighborhood opposition helped kill the Centrage proposal. McKinley Village has numerous neighborhood critics but was recommended for approval by city staff and has many supporters among local officials.
At Thursday’s meeting, several neighborhood groups called for the developers to install a vehicle tunnel at Alhambra Boulevard, a main commercial corridor.
Current plans call for two exits from the subdivision: a freeway overcrossing that connects to 28th Street in midtown and a railroad undercrossing at 40th Street in east Sacramento.
Some said they would remove their opposition if the developer installed a second vehicle tunnel at Alhambra.
Angelides told the commissioners a tunnel at Alhambra would be too difficult to engineer and prohibitively costly, and would make the project unfeasible.
“Of course they’ll remove their opposition because the project will be dead,” he said.
Supporters called for commissioners to back the plan, saying McKinley Village is a well-designed neighborhood that will allow more residents to live close to the urban core.
“This project has overwhelming positives for our neighborhood,” said Cathy Taylor, an east Sacramento resident.
Call The Bee’s Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.