Real Estate News

Elmhurst residents lose battle to keep real estate office out

Neighbors in Elmhurst neighborhood oppose real estate agent's plan to turn home into commercial office

A vocal cadre of Elmhurst residents are fighting to keep local real estate agent Rich Cazneaux from opening shop in the area, fearing his office could lead to more businesses in a single-home enclave already impacted by the nearby UC Davis Medical
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A vocal cadre of Elmhurst residents are fighting to keep local real estate agent Rich Cazneaux from opening shop in the area, fearing his office could lead to more businesses in a single-home enclave already impacted by the nearby UC Davis Medical

A local real estate agent has won a battle against his Elmhurst neighbors to open an office in the residential area near the UC Davis Medical Center.

On Tuesday, the Sacramento City Council voted unanimously to allow Rich Cazneaux to run his business out of a duplex he owns in Elmhurst after hearing testimony from dozens of residents on both sides of the issue.

Cazneaux purchased the petite green building at the corner of V and 51st streets last year and quickly sought approval from the city to change its zoning from residential to commercial.

The city’s planning commissioners recently recommended approving the commercial rezoning, but the City Council gave the property a more restrictive residential office designation that allows Cazneaux’s business to operate while putting other limitations on its use.

Councilman Eric Guerra, who represents Elmhurst, worked for weeks to broker that compromise. Guerra said Tuesday that he understood that “we love the character of our neighborhoods, and we don’t want to do anything to change them.” But he said he believed the change to a more-restrictive office zoning fairly addressed the concerns of opponents.

A vocal contingent of Elmhurst residents turned out at Tuesday’s meeting to fight the move, saying it could be a precedent for future zoning changes.

“It could open a can of worms and allow other developments to come in,” Elmhurst resident Rick Henry told council members.

Other neighbors supported Cazneaux. Political consultant and area resident Steve Maviglio said the opposition was a case of “NIMBY-ism.”

The building in question is a 1,500-square-foot cottage that has a history of housing home-based businesses. Cazneaux said he purchased it from a woman who ran a sewing business, and city records show other commercial enterprises occupied it in past years. Half of the site has been remodeled as a residential one-bedroom unit, Cazneaux said. The other half will be his office.

Under the residential office zoning, the business side of the property can’t exceed 733 square feet, and it can’t be used as a medical office. The medical use was a concern for some neighbors who feared it could one day be converted to a high-traffic clinic because of the nearby hospital.

There are also restrictions on the type of signage the building can have, and Guerra asked city staff to look into additional traffic enforcement at the nearby intersection.

Anita Chabria: 916-321-1049, @chabriaa

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