The controversial Yamanee condominium tower planned for Sacramento’s midtown neighborhood is moving forward after a Sacramento Superior Court judge this week dismissed a lawsuit trying to block it on the grounds that it is too dense.
At 15 stories, Yamanee would be the tallest building in midtown, occupying the corner of 25th and J streets with 14,000 square feet of ground floor retail, three floors of parking and ten floors (134 units) of condominiums.
The suit alleged the city overstepped its discretion in allowing the project to be three times more dense than the city’s general plan designation for the area. The Oct. 17 ruling by Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley denied the legal challenge. The ruling found the city has the authority to allow higher density when the project provides a “significant community benefit.”
The lawsuit was filed by an ad hoc group calling itself Sacramentans for Fair Planning. The group’s website sacfairplanning.org directs questions to historic preservationists William Burg and Karen Jacques.
Burg said the group hasn’t decided whether to appeal, and he appreciates that the city recently has moved to close some loopholes in its zoning code. He said he isn’t against adding housing in downtown and midtown, but thinks the scale of the Yamanee would overwhelm the mostly low-scale midtown neighborhood.
Burg said he would “jump for joy” if the building were planned for downtown.
The project’s developer, Ryan Heater, called the court ruling an unequivocal victory and said it would be “full steam ahead.”
“This a great step forward for the city,” Heater said, adding that his project will be a plus for Sacramento – and smart growth. Yamanee is designed to be an energy-efficient LEED Platinum building and would add housing on a major transportation corridor.
The development comes with the city in the early stages of an initiative to attract 10,000 units of housing to the central city over the next decade amid escalating rents and home prices.
Angela Tillotson, chairwoman of the Midtown Neighborhood Association, said Yamanee will provide housing at a time the city needs more near the urban core.
“Being in a housing crisis, we embrace housing,” Tillotson said. She said the need for affordable housing is critical, but that all types of housing are important.
“The crisis we are in, we need housing. We need housing of all types,” Tillotson said.