LAFCO to get amended Elk Grove land-use plan

Elk Grove is expanding the amount of land it proposes to annex for a planned sports complex because the regional commission that oversees city boundary changes found the first proposal too small.

In February, Elk Grove submitted a sphere of influence application to the Sacramento County Local Agency Formation Commission to bring 100 acres that the city purchased into its planning area – the first step toward annexation.

Commissioners kicked back the proposal, telling the city to include properties around the project so the annexation wouldn’t stick out like an isolated thumb from the south boundary of the city.

LAFCO largely frowns upon the formation of such so-called peninsulas – sections of incorporated land bordered by chunks of unincorporated land – but Peter Brundage, LAFCO’s executive officer, said commissioners evaluate peninsulas on a case-by-case basis.

The new plan Elk Grove will send to LAFCO expands the area to roughly 580 acres, much of it to the west of the proposed athletic facility, but leaves other landowners on the sidelines.

The rectangular 100-acre plot was originally intended to persuade Major League Soccer to locate a franchise in the suburban city. With Sacramento’s Republic FC now leading a charge to build a stadium in downtown Sacramento, Elk Grove has shifted gears. Today, the city envisions the Elk Grove Multi-Sports Complex as a youth sports hub that would contain as many as 16 fields and a 9,000-seat stadium that could be expanded to hold more spectators or host concerts and other events.

Landowners to the north and the east of the proposed playing fields objected to being left out of the potential city expansion.

“The (sports complex) proposal is far-reaching. It is a significant land use. There are impacts and implications beyond the borders of this property,” said land attorney George Phillips, who represents landowners Dale and Pat Mahon and John and Jack Kautz, at the City Council meeting last week. “A more comprehensive look can be done in a timely fashion and not complicate the city’s life too much or slow down the park.”

Council members from the dais told the landowners east of the proposed amendment area to lobby LAFCO, not Elk Grove, or wait for a future general plan update to revisit the issue.

“We’re trying to be very, very cautious. We don’t want to amend what we’ve got in the works already,” said Elk Grove Councilman Steve Detrick.

Adding the north and east parcels would have expanded the amended sphere to roughly 900 acres, potentially delaying the city’s sports complex plans, said Councilman Darren Suen.

“We run the risk of upsetting the apple cart for a larger vision, which is a sports complex. Ideally, you want to look broadly, not piecemeal. ... We, the city, want to influence what happens in that area,” Suen said. “I go back to the priority at hand, which is to bring in the sports complex property so that we can actually control it and then get to some specifics about what we’re going to do there.”

Call The Bee’s Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.