Elk Grove city officials are interested in annexing rural county land east of Grant Line Road.

The Elk Grove City Council on Jan. 27 voted, 5-0, to authorize the city’s staff to file an application with the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) for the proposed annexation of 390 acres southeast of city limits, near Grant Line Road.

This property represents the initial phase of a proposed 571-acre annexation area in unincorporated Sacramento County.

Also approved by the council was a resolution of intent to approve a General Plan amendment, which reflects proposed plans for a decrease in commercial activities and an increase in the industrial designation.

Through that amendment, the city’s jobs-to-housing ratio is expected to improve with the addition of jobs in Elk Grove. The city currently has an abundance of housing, but a relatively low number of workplaces.

Included in the 390-acre, current annexation proposal is the city’s 100-acre site at the southeast corner of Grant Line and Waterman roads. That land was purchased by the city in 2014 for its original intended purpose of considering a multisport park complex on that site.

Design and planning for the sports complex were later abandoned, and the city declared the site surplus in March 2020.

Christopher Jordan, the city’s director of strategic planning and innovation, explained that the entire 100 acres is currently being considered for industrial use.

The city’s annexation process began with this 100-acre, city-owned property.

Following the city’s original request to have that acreage annexed in 2015, LAFCo asked that the city add adjoining acreage and resubmit its request.

The city’s current, 390-acre annexation proposal also includes the adjoining Kendrick, and Cypress Abby properties.

If that acreage is annexed into Elk Grove’s city limits, the city would not have to pay property taxes for use on that property, and the city would be in control of the entitlement process for this land.

Proponents believe that annexation of this property would help alleviate the city’s decline in available industrial-use property. Proposed land uses for this area also include commercial and recreational uses.

In addition to the three properties of the current proposal, there are 181 acres that complete the city’s sphere of influence (SOI) amendment area, which was approved in May 2019.

The properties within that 181-acre portion of the overall annexation area are the Mahon and Mosher properties.

Annexation proposals for those properties have been delayed to a later phase, because of their current configurations.

According to a city staff report, state law requires that a “legal lot” should not be divided between two land-use agencies. Both of those properties extend beyond the city’s SOI area – to the Cosumnes River.

Jordan mentioned that those two properties would need to be legally split.

“(Each of those properties) would need to be two properties, essentially,” he said.

These properties are also subject to the Williamson Act, which provides for reduced property tax rates in exchange for restricted development rights.

The city staff report notes that; although the timing of an annexation request for the Mahon and Mosher properties are unknown, it is anticipated that annexation on those properties will “occur over the next 20 years.”

Jordan said that future development of the Mahon property, which is south of the city’s 100-acres, could potentially be used for a sports complex, a potential stadium, as well as an option for the Sacramento County Fair.

Council Member Darren Suen expressed his appreciation for the remaining opportunity for a multisport complex.

“As we looked at it earlier in the past, a larger (sports complex) may not have been financially feasible, but I’m glad that at least the opportunity remains for us to examine something along there,” he said.

Although the overall, 571-acre annexation has been divided, Jordan noted that land-use planning and infrastructure analyses consider this full acreage.

“We’ve just been keeping with the conditions directed by LAFCo,” he said.

Among the public speakers who called into the meeting was Justin Oldfield, who manages Daehling Ranch LLC, which owns the property directly east of the proposed annexation area.

Oldfield spoke against the annexation of that area, and in favor of the continuance of those properties within unincorporated Sacramento County.

“My wife and I are the second generation to operate our diversified farming operation and we hope to be able to pass this opportunity along to our children,” he said.

“We have every intent to continue our farming operations from Grant Line Road south, and remaining within the sole jurisdiction of the county would better preserve our ability to farm.”