The city of Elk Grove is proposing a change to its land use designation on its 100-acre parcel, southeast of city limits at Grant Line Road.

That property, which was purchased by the city in 2014 for nearly $4.4 million, was once envisioned for a Major League Soccer stadium, and has been considered as a potential site for the Sacramento County Fair.

A city report released on July 20 presents a proposal to change the parcel’s land use designation from the formerly proposed “public open space/recreation” to “light industrial uses.” The property’s previously proposed general commercial/commercial office uses would be replaced with a smaller area of regional commercial uses. It is also a consideration of the city to sell a portion of that property.

The city last week released a notice of preparation to begin the process of updating the parcel’s environmental review. This document’s public comment period runs through Aug. 19.

Since this parcel is outside city limits, an annexation process through the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) began in 2015.

Last year, LAFCo approved the city’s proposal to increase its Sphere Of Influence (SOI) – a decision that gave Elk Grove the authority to annex about 561 acres – south of Grant Line Road, between Mosher and Waterman roads, and near the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

Also approved through the SOI was an amendment to include the 100-acre, city-owned parcel for its future development into a multi-sport park complex. The complex proposal focuses on a community-use, recreational component, and does not include a professional soccer field.

A document released by the city on July 20 presents the city’s intention to prepare a supplemental environmental impact report for the 100-acre parcel. This report is a supplement to the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that was approved in the spring of 2019.

Christopher Jordan, the city’s director of strategic planning and innovation, said that the idea of selling a portion of the 100-acre property became an item of consideration while the city worked through the annexation process.

“(It was) to consider not just revising the level of detail of the project in terms of what got built, but also reducing the size of the project, in looking at, does it make sense possibly to sell off a piece of the property and maybe use the proceeds to complete the project or do something else,” he said.

Jordan noted that in the EIR that LAFCo used to support the first phase of the annexation, there is an alternative that identifies the possibility of a 50-50 split of the property.

“Fifty acres of the property would be used for industrial use and our remaining 50-acre piece would be developed for the sports complex,” he said. “A smaller complex – fewer fields and no stadium and no fair complex.

“We’ve been working the last year on the infrastructure master planning, how water and sewer and draining is operated, and all the details about the traffic and circulation, the on-site improvements. So, working through those details, we now have a better understanding about how that’s stuff is going to work. So, we need to update the environmental analysis to do that.”

Elk Grove City Council Member Darren Suen told the Citizen this week that the city always knew that it needed to be “flexible” with that parcel.

“Time will tell on what finally materializes out of there,” he said. “We have an opportunity to make a statement out there in that area, and what that vision looks like.

“I think we’ve received a lot of good input from the relocation of the county fair to the sports complex to potential uses, light industrial-, heavy industrial-type of use. But these things are very fluid, so we just need to see how things materialize.”

Suen described the county fair option as a property use that could be beneficial.

“There’s a huge FFA, farm culture and ag culture in our community, in the history of our community,” he said. “I think regionally (the county fair) is still an import thing. If you look at most of the county, a lot of it is still in ag land.”

Suen also addressed the possibility that the city could sell part of the property.

“All options are on the table,” he said. “If somebody came to us and wanted to buy a portion of (the parcel) for $4.4 million or something like that, (and) we’re able to recoup those funds, then I think that’s something worth taking a look at, for sure.”

“We haven’t even annexed the property yet, so it’s not within our jurisdiction. Again, this is a fluid thing, but there are some things we need to do to meet the demands of the annexation process. So, I think we’re going forward with the best information we have today, and we’ll see how things play out in the months ahead.”

The city report on the 100-acre lot can be reviewed at www.ElkGroveCity.org. Comments can be submitted to the city staff on that website, and they can also be emailed to cjordan@elkgrovecity.org or mailed to City of Elk Grove, Office of Strategic Planning and Innovation, c/o Christopher Jordan, 8401 Laguna Palms Way, Elk Grove, CA 95758.