The Elk Grove Planning Commission on Jan. 7 will review an application for the annexation of 390 acres southeast of city limits.
This site is located in unincorporated Sacramento County, which subjects it to land-use approvals by county officials.
During their meeting, the commission will decide whether to recommend that the Elk Grove City Council file that application with the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo).
The 390-acre proposed annexation site represents Phase 1 of a proposed 571-acre annexation area, which would help alleviate the city’s decline in available industrial-use property. Proposed land uses for this area also include commercial and recreational uses.
As a whole, the proposed annexation area is referred to by the city as the Elk Grove Multi-Sports Complex and Southeast Industrial Annexation Area.
Christopher Jordan, the city’s director of strategic planning and innovation, explained why the city is interested in having this property annexed.
“We’ve been doing some research the last few years and we see a real long-term deficiency in industrial land in the city,” he said. “So, if you look around today, there are some vacant, undeveloped industrial properties, but they’re fairly small, and they’re few and far between.
“So, as you think about what the market needs are, what does Elk Grove need, in terms of the future, industrial land is something that is growing in popularity. There’s been a lot of distribution centers. Light manufacturing uses pop up around the region. There’s nowhere really in the south county for those projects to go.”
The city’s process of annexing land southeast of the city began after it acquired about 100 acres at the southeast corner of Grant Line Road and Waterman Road for the development of a multi-sport park complex, in the fall of 2014.
In the following year, LAFCo asked the city to include some adjoining properties in its annexation request. As a result, the city’s sphere of influence area (SOI) includes the Mahon, Mosher, Kendrick, and Cypress Abby properties.
The current annexation proposal includes the city’s 100-acre site, the adjoining Kendrick and Cypress Abby properties.
Jordan told the Citizen that the owners of the Mosher and Mahon properties are “not quite ready yet.”
“They need to deal with the subdivision issues on their end with the county first,” he said. “There’s also (the) Williamson Act, so they’ve got some agricultural protections in place. So, it’s just not the right time for them yet. But that’s not a worry at this point.”
LAFCo approved the city’s proposal to increase its sphere of influence in 2019. An SOI is a planning boundary that is beyond an agency’s designated legal boundary, and it recognizes a probable future boundary and service area.
The 100-acre, city-owned property, as well as part of the nearby Mahon property, once included a proposed stadium and early efforts to attract Major League Soccer to this site.
Jordan noted that the sports complex efforts are ongoing.
“(The) sports complex is still alive in industrial zoning with a conditional-use permit, so we’re not foreclosing any options on that idea,” he said.
Jordan added that the site could also be considered a possible site for the Sacramento County Fair.
“If the County Fair was looking at some options there, that could be something we could continue to explore with them, if they’re interested,” he said.
Jordan mentioned that the city has been working on infrastructure planning within the proposed annexation area for about the past year and a half.
“(The city has) all that stuff ready to go,” he said. “So, the Planning Commission gets to review it next week and hopefully they’ll make a recommendation to the City Council who will see it in a few weeks’ time. Then the application will go to LAFCo for consideration of annexation.”
City Council Member Pat Hume, whose council district borders the proposed annexation area, explained why he is interested in having this area annexed into the city limits.
“I think the value, from my standpoint, every time we kind of looked at this proposal in its different stages and iterations, is kind of being able to manifest your own destiny – so, being in control of the land that’s on the other side of (Grant Line Road),” he said. “From an economic development standpoint, from a variety of land-use standpoint, to just be able to know what’s going in your own backyard.”
Hume told the Citizen that he believes that the process of seeking annexation has reached its “procedural” point.
“To me, all of the time for consternation and jockeying and all that stuff, that’s already passed,” he said. “To me, this is just kind of a procedural step that shouldn’t be that big of a deal.”
In anticipation of the upcoming Planning Commission meeting, George Murphey, the commission’s vice chair, noted the long-term process of this annexation proposal.
“This is not an unforeseen thing,” he said. “It’s been discussed when we did the General Plan and we included this particular study area in the General Plan. It’s already been approved as an SOI. Now, we have to get the annexation going and this is the pre-zoning, so when it comes into the city, we know what it’s going to be.”
Murphey added that although he does not yet know how he will vote on the annexation application, he recognizes a need for the annexation.
“I do favor and see the need for increasing the availability of space for large industrial users, be it heavy or light,” he said.