It’s the land of Ah: Placer County is home to picture-perfect suburbs where new housing developments spring up like dandelions amid a wealth of green countryside. Much of the appeal of cities like Auburn, Rocklin and Roseville can be found in the views of open spaces and rolling topography in these communities. People buy move-up houses here not only for highly rated school districts, but also for the spacious feeling of the farmland, the foothills dotted with oaks and the majestic pine and fir forests leading to the western edge of Lake Tahoe.
Now, county officials appear close to approving a sweeping plan to preserve Placer’s agricultural character. If approved by the Board of Supervisors, a conservation plan would protect a large area of farms and open space in the western portion of Placer County, and keep them free of development for at least 50 years —possibly longer. According to the plan, existing urban areas would continue to develop and grow in density, while existing farmland and fields in designated areas would remain off limits to developers.
With approvals in place for an expected 20,000 homes to be built in the next 20-30 years, “there’s a concern that urban areas will just continue to grow unchecked,” says Michael Johnson, Placer County planning director. “County leadership want to define an edge around urban areas where permanent [open] spaces would be located” The conservation plan is the vehicle to achieve that goal, Johnson says.
Many California cities and several counties have adopted growth limits or are currently studying them. Keeping down the costs of infrastructure is another potential advantage of conservation plans, according to Johnson. What city planners call “compact development,” keeps homes and employment centers within a close distance of each other, encouraging people to walk, use bicycles and take public transportation..
The proposed conservation plan attempts to learn from the mistakes of earlier open space efforts, according to Johnson. Instead of conservation areas interspersed by developments, he says, the Placer County plan provides continuous routes for animals that need widespread habitat. For some types of wildlife, “connectivity is critical to the survival of the species,” he says. Just as green space may be critical to the ongoing vitality of the Placer housing industry.
In a county where 218,510 residents are food insecure (meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from), and where a local food bank will distribute groceries to 40,000 individuals each month, food activists are continually innovating ways to break the cycle of poverty—for good. The solution is actually under our feet: the soil.
The Cannery is a housing development with a distinctly Davis flavor—that is, the taste of home-grown fruits and vegetables.
Development activity on R Street has gained momentum, with at least six renovation projects taking place in formerly obsolete industrial buildings on the corridor between 11th and 20th streets. The formerly grungy corridor has become arguably the most active development area in downtown Sacramento.
Last May we reported on the upcoming development of a $30 million, 12-field soccer complex in west Roseville and the addition of five baseball and softball fields in the existing Whitney Park complex in Rocklin. Here’s where things stand: