Council approves 338-acre ‘notch’ annexation

Project Manager Sarah Butler with Wood Rogers presented this example of what the medium high-density homes could look like in the proposed Simmerhorn Ranch development.

Galt City Council voted unanimously to annex the 338-acre “notch” area into city limits during a regular meeting via zoom on Sept. 1. Mayor Sandhu recused himself before any discussion of the topic, being a landowner within the area.

Located between Amador Avenue to the north, Marengo Road to the east, Boessow Road to the south, and city limits east of Highway 99 to the west, the notch area has historically been dairy land and agriculture, and remained within the county purview.

Elliot Homes bought 129 acres at the southeast area of the annexation and has plans to build 429 homes on their L-shaped property. The development will be called Simmerhorn Ranch. The developer plans to build a mix of low density, medium density and medium-high density homes, the latter being cluster housing or “I Courts” where owners share a common access drive.

The project includes extending Carillion Boulevard through the development to connect at the southern end at Boessow Road. Staff has spoken on several occasions on how this is an important “piece of the puzzle” to help connect the east and west sides of the city.

The developer will set aside 10 acres for an elementary school and 5.4 acres for a park. Two water storage basins will also be in the development.

Price Walker of Elliot Homes said he and his company have been working closely with the elementary school district to negotiate terms, and recently received a letter from the district stating they wished to continue with “good faith negotiations.”

Walker introduced Sarah Butler of Wood Rogers. Butler works as the project manager for the development.

“Each lot was chosen carefully to offer different opportunities for ownership and completely consistent with the general plan,” Butler said.

Current residents in the proposed annex area, but outside of the new development area, will be able to retain their private wells and septic systems. They will not have to use city utilities unless they develop their properties, according to Chris Erias, former director of community development.

Much of the discussion from Council Members and a few residents were on the I Courts.

Resident Gene Davenport spoke his concerns about “low income housing” and council approving a liquor store “just across the street.”

Davenport was referring to the recently approved gas station complex at the corner of Simmerhorn Road and Highway 99, at which owner Devon Dalla was granted a Conditional Use Permit to sell beer, wine and distilled spirits. The corner complex will include a 76 Gas Station, Baja Fresh, Jamba Juice and drive-thru coffee shop.

“I’m not delusional; I know this project is probably going through,” Davenport said. “The problem is the city does not take time to listen to us. One hundred percent of the time these developers get what they want.”

Council Member Curt Campion said the I Courts are not low income housing but medium-high density housing and would probably have asking prices over $300,000.

“The city has to comply with state housing,” Campion said. “We must designate a portion of land use for different incomes.”

Council Member Shawn Farmer also commented on the medium density housing plans and the needs of young adults just starting out.

“People don’t want a lot of people moving in,” Farmer said. “People do want In-N-Out Burger, movie theaters and such. This (project) has to happen to attract commercial development. We have to start offering different projects that serves a different niche.”

Campion asked Walker if the company would be opposed to an HOA.

Walker replied, “No.”

Before the vote on the project, Campion asked that council vote on including an HOA for the I Courts. The motion passed 4-0.

Annexation of the 338 acres notch area was also approved 4-0.

According to staff, the annexation request will now move forward to seek LAFCo’s approval, which is expected to be granted before the end of the year.