After being presented with the Carillion Boulevard Master Plan, which includes a “road diet” and 11 roundabouts, Galt Planning Commissioners found themselves deadlocked on their recommendation to City Council. This presentation, along with two public hearings, made up the two-hour Galt Planning Commission meeting Thursday night, July 9. After presentations and public hearings, commissioners approved the Fairway Oaks and County Island Annexation project and a conditional use permit for the Simmerhorn Road Gas Station project.
Simmerhorn Road Gas Station project
Dr. Devon Dalla, owner/developer of the 76 Gas Station at the corner of Simmerhorn Road and Highway 99, petitioned the city to include alcohol sales in the convenience store attached to the gas station. Construction crews are currently working on underground utilities at the location, which will include a Baja Fresh, Jamba Juice and drive-thru coffee shop, along with the gas station and convenience store.
The amended Conditional Use Permit (CUP) includes the sale of beer, wine and distilled spirits to be consumed off site.
According to Dalla, alcohol sales will be limited and will be in a locked location behind the counter.
“I wanted to add this for the convenience for the people of Galt,” Dalla said during the Zoom meeting. “It’s not a liquor store, but it will have a premium selection of wine.”
Commissioners passed the CUP 4-0.
Fairway Oaks and County Island Annexation project
Being developed by The Arcadia Companies, the Fairway Oaks Subdivision totals just over 50.5 acres and will include 162 lots for single-family homes, with 12.5 acres dedicated to open space along the Dry Creek corridor. The project is located just west of Highway 99, between Glendale Avenue and Ranch Road.
The project needs additional access points, and is seeking to annex in an adjoining “county island”, which has a road that, when improved, can be used for access, connecting the project to South Lincoln Way to the west.
The county island encompasses nine homes that share Cornell Road, a street maintained by the county. The homes in the area are not part of the city water and sewer programs, having wells and septic systems instead.
Community Development Director Chris Erias said that this area has always been planned for a housing development and fits in with the Galt Master Plan.
“It just fits like a puzzle piece,” Erias said.
But that puzzle piece didn’t quite fit, according to residents adjacent to the project, many of whom voiced their concerns regarding the plan during the public hearing.
Eight letters were read, plagued with worries regarding additional vehicle and foot traffic, perceived fire hazards, landscape maintenance, homeless encampments, drainage, oak tree preservation and development access.
A revolving theme from those located in the county island was fear that they would be required to convert their rural properties to match that of a city. Most letter writers asked for a written guarantee from the city that they could continue to use their land as they were currently doing as allowed by Sacramento County, such as livestock, businesses, and wells and septic tanks.
Erias said that many of the concerns raised by the county residents were covered in the frequently asked questions that were sent to those in the county island.
County resident John Andrade said in his letter to the city that he was opposed to being annexed into the city “simply to make life more convenient for someone else.”
The 89-year-old resident said he purchased his property decades ago because he didn’t want to live in a city, but wanted to enjoy being near a city.
“I don’t want to live in the city … I’m opposed to the annexation.”
County resident Carol Smith echoed several other letter writers, saying that this was going to change their way of life.
“We are going to lose our peaceful setting,” Smith said.
Smith questioned why Cornell Road was being used as an access road for the development and asked that the road be left alone.
Erias and Senior Civil Engineer Bill Forrest explained that building and fire code requirements have established new standards requiring four access points for the development.
Other residents were concerned for the heritage oaks within the development area.
Currently there are 29 oak trees on the 50.5 acres, 12 of which are planned to be removed. The trees to be removed include one with extreme structural and health issues, one with major structural and health issues, five in fair condition, three in good condition and two whose conditions have not yet been determined.
Commissioners ultimately voted 3-0 to approve a motion to recommend to City Council to approve the development project and annexation. The matter is expected to go before Galt City Council at its Aug. 4 meeting.
Commissioner Keith Jones had to recuse himself from both the discussion and decision, as he owns property within 500 feet of the proposed project.
Carillion Boulevard Master Plan
Commissioners could not come to an agreement regarding the Carillion Boulevard Master Plan project. Split 2-2 in the initial motion to recommend City Council approve the project, commissioners settled on readdressing the project at their next regular meeting Aug. 13 to see if they could reach a consensus before it was presented to Council on Aug. 18.
The motion would have needed a majority vote to move forward. This predicament is usually avoided with a five-seat commission; however, after the loss of Commissioner LeeAnn McFaddin, Council did not fill her seat.
According to staff, the master plan addresses several inadequacies along the Carillion Boulevard corridor, including multimodal transportation options, greenhouse gas emissions and dependency on automotive travel for short local trips.
Presented by Todd Tregenza with GHD, a sub-consultant to Raney Planning & Management, the new plan claims to provide a master plan for a long-term, sustainable and safe multimodal corridor for all ages and abilities, balance the allocation of right-of-way on Carillion more equitably between travel modes, and reduces the barrier effect of the road for comfortable walking and biking between neighborhoods, to and from schools, parks, home, work and shopping.
Tregenza said that currently bike lanes on Carillion are narrow, some areas have poor visibility and, due to its width, pedestrian crossings are very long with little to no protection.
In the 20-year travel forecast, 11,000-19,000 daily vehicles are expected to traverse the Carillion Boulevard corridor, if things are left as is. This is expected to result in severe delays on the side streets.
By reducing Carillion Boulevard to just two lanes, Tregenza said that that would minimize traffic to 5,000-11,500 daily, pushing travelers to use Marengo Road, as well as others.
“With less traffic on Carillion, roundabouts will provide sufficient capacity while greatly enhancing safety,” Tregenza said during his report.
Two alternatives were presented to commissioners.
Staff-recommended Alternative 1 includes reducing the four-lane road to just two 14-foot vehicle lanes, adding 11 roundabouts, expanding the existing bike lanes to 8 feet, and providing a 6-foot buffer between the vehicle and bike lanes, as well as a 14-foot planting strip down the middle of the boulevard, and 9-foot planting strips and 8-foot sidewalks on each side.
Alternative 2 keeps four lanes of vehicle traffic, each 11 feet wide, and increases the existing bike lane by a foot, making it 6 feet wide. Alternative 2 does not provide a buffer between vehicle and bicycle traffic.
Tregenza said that Alternative 2 will eventually necessitate nine traffic signals and could require no left turns from side streets Chelsham and Vauxhall avenues.
City staff and Tregenza stated that both alternatives could be completed in phases after priorities were determined and funding sources are identified.
Alternative 1 comes with a heavier price tag of nearly $34 million, where Alternative 2’s costs are just over $19 million.
Assuring commissioners that no money will come from the city’s general fund to cover the project, Erias said that staff would seek for additional grants and existing transportation funds.
In addition to this July 9 meeting, staff presented the plan at four separate public meetings. At the previous meetings, staff was confronted with opposition from local residents. The July 9 meeting was no different; however, only two residents chimed in on the project.
Commissioner Mark Crews was disappointed with the lack of public input and wanted to hear from more constituents.
Commissioner Mathew Pratton said he was not a fan of the project and took issue with dismantling what “arguably is the best street in Galt.”
Both Crews and Pratton were the nay votes against recommending the project to City Council.
Commissioner Kevin Papineau suggested tabling the decision until the next commission meeting, hoping to come to a resolution in time for the following City Council meeting.