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New Galt City Council, Planning Commission look to curtail growth

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Posted: Monday, January 15, 2007 10:00 pm

With Galt's future boundaries at stake, citizens and officials weighed in on the city's General Plan update. At a long and, at times, heated joint City Council and Planning Commission meeting, the council decided to extend the term of the new General Plan and make a greenbelt buffer between Galt and Elk Grove a priority.

Galt's General Plan update, which is in its fourth year, should produce a document charting the city's growth until 2030. Before Monday's special meeting, the new General Plan was supposed to last until 2025.

"I would like to see it last at least until 2030," Mayor Tim Raboy said told consultants from Mintier and Associates, who have been contracted to work on the General Plan update.

The council also decided to state its intention of creating a permanent farmland greenbelt north of the city by making it one of their so-called guiding principles of the update. The council also changed one of its guiding principles from focusing on growth to concentrating on protecting the quality of life of the current citizens.

The council and planning commission were considering changing the boundaries of the General Plan at the News-Sentinel's press time.

This was the first joint meeting of the newly elected council and their newly appointed planning commissioners. Donald Haines and Andrew Meredith won seats on the council in November on platforms of slow-growth and are expected to scale back growth with fellow slow-growth proponent Raboy.

Councilman Darryl Clare expressed concern that Elk Grove's sphere of influence could reach as far at Twin Cities Road, Galt's northern boarder.

"The simple fact is that they are going to build around us," he said, adding that Galt should control land north to Arno Road in order to have a say over development there.

Commissioner Sherry Daley replied that no major development has taken place directly north of Galt except for spacious ranchettes on agricultural land.

"I don't see two-acre ranchettes as being under siege," she shot back.

Councilwoman Barbara Payne agreed that Galt needed to control land north of Twin Cities Road.

"It's time we pulled our heads out of the sand and say we are in danger from development from outside areas," she said.

What's next for the Galt General Plan?

• Finalize the boundaries
• Determine preferred land use alternatives
• Prepare an Environmental Impact Report
• Hold public hearings and adopt the General Plan
• Annex Sacramento County land through the Local Agency Formation Commission
Source: City of Galt.

Before the council decided on the General Plan boundaries, the planning commission had a say in their role as an advisory board. Daley said the boundaries set by the previous council should be scaled back.

"I think it's crazy," she said. "What's drawn is not necessary. It's far too large of an area to consider."

Commissioner Marc Yates agreed that the northern boarders had been set too far north, and he was in favor of a retail corridor along Twin Cities road.

"A Twin Cities retail corridor is a good idea," he said. "I agree we need to reign it in a little bit."

Lori Heuer, commission chairperson, recommended the council set Skunk Creek as the northern boundary, which is almost two miles south of the current proposed boarder at Arno Road.

Before the council directed the consultants on the update, more than 30 citizens trotted before the council to voice support and concerns on various aspects of the General Plan. Much of the concern centered around a proposed 2,100 home Del Webb retirement community that could be built next to Galt's wastewater treatment plant northwest of the city.

John Slaughterback said Del Webb would only be a short term solution to development in Galt.

"If Del Webb is built, it would be like a shot of Morphine," he said. "As soon as it wore off, the city would be dead to future development."

The General Plan update has cost the city $585,000 and has $276,000 left it its budget.

Contact reporter Matt Brown at mattb@lodinews.com.

First published: Tuesday, January 16, 2007

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