The building moratorium against the city of Galt was officially lifted by state authorities at noon Wednesday, allowing housing and commercial developers to obtain building permits for the first time in almost three months.
Officials at the California Regional Water Quality Control Board determined that Galt's agreement to lease 180 acres from the Sacramento Catholic Diocese qualified the city to resume issuing building permits, Ken Landau, the water quality board's assistant executive officer, said Wednesday.
Landau said he signed the document lifting the sewer permit ban at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The city of Galt received Landau's fax a half-hour later.
With the building moratorium coming to an end, Galt could see some significant housing construction, particularly in the city's Northeast area, and expansion of the Galt Village Shopping Center.
For example, Elliott Homes plans to build about 180 homes off Marengo Road between Walnut Avenue and Simmerhorn Road, Elliott Vice President Russ Davis said. Despite the moratorium, Elliott was allowed to build model homes since people wouldn't be living in them, Davis said.
Another developer, Hofmann Co., has 124 homes it plans to build this year along Carillion Boulevard, south of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
"Whether they are in a position to submit permits, I don't know," said Curt Campion, Galt's assistant city manager and planning director.
The end of the city's sewer permit ban will also allow Galt Village Shopping Center on Twin Cities Road to expand. A Raley's superstore and Dollar Tree opened in January, and Blockbuster Video opened in December. Two smaller businesses, an AT&T Wireless store and a nail salon, opened recently as well.
A combined Togo's/Baskin-Robbins store will open Saturday, said Rex Albright, chief executive officer of the Galt District Chamber of Commerce. Lamppost Pizza is scheduled to open at the shopping center in 45 days, Albright said.
"We haven't heard a lot of outcry from developers," said City Manager Ted Anderson, because the moratorium was during the rainy season anyway.
Typically, most building permits are pulled in April and May, when builders know the rainy season is over, Anderson said.
The state water quality board banned sewer permits in Galt because the city had failed to obtain enough sewage disposal capacity to prevent treated sewage to be disposed into nearby Laguna Creek between May 1 and Oct. 31. The creek flows into the Cosumnes River, which further downstream flows into the San Joaquin River and San Francisco Bay.