Look before leapfrogging

Sac Metro AQMD employee and Yuba City resident

If you’ve gone to Sutter County’s Web site you would probably be as surprised as I was to discover that the South Sutter Industrial/Commercial Park was already “immediately available” for building.

I believe the County of Sutter is out of line promoting a 3,500-acre development that has not even cleared the County Planning Commission, let alone been approved by the Sutter County Board of Supervisors.

What scares me is that Sutter County officials are pushing a plan so grandly ill-conceived that it makes California’s electricity deregulation seem brilliant by comparison.

For instance:

” The public comment period is supposed to be 45 days from the public release of the South Sutter County Specific Plan. A crucial element of the plan, Volume III, the Financing Plan, was just released on February 11.

” This may seem picky, but don’t we have a right to fully review and comment on this project’s $297 million infrastructure and its attendant fiscal implications before the EIR or plan is approved?

” The plan calls for spraying treated sewage from the industrial park on 1,400 acres of nearby farm fields, including those reserved as natural habitat within the Natomas Basin Conservancy. This was news to the Conservancy, who were never consulted and who now oppose the plan.

” A third of the proposed industrial park lies within the 100-year floodplain and yet the “Specific” plan is short on the specifics of exactly how both wastewater and storm drainage will be handled, allowing individual projects to go ahead prior to area-wide drainage systems being built.

There are a lot more problems with this plan, including regional transportation, air quality, and land-use compatibility issues.

I am not alone in my concern; others who are also critical of this plan include: Reclamation District 1000, Feather River Air Quality District, Sacramento Metropolitan Air District, Caltrans, California Department of Fish and Game, Placer County Planning Department, city of Roseville, Sierra Club, ECOS, Friends of the Swainson Hawk, Sacramento County Airport, Sacramento County Department of Environmental Review and Assessment, and the Natomas Community Association.

I’m not against development and job creation in Sutter County; but a huge leapfrog development that promises to create jobs for Sutter County, but would actually create jobs closer to Sacramento County population centers, seems not only contrary to their own stated goals but also contrary to coordinated regional planning.

The potential impact of this plan on the region’s quality of life is enormous. Check the facts for yourself and get involved.