No more sprawl

SN&R urges the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission to put a hold on Elk Grove's plans to approve expansion on November 6

Elk Grove remains one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. Its continued prosperity is good for the county and offers more than just a bedroom community for Sacramento.

That said, it’s also necessary to take a clear look at the current move by the City of Elk Grove to add 8,000 acres to its “sphere of influence.” That’s basically a pre-annexing move, designed to clear the way for future development.

Here’s the problem: Elk Grove already has thousands of undeveloped acres within its borders—enough to last it for the next couple of decades at the current rate of growth.

And then there’s the issue of the land itself. It’s a wildlife corridor and includes Swainson’s hawk nesting areas, as well as habitat for migratory birds.

What’s more, the plan to add this land to Elk Grove’s sphere of influence sends a signal: more sprawl. It will be read loud and clear by everyone, including developers, farmers and wildlife advocates.

We don’t think that’s a signal that Elk Grove wants to send.

Rather than make another move toward sprawl, it’s time for Elk Grove to focus on long-term planning that actually puts the “smart” in smart growth. Elbow room isn’t the answer. What Elk Grove lacks is a central core that provides a truly unique identity. It’s possible to build that without becoming urban; it’s the small-town feel that makes Elk Grove so attractive.

So, we’re urging the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission to put a hold on Elk Grove’s plans for expansion on November 6. There’s already room for it to make a good thing better.