Sprawl delay

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors is as pro-growth these days as it’s ever been. So it was refreshing—and inspiring—to have Supervisor Phil Serna succeed a few weeks back in at least delaying the mammoth Cordova Hills project, a 2,7000-acre “master planned” community proposed for 22 miles southeast of downtown Sacramento.

As proposed, Cordova Hills would extend the county’s “urban policy area” so as to include 8,000 homes, condos and apartments; commercial office space; a mall; and 99 acres of parks. Importantly, the development was always said to include a 7,000-student, 240-acre university—one that was predicted to generate $1 billion in regional economic activity and, basically, put a “there” there for the project.

Except there is no university. There’s no doubt the developer, Conwy LLC, wants one. But it simply doesn’t have one secured, even after all this time.

Cordova Hills was expected to get the pro-growth supervisors’ green light at a board hearing anyway, but thanks to Serna’s intervention, that didn’t happen. Now the matter will come back before the supervisors on January 29, 2013, along with a new “no-university” scenario analysis by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, or SACOG. This review will more accurately outline the project’s impact on traffic, air quality and compliance with state laws that require limits to greenhouse-gas emissions from vehicle travel.

The Environmental Council of Sacramento has long opposed the project, proclaiming it is urban sprawl, pure and simple. We agree, especially with the unlikelihood of it containing a university. Huzzahs to Serna for delaying the project, and we look forward to SACOG’s no-nonsense analysis of this leapfrog development.