Opinion: McKinley Village fails to impress skeptical East Sacramento and Midtown crowds

East Sacramento residents were tetchy Tuesday night and not completely on their best behavior. However, rowdy crowds grow quiet when given clear and complete answers. That didn’t happen last night.

If a developer proposes to change the character of two established neighborhoods he either needs to come to the neighborhood with a blank slate and build from there or bring a flushed out plan to the table and be ready to negotiate. A firm handle on public transportation, landscaping, architectural continuity with existing neighborhood homes, density and traffic issues is a must. Starting an application process before you understand what the neighborhood can tolerate is not a good start.

While urban density is preferred, it can’t come at the expense of air quality and traffic management. If developer Phil Angelides takes a second look at his plan he might create a project that East Sacramento and Midtown can tolerate. He knows where to begin–he got an earful of suggestions to ponder.

Come back to the table Mr. Angelides. Refresh your plan so it doesn’t punish the neighborhoods. If you want to calm tempers and lessen anxiety start with reassessing the density, number of vehicle entries, three car garages and lack of low-income housing. Be mindful that the traffic increase your plan imposes on East Sacramento and Midtown is rightly perceived as an enormous burden.

Has East Sacramento Preservation Neighborhood Association prejudged this project? No, we have not. We have not published an opinion of the project, just asked hard questions. The neighborhood will be ready to listen if its concerns are seriously addressed.

Here are the general responses the development team gave on important topics:

Traffic Issues

What are the geographic boundaries of the traffic study? Not answered.

Can the plan have three well-designed car traffic access points? Not possible for technical reasons. Developer was not given time to answer this fully.

Has no plans for traffic mitigation.

Maintains urban environments must deal with traffic.

Flood Threats

General response: railroad never intended as a second levee, no flood insurance required in the area, 100 year flood protection, maybe more in the future.

Storm and Sewer Runoff

Developer maintains that the area will be self-contained and will not burden the East Sacramento or Midtown systems.

Regional Transit Access Issues

Maintains that bus line exists within walking distance. Plans to work with RT.


Plans to have leafy canopies, no specific plan or research in place.


Application in to SCUSD and Twin Rivers to rezone the area to SCUSD.

Developer’s Model for Dealing with Concerns

Will continue to hold meetings with neighborhood groups. Frowned on negative comparison to Stonebridge/Sutter Memorial developer’s community outreach. Did not state any intent to change communication/interaction model with neighbors.

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June 6, 2013 | 8:19 AM

Great recap! I went into this meeting with an open mind and interest in how can we make sure Midtown & East Sac work together to create a positive project that enhances both of our neighborhoods. I left frustrated that the developer was unprepared as the spokesperson had challenges reading her script as if it was the first time she saw it. Phil Angelides was well spoken but seemed only focused on east sac traffic and blew off a comment about impacts to midtown. I suspect that instead of bringing neighborhood groups together this meeting will cause the exact opposite to happen. I do believe that this can be an excellent infill project, but it has to be done right. Scrap the current designs, meet with each impacted neighborhood group and then create a concept that works, only then will this project be successful.

June 6, 2013 | 8:33 AM

Bus line in walking distance? I don’t think so. The 34 on F St? The 67/68 on 29th/30th Streets?
The 34 at Alhambra and E is 0.5 miles from the center of the project; slightly more for the 67/68 at E and Business 80. (assuming one walks through the tunnel under the RR berm at Alhambra.

June 6, 2013 | 1:39 PM

And that stop was just closed as of May 31 — no 34 stop any longer at Alhambra and E, you have to walk to 29th and F or 34th and E.

June 6, 2013 | 9:09 AM

The fact that Angelides wants to call it “McKinley Village” says a lot. It isn’t near McKinley Park; it doesn’t have the homes, streets or trees of McKinley Park. He is trying to mislead people into buying into a “neighborhood” that is bounded by one of the busiest freeways in the country on one side and a very busy railroad on the other. No one in their right mind is going to spend over $350,000 for “homes” in this area with two chokeholds to get out. And that is before a heavy rain and rising river levels. Some of these lots he is trying to sell are barely bigger than a tennis court. Angelides will turn a profit, and then whoever is left holding the bag will end up with a blighted, low- income housing area. In the end, like Natomas and his other “developments,” our well-established neighborhoods of Midtown and East Sac will end up holding the bag. If you can’t see the big picture now, take a look here: http://fetchingjen.blogspot.com/2006/02/i-told-you-so.html

June 6, 2013 | 9:16 AM

Wow! I just read that – this is “cut and run” development.

June 6, 2013 | 11:43 AM

There is smart in-fill development and dumb in-fill development, thus is the latter. This has urban blight written all over it. The city should consider the revenue from the declining home values that will occur in the city’s most expensive housing, people will sell and move to Carmichael. You obviously don’t live in East Sac and have no idea how this will affect it. And yes, the Twin Rivers SD is not good.

June 6, 2013 | 2:01 PM

Maybe call it RailWay Park? (integrates ‘freeway’ and ‘railroad’)

June 6, 2013 | 7:40 PM

Curmudgeon is dead on this one. People will live somewhere. Put up enough barriers and you wish for this to remain an empty lot will come true. And you will just have that many more cars coming down biz 80 blowing more pollution into E. Sac.

And don’t be so scared of poor people. They are humans too. We have a low-income housing project in Land Park and we all seem to get by okay.

June 7, 2013 | 8:10 AM

Actually, if they want the convenience of being close to where they work, people probably *will* buy into the neighborhood, adjacent freeway and railroad notwithstanding. It beats living out in Lincoln.

I can’t blame the East Sac people for not wanting more traffic on their streets and not wanting their cul-de-sac dead end streets punched through.

So, they should pony up and buy the lot, and then they can turn it into a park. If they pay enough, the developers will take the quick money and run rather than face a costly legal fight to build.

Still, it is amusing that many people who decry “sprawl” just can’t admit the reality that if development can’t happen closer in, it will happen further out.

June 6, 2013 | 9:13 AM

Not “pre-judge”? You’ve got to be kidding, it is not prejudging to look at a project that squeezes 321 homes into a tiny parcel surrounded by a freeway, and railroad tracks and realize that this project will destroy East Sac. Who is going to want to live there even when it is new – let alone live there 10 years from now? How about the estimated 500-600 new cars ripping through the quiet streets of 36th Way, Santa Ynez, and others. These streets were not meant to handle thoroughfare traffic. Why because no one ever thought that anyone would ever want to build on this parcel, let alone live there. Fab 40′s look out, this traffic will be ripping through your streets as well. This project is on the heels of several projects in the area that are introducing substantially more traffic to East Sac. East Sac it is time to organize, this project will kill East Sac. Oh yeah, let’s not forget that the parcel will be tied to Twin Rivers School district and Natomas, that will surely be another incentive to buy there.

June 6, 2013 | 10:35 AM

Who is going to want to live there? People who want the convenience of being close to where they work. It *still* beats living out in Lincoln.

Twin Rivers school district sucks? So they save the commute costs and use the savings to send the kids to private school.

I’m not saying you should like this development, but it does make a dreadful sense.

June 7, 2013 | 6:53 PM

“Prejudge” is a semantic term of art used by people in an effort to immunize themselves from criticism. . Don’t get sucked into the spin of an argument by that term. We were given brains to judge. This project stinks.

June 6, 2013 | 9:37 AM

East Sacramento Preservation Neighborhood Group can be reached at contact@eastsacpreservation.org. We support the health and well-being of the neighborhood and we are organizing to make sure this project is done right. Contact us.

Article Author
June 6, 2013 | 11:48 AM

Look at the Sutter Memorial project, people are not up I arms over that one, why – because it makes more sense. Do you even know where the “Village” without a village is going to be? Why did the DOT dent a request for freeway access to the sliver? Too much of a traffic impact! Wake up.

June 6, 2013 | 1:58 PM

Sutter Memorial project will end up having fewer cars and people than there is now. The parking lot for Sutter memorial is huge and causes lots of traffic when the shift change happens. You can not compare the two.

June 6, 2013 | 2:56 PM

Curmudgeon: It really is a tale of two developers, Angelides vs. Stonebridge at Sutter Memorial. Stonebridge has neighbors grateful and willing to work with them. They did this through an ears open communication model. They also spent money front loading the project with research (architectural and landscape) and they are planning to use multiple local builders. The two projects are night and day. Too bad Angelides won’t adopt some of these tactics. ESP does want infill, but it needs to be done right. I’m still hopeful that he’ll engage in dialog with the neighborhood and rethink his approach.

Article Author
June 7, 2013 | 7:57 AM

“done right”? Or done, period? Or should I say not done, period?

Again, I have no qualms with your opposition to a project that disrupts your neighborhood. But let’s be honest–ANY project will do that. Just say you like your lower density neighborhood and cul-de sac streets as they are. There is *nothing* wrong with that, contrary to the eco-fiend propaganda you have been force-fed.

June 7, 2013 | 8:14 AM

Oh come on. I remember Centrage. Really, It’s OK to oppose anything that will disrupt your neighborhood! Just admit that anything will.

June 6, 2013 | 11:04 AM

This project is definitely a “hit and run” development. A developer should have to live in their development for at least 5 years after development. Then we would see some improvements. All that most of us are asking for is a third exit. Developers talk about putting in a bike and pedestrian tunnel into the McKinley Park area, even though historically, these tunnels have become a haven for the homeless and a good place to conduct drug transactions (such as 14th and C Street tunnel which has now been shut down). If the developer is going to punch out an access to Alhambra for a bike and pedestrian path, why can’t they just widen it and make it a third entrance and exit for cars. I have attended three meetings with the developers and there are still no answers. All they want to talk about is how pretty the houses are going to be. Every time I leave a meeting this quote comes to mind, “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” If developers want cooperation, they need to be willing to cooperate. That means they need to listen, hear, and be willing to make compromises.

June 18, 2013 | 8:02 AM

Didn’t the neighborhood oppose opening up Alhambra too? Yes, they did. Frankly, Cogmeyer and Curmudgeon are right–the NIMBYs don’t want anything there.

June 6, 2013 | 11:44 AM

Well, in terms of ideas for development, don’t forget eminent domain to expand that most congested part of the freeway ranked as one of the most congested in the country. And dont let the “suggested price” fool you. That is how it is marketed so the developers make their money. Those prices are overstated. Who wants to buy the homes with fourplexes on lots barely bigger than tennis courts? People who are overextended. The banks will foreclose and/or SHRA will move in and presto they have Section 8 housing! Don’t kid yourself. Angelides promises the trees will be developed in 20 years – well how about the impact to our neighborhood. East Sac will be paying for this “village” for decades to come.

June 6, 2013 | 12:40 PM

Actually, a tennis court is about the same size as the most common size of Midtown or East Sacramento house lot–40×80 feet. Expanding a congested freeway generally doesn’t result in easier traffic–they just get more congested as the additional capacity promotes more sprawl. Not sure if you heard the news, but SHRA and other California redevelopment agencies were all dissolved a couple years ago, so there is little likelihood that they will move in.

June 6, 2013 | 2:17 PM

There’s no reason, other than fearmongering, to think that people who would be willing to live on relatively small lots would be “overextended” and at risk of foreclosure. Natomas is problematic in this regard, not because of the style of architecture and lot sizes but because of when those units were sold and the banking practices in place at the time. Plenty of people like the idea of houses with very little yard space and associated yardwork – these are the same people that gravitate towards condominiums (some of which cost more than this) and apartments, including those who come from cities (or countries) with much greater housing density. You’re better off having somebody who doesn’t want to do yardwork moving into a home without a yard than having them move into your pretty street. And it’s counter-intuitive to complain about a busy highway in the context of the kind of development that would take people off that highway.

June 6, 2013 | 5:28 PM

Supposedly everything in this development will be single-family homes, no condos or apartments. For some, the lack of density the problem, since it isn’t high enough to justify any additional transit service. And as someone who lives on one of those 40×80 lots, they can still mean plenty of yard work (and some pretty good backyard vegetables!)

June 6, 2013 | 5:49 PM

I wasn’t saying there would be condos or apartments, I was answering those that were implying that nobody (other than the overextended or idiots) would seek out homes that max out lot size. Many people specifically look for homes exactly like that, with concrete yards and everything as low maintenance as possible. That actually makes them responsible homeowners, that know their own limitations, not irresponsible homeowners. That one can also choose to do a lot more with a 40×80 lot was not in question.

June 6, 2013 | 7:42 PM

This doesn’t sound like fear mongering. I went to the meeting at Clunie too. I would like an honest proposal. This village sounds like a feint offer. The communities had better rally here before our neighborhoods are destroyed by developer and municipal greed.

June 7, 2013 | 12:20 AM

I didn’t use the term “fearmongering” as a way to describe people saying this is a bad plan in general. It could legitimately be an awful plan and, if so, it deserves to be described as such.

But there’s no basis given to assume that the only people who would buy into such a development would be overextended, likely to be subject to foreclosure, thus resulting in a failed neighborhood that would become low income housing. People seem to be making this leap based on simply disliking the nature of the homes being proposed. My point is simply that there are people who would seek out homes like this. Developers may be callous profiteers, or whatever other accusations one wants to throw at them, but that also means that they want to build houses that people want to buy or else they can’t make their callous profits.

June 6, 2013 | 1:18 PM

Most East Sac lots are bigger and aren’t over built with 2500 sq. ft., look at the diagram of the parcels and compare to East Sac ones.

Of course, section 8 housing still exists, this development will become run down on its own, a piece of south Natomas attached to East Sac.

June 6, 2013 | 2:05 PM

Move the freeway, then open the project area to all the streets.

June 6, 2013 | 3:07 PM

Ellen did a good job summarizing the meeting for readers. I did, however, notice that Midtown residents turned out in force for this meeting as well.

Midtown residents seem focused on making this a project that compliments the neighborhood while mitigating the problems with its current design. Concerns were expressed regarding traffic and impacts to Sutter’s Landing Park.

The developer seems unwilling to acknowledge that impacts will be felt on the Midtown side because 28th Street is a major access point. One option suggested was to put a half street closure at 28th and B Street. I felt that this suggestion fell on deaf ears.

Other option suggested was full vehicle access at Alhambra Blvd. Alhambra Blvd. feeds into a commercial corridor. McKinley Village residents could actually access schools and stores directly without traveling through residential neighborhoods. That idea was dismissed by Mr. Angelides. I guess he’d rather line his pockets with money the help preserve heritage neighborhoods like Midtown or East Sacramento.

Mr. Angelides’ presentation was a classic political stump speech – - full of ideas and promises without no real desire to deliver on those promises. Right now I’d believe Cal Worthington and his dog, Spot, more than I’d believe anything the developer says about this project.

June 6, 2013 | 3:36 PM

” I guess he’d rather line his pockets with money the help preserve heritage neighborhoods like Midtown or East Sacramento.”

He’s a developer – buying the piece of land wasn’t a philanthropic act.

June 6, 2013 | 3:48 PM

Midtown residents wouldn’t want 500+ more cars going down its streets, that is what the quiet streets in East Sac will face.

June 6, 2013 | 4:03 PM

This is not midtown vs. East Sacramento. Whether those cars are dumped onto 28th Street or onto Alhambra or onto Elvas (meaning those people join the gridlock into downtown via McKinley Boulevard and H Street), the traffic is going to impact all of us. As of next year, midtown kids go to school in East Sacramento (most already do, but now it will be almost all of them). Many of them bike or walk or ride scooters there. I actually think midtown streets could probably handle some of this traffic (and I live off 28th Street, we’d take the bulk of it), but East Sacramento really cannot. That corridor — Alhambra to 29th Street, at McKinley Boulevard and H Street — is a mess at commute time, and we’ve got kids biking to school right in the middle of it. So let’s dump 3500 more cars right into that disaster? Please, no.

June 6, 2013 | 7:48 PM

Elvas and McKinley and the cut through street of 35th will be overwhelmed. Already is hard to pullout and make a left turn on those key streets! It’s time for us to take control of our communities. Angelides can find another parcel of his friend’s properties to develop. I don’t object to him getting rich; but let’s not destroy neighborhoods and put people’s lives at risk. I took the time to read what he did in Natomas and other places. Not here. Not now. Not ever.

June 7, 2013 | 8:23 AM

Hey, you can’t disrespect Cal Worthington! If you want to buy a car, go see Cal!

June 6, 2013 | 5:02 PM

Couldn’t agree more, my point was that some were suggesting that this “in-fill” is good simply because it is near downtown, that is not the case. In-fill is NOT good if it destroys one of the city’s best neighborhoods. I don’t want to see photos of East Sac all around commemorating what once was.

June 6, 2013 | 6:38 PM

“in-fill” when done right can be a very positive thing. One example that comes to mind took place many years ago at what I
believe was the old water treatment plant near South Land Park and 35th. The current plan for 328 residents on this site is NOT a good infill, but with proper density it could be a positive infill.

June 6, 2013 | 7:49 PM

So what does East Sac want developed hear? Make a proposal that your neighborhood can support.

Large custom homes on 1/2 acre lots?. High density multistory condos, lofts, apartments?

Make your voice heard on what this should be. My suspicion is that there is no plan that the neighborhood can support, but I would love to proven wrong.

June 6, 2013 | 9:19 PM

The East Sac Preservation folks have suggested a proposal more like the Stonebridge project planned for the Sutter hospital site–a moderately higher-density, mixed-use proposal that connects more closely to the neighborhood. East Sacramento is not a large-lot automobile suburb, it’s a century-old streetcar suburb, and even the portions that were built out after the streetcars stopped running still reflect a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood. Unlike Midtown, there are more single-family homes than apartments, but it’s still a mixture of both. The proposed McKinley Village project is all single-family homes, no apartments, no mixed-use, no mixed-income.

June 7, 2013 | 8:05 AM

Now this is amusing. On the one hand, we are told that “The proposed McKinley Village project is all single-family homes, no apartments, no mixed-use, no mixed-income”, and *in the same comment section*, we are told it will be Section 8 rentals!

As for “higher density mixed use”, Centrage comes to mind……

Let’s just face facts: The East Sac activists don’t want *anything* there. And that’s OK! So buy the land and make it a park!

June 7, 2013 | 8:34 AM

Actually, Centrage was an office complex, not a residential neighborhood–what we’re talking about is something in between the single-family neighborhood proposed and offices. You are presenting them as the only two possible options, while neither resembles the neighborhoods around the site.

June 7, 2013 | 9:18 AM

I like your pragmatism, but I guess I’m still unclear. Traffic generation seems to be the biggest issue for neighborhood residents–but is there really possible development that would generate fewer trips than low-density residential? I’m quick to point out that, yes, higher density and/or mixed use would tend to increase mode share of non-car travel, but I’m afraid the reality is that you still increase traffic by virtue of having more people live there. Or work there, if you’re talking offices. I’m just having a hard time thinking of any potential development that would increase traffic less than the current proposal.

June 7, 2013 | 9:37 AM

Ryan: Medium-density residential (densities more like Midtown, not high-rises) would make it easier to justify transit access, and some mixed-use components might actually cut down on traffic in and out only because some shopping could be done within the neighborhood. The “Centrage” project was proposed 20-25 years ago, but some folks seem to think it was yesterday. It was designed as a “destination” office complex that people would drive to from the suburbs, not a mixed-use urban neighborhood in the sense we talk about today.

June 7, 2013 | 12:50 PM

There’s potential there, and I hope the developer and residents can find some common ground to explore those types of ideas. Something closer to Midtown might be an ideal compromise. Still, I think the site constraints and sensitivity to traffic in the neighboring communities will result in a catch 22. If you get the type of density that will support transit, neighborhood grocery, etc, then you have more people, and even at a urban-quality mode share, you’re likely to generate more traffic. On the other hand, if you limit the number of people, you can’t support neighborhood amenities like transit and grocery. On the face of it, your idea is much more appealing, better suited to the neighborhood, and more embracing of smart growth principles. But from what I hear, traffic concerns are trumping all other concerns, so if they can’t make that pencil out in a believable way for something more dense, low-density SFH still might get more votes from neighbors.

The developers should be running these numbers. I’m pretty sure they’d have to do it all for CEQA anyway.

June 7, 2013 | 2:04 PM

I have said before that I don’t think the parcel should be developed at all, so I will be the bad guy and say it again. I lived elsewhere in midtown when Centrage was on the table so I had and have no opinion about that, but this spot has unique problems in that the access points are on streets that are already overburdened. Other infill projects — Township 9, Metro Square — didn’t have those specific issues. The Sutter Memorial area does have similar traffic problems, but the development is being done in a way that mitigates rather than exacerbates the existing issues.

I don’t think mixed use or different density will fix the inherent problems. McKinley Village residents are going to have the same issues biking into downtown that other East Sacramento residents already have, i.e., the freeway onramp crossing at E Street is dangerous at any hour of the day. If they drive, they are going to be stuck in the existing gridlock. 28th Street is a crappy alternative — just the other day I saw a line of cars there backed up almost to C Street waiting for a train, and that’s with hardly any traffic there at the moment.

As for public transit, here I give a hollow laugh — the 34 bus line only runs every hour, it is notoriously unreliable, and it does not run at all on weekends. We used to use it all the time but it is a joke at this point. (And as I mentioned in a previous post, the two stops closest to McKinley Village have been permanently closed as of May 31.)

I think as a site it is unworkable, unless there is new freeway access to serve the development. As it stands I think it would be a traffic nightmare for residents of the new development as much as for residents of existing neighborhoods.

June 7, 2013 | 2:42 PM

Unless, of course, we get rid of the freeway…

June 6, 2013 | 6:42 PM

I attended the public meeting on the proposed McKinley Village project Tuesday evening and was rather disappointed, to say the least.

I would strongly caution against using Laguna West as an example of smart growth, or even an example of good development. Anyone who has any knowledge of land use planning knows that Laguna West is not smart growth, but just another piece of auto-oriented suburbia.
In the book Urban Villages and the Making of Communities, edited by Peter Neal, Peter North gives the following analysis:
With a few exceptions, such as Peter Calthorpe’s work in San Jose, it is disappointing that most actual examples of New Urbanism are either new suburbs on greenfield land such as Laguna West in California and Kentlands in Maryland, or resort/retirement communities typified by Seaside, Florida. Kentlands, which is a pure piece of auto-oriented suburbia some five miles beyond the Shady Grove terminus of DC Metrorail’s Red Line, can hardly qualify as smart growth and nor, unhappily, does Peter Calthorpe’s own ambitious essay in the genre, Laguna West south of Sacramento. Calthorpe himself regards Laguna West as a failure, and advised me not to go and see it; I ignored his advice, and was glad I did, because the failure teaches important lessons.
The first failure, which is obvious within minutes of arrival, is that something went wrong with the design. The houses that follow Calthorpe’s original concept, grouped tightly around the Town Hall and lake, are few in number; all around them are streets of banal tract-home development. What intervened was the failure of the original developer in the great California economic meltdown of the early 1990’s and his replacement by a different developer who had none of his idealism or imagination.

But there is another, deeper failure, which is that in hardly any sense can this be called a transit-oriented development. The visitor or resident approaches at 70 miles an hour via Interstate 5, exiting on to Laguna Boulevard, a monster six lane arterial. The southern line of the Sacramento lite rail system, around which the entire development is based, is at last under construction, but the first and even the planned second stage will get nowhere near Laguna West —–indeed, they are heading in the wrong direction.

Peter Calthorpe, the designer of Laguna West, considers it a failure. How can you continue to use it as an example of smart growth and sustainable development? The awards that Laguna West received were for the original design concept, not for what was actually developed.

June 7, 2013 | 9:09 AM

Perhaps this is because “smart growth” is a farce.

June 7, 2013 | 2:45 PM

New Urbanism tends to work best when it resembles “old urbanism” instead of car-centric greenfield auto suburbs with cute picket fences. There are ways to do it right, and ways to do it wrong. But sometimes it’s cheaper to do it wrong…

June 6, 2013 | 7:22 PM

Building homes on a small parcel between a freeway and a railroad line, on a flood plain is not good in-fill. The problem that Angelides recognizes is that they won’t be able to sell lower numbered, bigger parceled homes, no one who could afford such homes would buy on this parcel for that price, thus he is maxing out parcels at a lower price.

June 6, 2013 | 9:12 PM

Maybe that’s the disconnect…to me, these seem like lower numbered, bigger parceled homes, at a very low suburban density that necessitates the use of automobiles and makes mixed use and public transit access impossible.

June 7, 2013 | 8:32 AM

Curmudgeon: Centrage was an office complex, and that plan popped up 20 years ago. This isn’t an either/or decision, but one that happened a generation ago, and those are far from the only two potential options. Sounds like your suggestion comes down to “Get your own billionaire!”

June 7, 2013 | 11:45 AM

Well Gee, William, they didn’t want Centrage either, now did they? Frankly, they don’t want anything. And if they buy up the parcel, that is their right. So East Sac dwellers, pony up enough money, Angelides will take it and run, and you can have a new park. Easy.

June 7, 2013 | 1:41 PM

A billionaire is not required. Just a few millions. Remember, we are just buying the land, not any buildings on it. And the developers would find it advantageous to take the money and run, rather than fight legal battles for years.

June 7, 2013 | 9:04 AM

This development has 4-plexes along the perimeter with homes on the interior, all are relatively small parcels, yet 2500 sq ft houses, multiple “parks”, a “community center” and a “pool.”

I grew up in a low income rental, no shame in that, but the reality is that a lower income appendage b/w a freeway and train tracks is NOT a desirable neighborhood. Land Park is nice but surrounded by not so great neighborhoods, how about the city exchange this parcel for 48 acres of Land Park park and then block all the routes but one. This project can go there, see how they like it.

June 7, 2013 | 9:34 AM

I have seen the detail maps of the project. They are not 4-plexes, they are detached single-family homes of about 1200 square feet, with a commons/driveway that serves as a sort of private cul-de-sac. The larger lots include homes of 2500 square feet or more–which is much like the traditional lot sizes you find in East Sacramento and the more single-family-home oriented parts of Midtown (2000-500 square feet is about the size of the more common “foursquare” late 19th/early 20th century home in neighborhoods like Boulevard Park and Marshall School.)

This isn’t intended to be a low-income community by any means, and I’m not sure where anyone is getting that idea.

June 7, 2013 | 10:15 AM

Did you go to the meeting? Angelides said they are 4 plexes. And ONE car outlet into East Sac. Midtown just has a pedestrian exit, per what speakers said. Double talk and smooth talk from these dealers. It may not be intended to be a low-income development, but when Angelides talks about his hope that this is a “sustainable” development, he knows as we all do, it isn’t sustainable, and it will end up being a low-income development. Do some research.

June 7, 2013 | 10:55 AM

I’ll ask the developer’s representative at tomorrow’s meeting to clarify, but the maps and images I have seen (large-scale subdivision maps on the East Sacramento Preservation website, and close-up maps provided by the developer) show four small detached home on a common lot with a shared driveway, not attached four-plexes.

And no, there is a vehicle exit into Midtown via 28th Street–an existing bridge over Business 80 is used to access 28th via the entrance to Sutter’s Landing Park. The pedestrian/bike passageway cuts under the tracks to Alhambra Boulevard, which is the border of the property.

“Sustainable” is one of those marketing buzzwords that gets tossed around a lot these days, to the point where it is almost meaningless. I just don’t see why or how the developer could produce these large, single-family homes, which are fairly expensive to build, with the intent of having them become low-income housing–he isn’t receiving any kind of low-income housing subsidy, which is normally the only reason why a developer provides any low-income housing at all.

The only “subsidy” involved is the inherent subsidy that comes from rezoning agricultural land into residential land–the property value goes up considerably.

June 7, 2013 | 10:26 AM

Economics 101, living between congested freeway and train tracks in crowded development on flood plan that will be cutoff from any exit during a flood = less desirable = lower prices.

June 7, 2013 | 11:27 AM

Attached four plex versus ones where you can put one foot on each roof and straddle the distance in b/w – no difference. The developer even called them “four-plexes”.

June 7, 2013 | 11:48 AM

It’s a bit tough to judge on the map I saw, but they look more like 6-8 feet apart, which implies that you have very long, flexible legs, or a powerful imagination. I’ll ask the developer about that tomorrow–or you can show up at Midtown Village Cafe, 1827 I Street, at 9 AM, and ask her yourself!

June 7, 2013 | 1:10 PM

I went to the meeting before commenting, and I live in East Sac.

June 7, 2013 | 1:13 PM

I live in Midtown, went to one of the early meetings hosted by the developer, reviewed the documents they provided to the city, and planned tomorrow’s meeting at Midtown Village Cafe. Come on over tomorrow morning and let me (and the developer) know what you think.

June 7, 2013 | 1:34 PM

The use of the term ‘fourplex’ may come from there being a zero-lot line development, where although you don’t share a wall with your neighbor, you share a degree of liability in case of fire. The units can be sold individually, but usually have an HOA or special assessment fee attached. It’s sometimes called a townhouse. It’s a non-suburban model, and used successfully in other urban infill developments. The era of the turf lawn and perimeter fence is gone.

June 7, 2013 | 2:46 PM

I think I have seen developments of this type in North Natomas.

June 7, 2013 | 2:20 PM

Xeney said it all

June 7, 2013 | 3:09 PM

Xeney’s concern seems to be based on the traffic generated by the site, not the size or affordability of the houses.

June 7, 2013 | 3:59 PM

I don’t care about the size or affordability of the houses. Given the right location, I think downtown needs a mix of housing types, so I don’t have a beef with whatever they have planned. Reasonably priced (by which I mean $400-$600K, not low income) houses with 3-4 bedrooms are pretty scarce in the central city, and that is the number one reason I see families leaving — because they had a second kid, one parent relies on a home office or they need a guest room for grandma, and they can no longer all squeeze into their 3 BR East Sac house or their 2B midtown cottage. And of course I think affordable housing is important, too.

I just don’t think THIS LOCATION is a good spot for development, regardless of lot size, density, or mixed vs. single use. It all puts traffic onto streets that are already overburdened.

June 7, 2013 | 3:16 PM

Take note Midtown: East Sac gets Phil Angelides, you get the lower level flunkies. It is quite true that the the developer with give East Sac everything they want while you will get their traffic, garbage, and every other undesireable side effect of this project! Plus East Sac has a council person that will do everthing in his power to deliver to Angelides and Angelides handlers while minimizing the political fallout to his career. Especially now that he needs the Democratic party machine support to run for assembly.

June 7, 2013 | 3:22 PM

East Sac roots is against this project.

June 7, 2013 | 7:44 PM

Take note East Sac: Midtown got the traffic calming they wanted. East Sac kept the traffic. And now East Sac will get more as Midtown adds more traffic calming for every car leaving the village so that every car is directed into a circle until they are effectively deterred so they’ll exit only in East Sac. We know how it works. Parts of midtown have so little traffic you’d think it was pre Henry Ford!

June 7, 2013 | 9:35 PM

Take note, East Sac and Midtown–sounds like we’re being played against each other!

June 8, 2013 | 9:16 AM

Regarding Midtown vs East Sac traffic: before traffic calming, midtown was a series of 3 lane one-way streets. This did not happen in East Sac. People did not raise children here. Now with calming in place, we are starting to see families here. East Sac didn’t “get” the traffic, midtown just declined to accept it.

The reality is, the development affects both sides the same way. Mac Villagers will be driving through, but not connecting with, either neighborhood. But my bet is they will consider themselves part of East Sac.

June 7, 2013 | 4:49 PM

Here’s a link to an article about the previous attempt to build something here:


“The parcel has been jinxed for development ever since 1988, when a man named Jim Lennane got the idea to turn the old orchards into real-estate profits. He tried to get the city to go for five high-rise office buildings and more than 1,000 apartments on the tiny parcel. “Centrage was an abomination,” said Jim Collins, president of the East Sacramento Neighborhood Improvement Association. The abomination was beat into submission in 1992 by neighborhood groups, led in part by then-activist Steve Cohn, who parlayed opposition to Centrage into the City Council seat he occupies today. That year Lennane also was frustrated in his attempt to unseat George H.W. Bush as the Republican Party’s nominee for president.

In 1996, developer Lux Taylor was similarly unsuccessful in his bid to build a 500,000-square-foot shopping mall there. Later, half-hearted proposals for auto malls and business parks also went nowhere. But the name Centrage has stuck all along.

Before getting into office, Angelides made his money as a developer in Sacramento and protégé to Tsakopoulos, who owns the property today. Last year, Tsakopoulos sold an option to develop the land to local developer Cambridge Homes, headquartered in East Sacramento.

The Cambridge Homes proposal was marketed as “The Village,” and would have included 300 to 400 homes in a “pedestrian friendly” community that would have blended into East Sac more comfortably than its predecessors. A Greek Orthodox church, built on land donated by Tsakopoulos, was also part of the plan. The Village proposal made a minor splash in the local press. And while the neighbors were concerned about traffic impacts, they weren’t opposing the project.

But Cambridge Homes quietly pulled its application last month, and city officials told SN&R they don’t really know why. Calls to Chris Stevens, president of Cambridge Homes, went unreturned.”

Whoa, Centrage was in 1988? That was before I moved to Sacramento…still in my teens then!

June 7, 2013 | 6:05 PM

The project plan sent out by MENA today shows some geological concerns with how high up the underground water level is. This red flags seepage and erosion issues that East Sac residents have been worried about since we do like the railroad as our back up to the levee. Downtown and midtown should be concerned too.

June 8, 2013 | 9:05 AM

Two things, at the moment. The first is the concept of “in-fill”. In-fill is a win-win-win when done correctly. It involves repurposing underutilized property and infrastructure for the developer’s financial gain, and to the benefit of neighbors whose own property values increase accordingly. Unfortunately, there is only one winner here. As a property owner near the 28th and C access point, I cannot see how increased traffic will improve my property value. Midtown will be merely a transit corridor for the Mac Village people. As the concept is all but a gated community it won’t do much for the East side, either.

An excellent example of an in- fill project is Township 9. The neighborhood has been derelict, and the project abuts a major non-residential road. Other examples include the block improvements, such as Tapestry Square. The redeveloped hospital site will be a great benefit to East Sacramento. This project just doesn’t offer the same benefits to the neighbors it impacts.

The second thing concerns existing traffic flows. Any plan will have to address how the Mac Village residents will be getting to the E Street freeway access. This intersection may require a reconfiguration of the signalization pattern, including a dedicated left turn light. This expense should fall squarely on the developer’s shoulders.

June 8, 2013 | 5:55 PM

The jury is still out on “Township 9″. Right now it is mostly vacant.

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