Expanding Sacramento’s Suburban Communities II

Sacramento News & Review reports the very good news of the continued growth of suburban communities that the overwhelming majority of Americans prefer to live in, as noted in our recent research report about Sacramento Suburban Communities, quoting Joel Kotkin, writing in 2012: “Homeownership and the single-family house, Rybczynski notes, rests on many fairly mundane things — desire for privacy, need to accommodate children and increasingly the needs of aging parents and underemployed adult children. Such considerations rarely enter the consciousness of urban planning professors, “smart growth” advocates and architectural aesthetes swooning over a high-density rental future. Just look at the numbers. Over the last decade— even as urban density has been embraced breathlessly by a largely uncritical media — close to 80% of all new households, according to the American Community Survey, chose to settle in single-family houses.” (p. 11)

Sacramento News & Review doesn’t see this as the good news we do, as they write in this excerpt.

“True, there’s not a lot of demand right now for new subdivisions and malls. Nobody’s talking about sprawl these days; it’s all about recession, foreclosures, stagnation.

“So it might seem counterintuitive—maybe even a little crazy—to put so much land in play for new development.

“And yet …

• The city of Folsom has almost successfully annexed a 3,500-acre swath of oak woodlands and farmland on its southern border, instantly adding 25 percent to that city’s area.

• Both cities’ development plans would break Sacramento County’s long standing urban-growth boundary. “This was considered to be the very long-term edge of growth,” says Rob Burness, a former urban planner with the county.

• And Sacramento County itself is considering approval of a massive new development called Cordova Hills—in an area previously considered off-limits to development.

“Linking all of these hot spots: Local officials, business groups and developers are pushing forward on a plan to build a $500 million “connector” from Elk Grove to Folsom and on to the suburban El Dorado Hills in the next county.

“This will undoubtedly relieve congestion—for a while. But critics say the roadway will just open up the rural east county to even more development.

“Add it all up, and it’s not hard to imagine a whole new ring of sprawling suburbs, far away from the urban core.

“Overbuilding the suburbs is precisely how we got into the real-estate crash we’re in now,” says Alex Kelter, former president of the Environmental Council of Sacramento, or ECOS. “You step out of rehab, and the first thing you do is head for the bar? That’s not the way out of this mess.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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