YOLO SUN NEWS REPORT :
The Spring Lake Specific Plan presently includes a total of eleven (11) acres of Neighborhood Commercial (NC) zoning distributed at four fairly logical locations within its area.
NC land uses are generally intended to help reduce residents’ strongly ingrained inclinations to use motor vehicles, as a result of some manner of (“Smart Growth”) commercial convenience being carefully integrated within the land use fabric of an overall development plan.
Perhaps, residents might quickly walk or swiftly bike to local convenience corners, shopping for their most common, spontaneously arising needs, rather than using motor vehicles — thereby decreasing their “carbon footprints.”
Challenges of local environmental (“climate-change”) policies would seem to demand proactive and responsible attention to the various details of best accomplishing such improved social dynamics.
Also, basic convenience is of course reflected by relative proximity.
It seems that on some preliminary, abstract level, the Spring Lake Specific Plan intended to provide such key amenities for its many residents.
___ Spring Lake Plan Is Large Addition To Woodland ___
Spring Lake is huge. The largest development plan in Woodland’s history, it will accommodate 4037 dwelling units on 665 acres (excluding parks, schools, roads, etc.), with a population of 11,280, roughly 20% of Woodland residents.
Council member Jeff Monroe has publicly commented: “Anyone who could keep all of the [many] interests in Spring Lake happy, deserves a medal,” generally implying an unwieldy nature of this project.
City reports currently involved with revised implementation of the Spring Lake Plan describe that: “Staff is working on proposed plan amendments. In addition, staff is starting to analyze methods and opportunities to modify the plan and proceed with the second release/further phases of development.”
___ Spring Lake Neighborhood Commercial Uses Appear Infeasible ___
Woodland’s enormous new housing development, however, decades in process, containing so many of the City’s residents — will in actuality have no NC land uses — according to city staff, because the very (too small) dimensions of Spring Lake’s NC zones aren’t economically feasible to develop.
“I’d be surprised if they pencil out,” explains Melanie Mathews of Russell Ranch Development, Inc., representing various residential property development interests within Spring Lake. “Somebody didn’t do their job.”
No commercial development specialists or brokers were even consulted during the development process of the Spring Lake Plan, indicates city staff, while its various residential land developers (understandably) jockeyed the Plan’s process toward maximizing their own particular financial positions.
The result of this unbalanced development process — is that NC land uses have been effectively — ‘squeezed-out’ — of Spring Lake.
Apparently, municipal / civic leadership wasn’t properly attentive to this evolving developmental / financial predicament.
City staff describe circumstances reflecting an absence of continuity and accountability, regarding administration and financial / feasibility oversight of the Spring Lake Plan.
Consequences of eliminating NC zoning in Spring Lake clearly involve the loss of this scope of commercial opportunities, opportunities that obviously should have been available, as well as a significant reduction in the quality of life of its residents.
Existing Spring Lake homeowners may well believe themselves to be meaningfully short-changed by this elimination of NC convenience.
Also — the marketability and price-point for Spring Lake dwelling units — not yet purchased (the vast majority, ~80%) — are certainly diminished — as a consequence of this absence of NC land uses.
Mathews suggested there was a remote possibility that the largest of the four sites would be capable of supporting the considerable development costs / fees of the Spring Lake Specific Plan — but city staff believes that all of the 11 acres of NC land uses will eventually have to be re-zoned for residential uses.