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The county’s Measure Y, the twice voter-approved initiative, says the Board of Supervisors cannot approve new residential projects that will cause or worsen any roadway or highway segment where congestion or Level of Service (LOS) is rated by Caltrans as an “F,” or failed. So, it was an “Aha” moment at the Dec. 3 Board of Supervisors meeting when one BOS member asked, “So, are we now at LOS F on Highway 50?” and representatives from the county’s long range planning division said, well, yes; causing a pause, followed by silence and quiet speculation.
Does this mean the BOS cannot approve new residential developments? This question wasn’t asked, but it loomed large, as if an 800-pound gorilla had just entered the room.
It took months, public pressure and a letter from Caltrans to get the long range planning folk to stop equivocating, and reluctantly admit that Highway 50 is at LOS F. They must now confirm that indeed the BOS cannot approve new developments until Highway 50s LOS F status is truly mitigated.
I’m waiting for that next “Aha” moment, and the follow-up BOS action: advising the developers of San Stino, Dixon Ranch Project, Marble Valley, etc., that there will be no new developments until Highway 50s failed LOS status is improved. And per Caltrans, that won’t happen anytime soon. Maybe 2035. Maybe not.
Residential development projects already approved by the BOS, comprising about 16,000 parcels countywide, half in El Dorado Hills, can still move forward. But that’s it, except for commercial ventures and multi-family developments.
With Measure Y, the people of El Dorado County overwhelmingly embraced the rural character of their communities. They want businesses, jobs and manageable traffic; not more rooftops, clogged roadways and highways.
The county’s long-term planning professionals should immediately publicly confirm to the BOS that Measure Y is in play, and new residential developments must be deferred. And they should repurpose their efforts from planning for more residential development to finding ways to promote business opportunities and creating jobs.
Reality bites. But, the BOS should demand the truth on this one. Now.
El Dorado Hills