A proposed convenience center in El Dorado Hills was sent back for additional work by the El Dorado County Planning Commission after multiple objections from local residents.
Planned for a 2.12-acre piece of land on the southeast corner of the intersection of Green Valley Road and Sophia Parkway, the center would include a gas station, convenience store, drive-through fast-food restaurant and single bay self-service car wash. The developer and owner of the property is Marc Strauch of Strauch Companies.
The project drew a large number of detractors from the 35-plus letters and e-mails sent against the project to the long line of people who showed up at the planning commission meeting to criticize it. Concerns varied from the impact on traffic and pedestrian safety, to noise concerns, design standards, and the impact of the project on the adjacent wetland.
One resident alleged the center would add 3,400 vehicle trips a day to the area which would not only impact traffic levels but also the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. He also complained of the 10-foot setback and potential for trash to end up in the adjacent wetlands. Saying the project didn’t match the design standards for El Dorado Hills, he asked that the different issues raised by residents either be mitigated or an environmental impact report be required.
Scott Kime, a local resident and architect, asked why there was an 80 percent reduction in the wetland setback, saying the planning commission was setting a dangerous precedent given that other developers would then ask for the same thing. There needs to be some legal justification for doing so, he added, noting that he wasn’t aware that any had been provided. Kime offered that political pressure was being applied to the commission to approve the project to prevent “tax leakage.”
Another resident criticizing the project was Amy Anders. A long-term resident who owns property surrounding the proposed use, she maintained the center would impact the adjacent wetland and complained about the noise, aesthetics and additional traffic.
John Welty, a member of the Area Planning Advisory Committee of El Dorado Hills (APAC), offered his own criticisms and said APAC had voted against the project. He asked the planning commission to send it back to the developer to address the issues raised by residents.
Eileen Crawford, who is the supervising civil engineer for the EDC Department of Transportation, countered some of the residents by saying their study showed the project would only generate 1,400 trips per day. But she added that the intersection of Sophia Parkway and Green Valley Road does have the second highest volume of traffic in the county. Crawford added that the Green Valley Corridor study would be going to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors.
In response to the comments from residents, the developer and his agent said they thought the project was the highest and best use for the property and asked for its approval by the commission. We have already adequately addressed the different issues brought up, they maintained.
In discussion by the planning commission members, Brian Shinault said he supported the project but not in its current state.
Board member Tom Heflin agreed, saying it was a legitimate project for the site, even if it was an eyesore.
The board then voted to continue the project to its Aug. 22 meeting and directed the developer to bring back a revised project taking into account members’ input as well as the concerns of local residents.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.