About 30 miles northeast of Venice, Italy sits the small hill town of San Stino, also known as Santo Stino di Livenza. Just over 13,000 people call it home. That far-away San Stino is the namesake of the large housing project that has been proposed in Shingle Springs.
The connection is that Dave Crosariol’s grandfather came from that San Stino, and Dave Crosariol is a principal with the CTA Engineering firm that hopes to be a principal in the Shingle Springs San Stino project. Joel Korotkin confirmed that information during an interview at the Mountain Democrat offices late last month. A real estate and land use attorney with a Sacramento firm, Korotkin is managing partner in a limited partnership behind San Stino.
He and his family, coincidentally, lived in Shingle Springs for three or four years in the 1980s, and he spent part of his early career with the El Dorado County Counsel’s Department.
San Stino acquired most of the property in 2010 after another company had let its option run out. The 600-plus acres are composed of three contiguous ranches, Korotkin explained. The Scheiber, White and Zweck ranches are tucked into the hills southeast of and accessed by Mother Lode Drive and by French Creek Road on the southwest side. The ranches were included in the Shingle Springs Community Region when the county’s general plan was adopted in 2004, Korotkin said.
A major element of the project would be construction of the “Via Livenza,” a significant road that would wind through the ranches and connect French Creek to Mother Lode and eventually cross Mother Lode to access Highway 50 at Shingle Springs Road. That would become the primary artery for the San Stino villages with about 1,040 homes.
“All infrastructures are available, and we’re suggesting one to five units per acre, but we never saw it as five per acre overall,” Korotkin explained.
A new San Stino Website notes that:
“Existing zoning includes RE-5 designation on four parcels and AE designation on one parcel. The project proposes to rezone underlying lands to a combination of the following zones: R1-PD, R20000-PD, R1A-PD, and OS-PD.”
The county zoning ordinance classifies those codes as (RE-5) Residential Estate 5-acres; (AE) Agriculture Exclusive; (R1-PD) One-family residential-Planned Development; (R20000-PD) Residential one-half acre-Planned Development; (R1A-PD) One-acre Residential-Planned Development; (OS) Open Space-Planned Development.
The ordinance explains its Planned Development designation:
Land under unified control to be planned and developed as a whole in a single development operation or as a programmed series of development operations or phases. A planned development is built according to general and detailed development plans that include not only streets, utilities, lots, and building locations, but also construction, use, and relationships of buildings to one another, and plans for other uses and improvements on the land, such as common or public open space areas. A planned development includes a program for the provision, operation, and maintenance of such areas, facilities, and improvements that will be provided for common use by the occupants of the planned development or for use by the general public, if applicable. (See Chapter 17.28: Planned Development.)
In addition to the proposed homes, San Stino’s developers plan two lots for future school, park or residential uses and the existing Zweck residence. More than 270 acres are proposed for preservation or creation of open spaces which could become “active and passive parks,” trails, landscaped lots and native open spaces, according to the Website.
“We’ve met with most of the neighbors,” Korotkin said. “The Shingle Springs community became aware of the project and spread the word, and it became a groundswell. We do understand that the larger community is concerned with a larger impact to their rural lifestyle, but we think there’s room for reasonable density. And we have an absolute commitment to work with the neighbors.”
Korotkin described his company’s policy and plans as an “open book” and acknowledged awareness of “competing concerns and interests.” He said, however, that developers “need certainty” in order to make reasonable and realistic plans.
Following a contentious hearing back in March, the El Dorado County Board Supervisors voted 4-0 to deny a proposed contract for an outside consultant to begin work on an Environmental Impact Report on the project.
San Stino, as proposed, is in supervisorial District 2 represented by Supervisor Ray Nutting. Nutting was on vacation out of the country at the time of that meeting. The developers would have been obligated for the estimated nearly $320,000 cost for the EIR.
As reported at the time, County Planning Director Roger Trout explained to the Board of Supervisors that the function of the EIR is to evaluate the potential impact a specific project might have on its surroundings, including traffic, infrastructure, emergency vehicle access and a host of environmental issues.
Citing the value of an EIR, Trout said, “All the issues you’ve just mentioned are the tools of the EIR,” he said. “The point is that the applicant has the right to ask. Approval of this is not an approval of the project.”
In an e-mail to the Mountain Democrat later that day, March 4, 2013, Trout noted, “The action today provided us direction from the board that our normal process for preparation of an EIR was not approved. (However), we are continuing to process the application for San Stino, and county staff will continue to work with the applicant on options to satisfy CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act.”
Other residents in the surrounding and adjacent areas have organized to oppose the project and presented petitions signed by hundreds of concerned residents to the supervisors. The area’s rural lifestyle and narrow roads are most often mentioned as being inappropriate for such a large development.
Recently, the San Stino group contracted directly with LSA Associates consultants to do the EIR under essentially the same guidelines and scope of work as the original contract proposed with the county, according to Pierre Rivas, the county’s principal planner assigned to the San Stino project. While the county still retains an oversight role, it will not be responsible for issuing funds to the consultants.
“We’ll review administrative drafts as various sections of the EIR are completed,” Rivas explained. “We don’t expect the scope of work to change much if at all, and we’re probably looking at six months for a draft and seven to eight months before it will go for public review.”
The county would have to certify the final EIR before any work could begin on the proposed project, he said.
Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or [email protected] Follow @CDaleyMtDemo.