Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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What is the San Stino Residential Project?

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From page A1 | April 22, 2013 | 13 Comments

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 cdaley@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @CDaleyMtDemo. 

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 13 comments

  • DivinoApril 22, 2013 - 9:02 am

    If Mr. Korotkin had wanted certainty as a developer, then he would have proposed a project that met the current zoning of (RE-5) Residential Estate 5-acres and (AE) Agriculture Exclusive. The community would not have put up resistance to a project that meets the current zoning. Mr. Korotkin is forgetting that the community also wants certainty, and zoning provides certainty.

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  • Stan StaileyApril 22, 2013 - 9:17 am

    It's interesting to me that the Democrat declined to attend and report on the Shingle Springs Community Alliance meeting where over 300 residents in attendance expressed their opposition to this project as currently proposed. This "puff" piece makes it sound like a quiet little Italian Village instead of the irresponsible massive intrusion that it is. This project would change, no "destroy" the rural lifestyle of Shingle Springs and surrounding areas. Don't believe me, go to shinglespringscommunityalliance.com and look at all the information yourself.

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  • CatherineApril 22, 2013 - 10:02 am

    Divine says it perfectly. The land is not zoned for this use. An EIR is not meaningful, since the use is not authorized. There would be no environment impact for me to put a 20-unit hotel on my 5-acre plot, but I am equally prevented from doing do, and I guess one could argue I'm being denied my 'freedom' to make the most of my land. But this is why we have regional planning.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netApril 22, 2013 - 11:08 am

    Stan...look at any of the community meetings--I live in Pollock Pines....the articles are "puff" pieces...democrat is not writing ours--Harper is writing ours. Less than 1% come to our meetings. Yet the article shows "happy faces" and pretty words. Come to our next meeting--bring a journalist. May 15th ^ pm at our community center in Pollock.

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  • Diane ShoffApril 22, 2013 - 4:10 pm

    This article is clearly intended to make the developers look like they really care about public opinion and are committed to work with the residents of Shingle Springs. This project is directly across from my property and home. I HAVE NOT BEEN CONTACTED BY THE DEVELOPER, contrary to the statements in the article. This development should be only allowed within the current zoning of RE 5. That would allow the developers and the county to both make money while protecting the rural nature of our community. I hope the Mountain Democrat will write some further articles on the ill advised development with opposing views.

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  • LpApril 22, 2013 - 8:55 pm

    Stop all this stupid development! Throw all these crook BOS, planning development, bla, bla, bla's out of office! Wake up! Moving out of state soon, can't wait!

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  • DavidApril 22, 2013 - 9:49 pm

    I don't get all this hub-bub about denying this project! In these hard times there are alot of families that could use the jobs that a project of this magnitude would create. Not to mention the tax revenue for the county to help with Schools, community programs, etc! Whats the big deal here, aren't these times trying enough? If you're not moving forward then which way are you moving , backwards? Stop this environmental B.S. and let them do what their going to do and create jobs so people can feed their families!

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  • DivinoApril 23, 2013 - 8:38 am

    David, you make good points. However, if you talk to a local builder, these types of large development do not create local jobs. Remember the housing boom in El Dorado Hills? Those houses were built using outside developers and their crews that they brought with them from outside El Dorado County. Local builders would actually benefit from the larger parcel sizes because large developers only make money on high density projects, so they will not touch a low or medium density project. And when you build more rooftops, you create a need for more services. The tax dollars generated by more rooftops will be used to provide those services, so there is not a net gain for the County. Remember, the General Plan for our county designated this land for low density development, which fits with the surrounding community. Are you for urbanizing an area that is treasured for its rural beauty and country lifestyle? Build it as it is zoned in the General Plan. That is what Shingle Springs is all about.

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  • Bill EApril 23, 2013 - 8:51 am

    There is more than a little hypocrisy in play when people living on 1 care parcels that were originally part of the ranch, tell the landowner to keep it zoned AG. So did they pay extra to have a private park across from their property? Ah, well, no. Are they paying into a fund to ensure their visual open space? Ah, well, no. Do these people understand that their house is actually part of the degradation of the neighborhood with their small parcels? Oh, that can not be true. Do these people understand that that larger parcels means higher price points for houses targeting the wealthy? You bet they do! The message should be thanks for the free park for the last 40 years. Neighbors telling neighbors what to do is a slippery slope.

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  • SamApril 23, 2013 - 12:01 pm

    To Bill E, the neighbors in this case have yet to sell their property. As neighbors, we are not telling them what not to do with their property. If they want to sell, by all means go for it. We are asking the buyers (NOT my neighbor) to follow the current zoning. The prospective buyer, Korotkin et al., wants to amend the current General Plan to include the high-density zoning. It's when we allow "carpetbaggers" to change and control our lifestyle that is the slippery slope.

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  • Old JoeApril 23, 2013 - 10:48 pm

    Mr. Daley: This is perhaps the most romanticized, flowery description of a high density project planned within a rural area I've heard described. I'm disappointed there are no gondola rides nor the sound of mandolins awaiting the perspective San Stino residents. A few things need to be stated. @David: Sunfield Development, an international developer had San Stino listed as one of it's projects. San Stino has been removed from it's website. Sunfield lists having partnerships with national home builders. So much for local jobs. Why has San Stino been removed as being one of it's projects? Not too hard to figure out. @Bill E: There is no hypocrisy. Many parcels in Shingle springs are 5 - 10 acres. Develop the proposed San Stino development to that size and we'll all co-exist. Developers "need certainty" in order to make reasonable and realistic plans. Residents need certainty as well. When purchasing property it is not unreasonable to expect adjoining property to be developed to the existing General Plan at time of purchase. Visit NoSanStino.com for more information on the the project and it's impact on Shingle Springs. Nuff Said.

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  • William RobyApril 28, 2013 - 8:39 am

    The San Stino project has highlighted the developers failure to look beyond the scope of their project and address the most basic element of critical importance, community. Community extends beyond the 500 feet line, and "neighbors" extend beyond the land the joins each family. Limiting the concept does not make it so. I live further down French Creek Road, however this is very much in my neighborhood. The impact to local traffic and education are primary concerns, that need to be vetted by all. Neither Buckeye Elementary nor Ponderosa High School can currently absorb an inflow of students that the development would generate. Nor does the current traffic plan suggest a symblence of reality. Making an alternative access point does not mean it will be used. Ponderosa Road is at capacity in the morning, adding more students and parents to an already saturated road effects everyone from Lotus to Shingle Springs, to pretend otherwise is inviting the tax payers of El Dorado County to pay a bill for a developers ambition to maximize profit. Someone will have to pay the 10 million for expansion of the Ponderosa overpass, and it will not be San Stino. To reduce the expense of staff time, that is an expense to us as tax payers, and to further the process along, the proposal should be withdrawn. Needless time and money is being spent on a project, that if scaled down, will have to reset and restart again, costing more staff time and expense. If the developers truly care about community, they should do the right thing, now.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netApril 28, 2013 - 8:46 am

    one of the items im waiting for someone to think of...if all these homes are built...will El Dorado County lose its "rural" status? Because right now...across the United States "rural" areas are fighting for their lives.

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