Is "Something" always "Better than Nothing"?
Next week (3/23/2017) the Arden Arcade Community Planning Advisory Council (CPAC) holds its regular monthly meeting at the Arden Dimick library. One of the projects on its agenda is particularly interesting because it just screams "urban planning failure". The project, on the agenda as "PLNP2016-00454 Pine Time Extension" is a request to extend for 5 years the time for a developer pipe-dream approved back in 2007. The site is still vacant to this day. It is a 1.7 acre triangular parcel that was one of the victims when Caltrans built the Business80 freeway back in the day. Constrained by the freeway sound wall (which delineates the boundary between the City of Sacramento on the freeway side and Arden Arcade on the other) on the hypotenuse, suburban backyards on the east and 1-story apartments on the south, the site was designated for business/professional offices long ago. The business/professional office market ignored it for years. So when a developer proposed cramming 19 houses into the site instead, the County -- driven by its mantra that "something is better than nothing" -- seized the opportunity. The Supervisors made the usual findings about how traffic and other factors would not matter, said it was OK to have two story houses just a few feet from the backyards of the adjacent neighborhood because the builder wasn't going to put windows on the east side of those houses, and never really asked whether it made sense to stuff 19 houses into what is essentially a gated community on a parcel that is, in reality, nearly cut off from the rest of the world. Now, after 10 years have passed without anything being built on the parcel, there is a request to extend the old approval for another 5 years. Once again, whether or not the prior approval mades sense, "something is better than nothing". Really?