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Did Hell freeze over?

After a long path of twists and turns, with spring and early summer CPAC meetings filled up with neighbors opposed to the the Arden Creek Town Center development at Arden and Watt, with County desks inundated with letters expressing why this project's design was a horrible idea, and ultimately, the County Zoning Administrator dispassionately defying the strong wishes of the community by giving his rubber stamp approval 11 days ago, the Arden Arcade Community Planning Advisory Council (CPAC) fought back. Last Thursday night the CPAC did something it had never done before. It voted to appeal the project's approval decision even though the CPAC had itself voted in favor. By so doing, the CPAC also relieved the community of the ridiculous $4000 price the County charges for an appeal. 

Normally, a CPAC is allowed to vote for appeal if they recommend denial of a project.  If they approve, no option for appeal is typically available.  Neighbors had asserted the CPAC had half denied and half approved the project because they had approved the Arden Creek Town Center with two conditions that the County subsequently disregarded. Therefore, said the neighbors, the CPAC should be entitled to vote for an appeal to take place.  County staff put up stiff resistance to the notion that the CPAC could revisit a project after approving it. When pressed, though, County staff could not identify a Sacramento County Code provision for what happens if a CPAC both approves and denies. The CPAC then moved forward with an agenda item to consider appealing the project.

What swung the CPAC to vote to appeal was the fact that their recommendations had been ignored by the County, and they didn't like that!  CPAC had recommended two conditions -- that the boundary wall would be equivalent to a concrete masonry unit wall AND that no variance on sign height be allowed.  County staff, including the Zoning Administrator, paid no attention to either recommendation.  That did not sit well with the CPAC. It doesn't sit well with the community, either. We shall see what happens next.

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This is the cheap boundary fence that the County allowed at the Quick Quack car wash, saying it would protect adjacent homes. But it doesn't, and it drives the neighbors crazy. The Arden Creek Town Center developer wants to put up a wall just like this one. The CPAC said OK only if the wall would actually protect nearby homes, but County staff brushed-off the CPAC's recommended condition. Similarly, County staff poo-pooed the CPAC's recommendation against sky-high signs. The staff's handling of the CPAC's input prompted the CPAC to vote to support the community and appeal the Zoning Administrator's decision. 
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