City Council Approves New Development Plans

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG)  |  By Shaunna Boyd

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - After an inspiring promotion ceremony swearing in three new members of the executive police staff, Mayor Steve Miller called the September 27 Citrus Heights City Council meeting back to order to discuss the rest of the evening’s agenda.

Mesa Verde High School Principal Colin Bross delivered an impassioned presentation describing the school’s efforts to increase enrollment and address the negative perceptions of the school that are inhibiting its growth. Principal Bross explained that some people in the community have misconceptions about the school, mistakenly believing that the school is unsafe and doesn’t offer enough academic options.

Although the school is experiencing decreased enrollment, they have been actively working to increase the attendance rate of the enrolled students and have seen a positive improvement. Principal Bross described the school’s three-year business academy program, the strong athletic programs, the highly qualified teaching staff, and their partnership with Citrus Heights Police Department. They are working to increase academic rigor and to achieve equitable access to advanced placement courses. They have increased the number of advanced placement courses in addition to increasing the number of students of color and of low socio-economic status who are enrolled in AP courses.

The developer of Stock Ranch wants to build an 8,700 square-foot commercial building that will front Auburn Blvd. In a compromise between the city and the applicant, the design plan has been revised to allow that 50% of the frontage will be transparent (window, glass doors) and active with outdoor seating areas.

Council Member Jeff Slowey said, “It is good to see this project is moving forward after many years.” He acknowledged that the area has a lot of open land and hopes the developments will be an asset to the city. Mayor Miller stated that he is impressed with the landscaping plans. No public comments were made, and the council unanimously adopted the resolution.

The council then heard public testimony regarding the allocation of the annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds that are used to develop urban communities by providing decent housing and expanding economic opportunities. For 2019, the estimated CDBG entitlement award is $600,000; of that total, $110,000 will be used to meet public service requests. Representatives from the following public service groups spoke to the council about their requests for funds: Campus Life Connection, which offers after school programs; Meal on Wheels, a senior nutrition program; Crossroads Diversified Services, which offers youth employment readiness programs; Sunrise Christian Food Ministry, an emergency food program; Sacramento Self-Help Housing, which offers housing counseling and a renter’s helpline; Terra Nova Counseling, a juvenile diversion and education program; and WEAVE’s violence reduction team.

Council members stated that they are happy to be able to provide funding for 2019 since all the organizations are so worthy and do so much good for area residents. The council moved to continue the final action on the draft plan to the November 8, 2018 meeting.

The council then approved an amendment to the general plan and zoning code concerning commercial subdivisions. The amendment, Policy 9.5, would discourage the creation of any new parcels within existing commercial centers, if such creation might hinder the viability and/or future redevelopment of the center. The policy requires any proposed commercial subdivision to depict their long-term development plans. The amendment is supported by Sunrise MarketPlace and other business groups in the city.

A proposed update to small lot ordinance guidelines was unanimously approved. Some lots in the city are too small to develop into apartment complexes, so a “new use category” is being proposed. The intent of the proposal is to increase housing options in the city and enable the development of difficult parcels.

The update to the small lot ordinance would allow for single-family homes that share guest parking and landscaping in the front common areas but have small individual yard spaces in the back. The proposal includes important design details such as standards for landscaping, the use of decorative paving, and architectural design. In order to upkeep the shared landscaping, an HOA would be required for each small lot community. Vice Mayor Jeannie Bruins said, “If it’s done right, it could be very charming, like cottages with a friendly neighborhood feel.”

The meeting closed with Council Member Bret Daniels requesting an item be added the future agenda: he spoke with great emotion about the recent killing of Mark Stasyuk, a Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputy who was shot in the line of duty while on a routine call in Rancho Cordova. Deputy Stasyuk was an alumnus of San Juan High School in Citrus Heights, so Council Member Daniels requested that the city work together with the school and with other neighborhood groups to ensure that a fitting memorial is created to honor Deputy Stasyuk for his service.