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After eight years, Rocklin 60 development gets green light

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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After being on the drawing board for eight years, the Rocklin 60 housing development finally won approval from the Rocklin City Council Tuesday in a 4-0 vote. Councilman Brett Storey was absent. In October, the Rocklin Planning Commission unanimously rejected the plan on the basis of the design, which they stated lacked creativity. Sierra Holdings LLC proposed the Rocklin 60 housing development, with nearly 170 home sites to be built off Rocklin Road in 59 acres property, which stretches to the Loomis border and Dias Lane. Loomis Mayor Gary Liss sent a letter to the Rocklin Council expressing concerns with how the project would fit in next to Loomis. Liss and Loomis Councilman Walt Scherer spoke at the Nov. 23 Rocklin Council meeting in a last-minute appeal to delay the project to work out their issues over things like excessive lighting, landscaping, traffic and other concerns. Rocklin Councilman Peter Hill said that any more delay would be unnecessary. “It is not surprising to get a letter from Loomis on the same day as action,” Hill said. “I don’t think we should do anything with these issues. The environmental impact document is fine. Each of these issues have been discussed at the borders committee.” Loomis and Rocklin operate a joint committee of council members who have ongoing discussions about issues facing the two communities. Since Kathy Lund retired from the council last week, Hill is currently the only Rocklin member of the committee. After the vote, Liss and Scherer demanded Rocklin Mayor Scott Yuill seat a new committee to discuss the issues. “They blew us off,” Liss said. “I hope someone other than Peter Hill is on the borders committee. He has too much history.” Hill said “history” is not a bad thing when it comes to dealing with Loomis. “Do they now think they have some right to tell us who should be on our committees or is this just some childish game of, ‘If we don’t get our way we want to change the rules?’” Hill said. “I think having an understanding of the history of the area is a plus, not a negative.” Even with the ranker between the two community leaders the Rocklin 60 plan was approved with a stipulation that the developer determine if staggered setbacks for the home sites are feasible with the terrain and if they are to include them in the design plan. The developer also removed about five lots along the border of the development with Loomis to allow for an open space of oak trees. That parcel rests against Loomis resident Jayne Parker’s 3-acre property off Dias Lane. “I am delighted about the tree preserve because it’s right on our property and it makes a big difference instead of five or six houses,” Parker said. “The staggering could be an improvement but who knows if it will happen at all.” Hill said it was one of the determining factors in his vote to approve the project. “I think this change is a good change,” Hill said. “It’s in response to concerns that Loomis had particularly.” Sierra Holdings Spokesperson Chris Vrame said the developer is open to the staggered setbacks. It’s unclear what effect the project’s approval will have on the rocky relationship Loomis and Rocklin continue to experience. Loomis took Rocklin to court over the Environmental Impact Report on the project and lost, but they still have time to appeal. “We’ll see if the Loomis Town Council can have any better effect on the council in Rocklin,” Parker said. “We’ll just wait and see.” Houses won’t be popping up anytime soon. Vrame admits any groundbreaking will take place after the housing market rebounds.