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Loomis loses court ruling with Rocklin

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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The town of Loomis’ objections to a proposed Lowe’s Home Improvement Store planned for the border with the city of Rocklin is now over. It’s still unclear if Lowe’s will go forward with the project in a tight economy. “The case is over and we can close the book,” Loomis Town Manager Perry Beck said. Loomis wanted Rocklin to acknowledge the traffic impacts to the town associated with the developer’s project to build the big box hardware store behind the Chevron and McDonald’s on Sierra College Boulevard at the east end of Granite Drive. Loomis sued on the basis of the six issues regarding the environmental impact report losing all but one. The court did ask Rocklin to revise the mitigation measure regarding payment of a fair share contribution for the Sierra College Widening Project being constructed between Granite Drive and Taylor Road. The modification required the developer to pay Loomis instead of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency. Then on Sept. 17, a judge denied a motion to charge Rocklin for Loomis’ attorney fees associated with legal fight. Beck said the town could have more options but will chose to accept the ruling over appeal. “You either accept the decision or move up the legal ladder,” Beck said. “We accepted the decision so we get off the ladder.” The attorney fees could have been $80,657. Beck said the town’s special legal counsel Don Mooney will collect about half that amount or $43,337.56 paid over the past (next) two years in legal fees. Beck said all that was lost was time on the case. The fair share contribution only amounted to about $830, determined by the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency and a transportation consultant. “Loomis residents will probably wonder why the town spent time on this,” Beck said. Beck said it is all a part of a growth strategy to protect Loomis’ rural town environment sometimes at the peril of relationships with neighboring cities. Rocklin and Loomis have been trying to thaw frosty relations despite legal challenges to a series of Rocklin’s growth projects along the border. “I think it’s safe to say that, based on the ruling, Rocklin’s EIR process is sound,” Rocklin Mayor Scott Yuill said. “Of course I’m pleased that Rocklin saved $80,000, but wish agreements could be reached between our cities without costly lawsuits. I hope that our cities will become better neighbors in the future.” Even so, there is at least one more project Loomis is expected to challenge on the other side of I-80 called the Rocklin 60 housing development. The Rocklin project is expected to construct up to 179 single family homes on 56.9 acres located south of I-80 between the proposed Rocklin Crossing project and Dias Lane. Loomis is preparing to respond to that project’s final environmental impact report expected to be heard Oct. 19. Reportedly the town wants a series of issues solved including housing lots that back up to the border to be larger in size so they can be more consistent with Loomis. They want to restrict access to Dias Lane or Brace Road to emergency police and fire vehicles, which would put the main entrance to the housing community on the southern border of the project near Sierra College Boulevard and Rocklin Road.