Planning Commission OKs Yankee Hill infill project

10 homes may be built on old Argonaut Ave. overpass spot
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald correspondent
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In a 4-0 vote, the Rocklin Planning Commission approved a housing infill project for the Yankee Hill subdivision. The plan is to subdivide a 2.6-acre vacant site with up to 10 new homes at the intersection of Jaybird Lane and Northaven Drive between Mockingbird Court and Lakebreeze Drive, adjacent to Gayaldo Park.

The Yankee Hill Homeowners Association voiced no opposition to the plan in a letter to the city. Concerned residents who live in the neighborhood who came to the April 16 meeting were cautiously supportive of the new housing project. The chief concern was making sure the developer, Carmichael-based Tsakopoulos Investments, owned by Angelo Tsakopoulos, does what it promises.

“The jury is still out,” Yankee Hill homeowner Michael Johnston said. “It depends what they put up on them. I’m concerned about that. People say one thing and down the road things change.”

Johnston countered the de-veloper when he told the commission it’s likely the homes on the lots could be as small as 1,200 square feet.

“That’s the trouble,” Johnston said. “If they build a home that is not as expensive (as the others), you’re going to have more rentals in there. The renters, they don’t take care of them as well.”

Homeowners want to make sure the homes built will be big enough to keep the housing values in the neighborhood consistent, Johnston said.

Neighbor Adam McKillip, who scales the berm along the rail easement almost every night to walk his dog, Roc, said he looks forward to the new homes.

“It’s been a great place to live so far,” McKillip said. “You would hope they would do something similar to what’s in here. Some houses are 2,000 square feet to 3,800.”

McKillip said the boulders on the vacant pad have been an attractive nuisance for kids and four-wheelers, so that would likely end when homes fill the open spot.

He hopes the economy is strong enough to get the project off the ground – otherwise, he fears another housing bubble.

“It seems a little crazy to me that these houses were selling for $270,000 a year ago and now the one behind me just sold for $377,000,” he said. “More than a hundred grand up in less than a year.”

The project now goes to the City Council for final approval. The owner gave no guarantees as to how fast the homes will be built, but gave assurances the construction would not start until after 7 a.m. in the morning and only go until 7 p.m.

“In order to keep the neighboring homeowners happy, we will not be doing construction on Sundays,” Tsakopoulos said.

Tsakopoulos now plans to approach qualified home build-ers. Richman American and Forecast Homes, now known as K. Hovnanian Homes, originally built the Yankee Hill subdivision with Tsakopoulos a dozen years ago.

“It depends if I find a good-quality home builder for the site and enter a contract with them, then conceivably they could have lots under construction by October or November,” Tsakopoulos said.

The infill site was land previously set aside for a rail over-crossing extending Argonaut Avenue over the Union Pacific train tracks that run along the western border of the subdivision. The city removed the costly plan out of its General Plan when it was updated in October after losing support from the railroad to build it.

Tsakopoulos did pay to build an at-grade crossing at Lemon Hill Drive adjacent to Gayaldo Park for emergency vehicles only.

“We installed it 12 years ago. It was no small chunk of change,” he said. “The over-crossing turned out to be not necessary.”