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August 31, 2009
Testy exchange of words over Curtis Park Village
Capital Public Radio's "Insight" Host Jeffrey Callison just wrapped up a very testy 20 minutes with Sacramento developer Paul Petrovich and Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association President Rosanna Herber over Petrovich's proposed Curtis Park Village development.

Listen to a replay here:

Herber came out swinging  against the project's design and called the developer's plan to bury tons of toxic waste below a park site - one that appears headed for approval by the state - a "toxic time bomb."

Petrovich got ticked off at that, saying it's the first he's heard that kind of concern. He called it the newest example of raising a new issue to derail city approval of his infill project on a 72-acre former railyard site between Land Park and Curtis Park.

Petrovich threw his own bomb, charging that an affluent neighborhod that is 98 percent white is trying to prevent commercial development that would bring in shoppers from nearby Oak Park and Hollywood Park, which have higher concentrations of people of color.

"I think we're talking about a high-tech way of bias, of not letting other people come in," he said.

Herber said that is hardly the case.

"Absolutely not," she said. "We stand united with Land Park, Oak Park and Hollywood Park. We absolutely believe it (the commercial aspect) should be neighborhood-serving, not retail coming from the outside in."

Petrovich repeated his threat that if the neighborhood association manages to kill his project at City Hall or sues to stop it he will use the site for its zoned industrial purpose - for a cement batch plant, rendering plant or bus terminal or something similar.

Said Herber: "That is ludicrous." She said Petrovich would need a special permit and "I do not think the City Council would do that."

Petrovich said he needs no permit to put up buildings smaller than 40,000 square feet.

So goes the battle for public opinion about the city's second-largest infill project. The first hearings are expected before the Sacramento Planning Commission in early October. A city council vote would follow sometime before the end of the year.

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