How contentious are the growth guidelines in Sacramento County's general plan update?
Enough so that the county Board of Supervisors is punting on a decision for several months.
They were supposed to hold their next public hearing Wednesday on the draft proposal to open up nearly 20,000 more acres to development.
But the county disclosed this afternoon that the hearing, and another scheduled for Oct. 19, have been postponed.
"These meetings have been postponed to provide time for county staff to work with stakeholders on refining an appropriate growth management strategy," the notice said. "Staff will return to the Board of Supervisors no later than Wednesday, February 23, 2011."
The proposed 2030 general plan update calls for allowing development along Grant Line Road near Rancho Cordova and along Jackson Highway in the south. But transportation and planning experts say that the county already has more than enough room to grow -- particularly with the recession and housing crash -- and that opening up that much more land would significantly increase the oversupply of housing. But so far, supervisors had directed that all 20,000 acres stay under consideration.
Environmental groups, elected officials and others, including The Bee editorial board, have raised concerns about the draft proposal, saying it would encourage leapfrog development that would worsen sprawl and air pollution.
UPDATE: Sacramento County is postponing the public meetings on the General Plan to allow time to work with stakeholders on several issues including how the County should approach its growth management strategy.
The county's CEO, Steve Szalay, issued this statement today:
"At the time the draft plan was scoped, demand for housing, employment and retail uses was significantly higher. Because of the change in the economy, the county needs additional time to consider long-term opportunities for positive economic growth.
"We have several opportunities for new communities in the Jackson Highway Corridor and the Grant Line East Study areas that are currently outside the urban footprint and we need to consider how best to move forward with these projects. Our current General Plan remains valid and provides good policy guidance for development issues and there is no legal mandate to adopt a new General Plan immediately.
"The county is interested in reasonable growth that can be adequately served at reasonable costs. These goals are shared by all stakeholders. We will return to the Board of Supervisors by next February on the General Plan Update."