Developing Western Placer County’s Economic and Educational Areas Progresses

Auburn, CA (MPG)  |  Source: Robert Miller, County of Placer
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Placer Ranch and the Sunset Area in western Placer County are integral pieces of the county’s economic future. Fully understanding the areas’ importance, the county board of supervisors today approved several items that will allow county staff to proceed with preparation of environmental documents and the review and processing of planning documents for the Placer Ranch project, in addition to an agreement with the Placer Ranch property owner.

In the first action, the board approved a $791,140 contract with Ascent Environmental to prepare the environmental impact report for the Sunset Area Plan update and the Placer Ranch Specific Plan. The two areas are west of highway 65 and situated between the cities of Lincoln to the north, Rocklin to the east and Roseville to the south.

The Sunset Area is an 8,900-acre area in unincorporated western Placer County and Placer Ranch is 2,213 acres of land that is entirely within the Sunset Area Plan. The objective of the Sunset Area Plan update is to implement the county's long-term vision to create a plan that helps drive the county’s economic engine. The environmental impact report is an important piece of the update.

The approval of the second item allows the county to enter into an agreement with the property owners of Placer Ranch to move forward with the specific plan for that site, which will serve as the guiding planning document for the development of the area.

“As many of you know, there was a lot of division and divisiveness over this particular project,” District 1 Supervisor Jack Duran said of Placer Ranch, which borders his district. “That’s been put to rest. It’s now time for everybody in local jurisdictions to come together and figure out the best way to move things forward.”

Placer Ranch includes 300 acres to be dedicated to California State University, Sacramento for a satellite campus that’s expected to develop into an independent CSU campus. At build out, the school is projected to employ 5,000 faculty and staff who will support 25,000 students. Sierra College will also locate a transfer center on the site that serves an additional 5,000 students.

In April, the board took the extraordinary step of authorizing the county to process the plan through the application and environmental analysis process. Typically, a developer would proceed with the tasks undertaken by the county.

A key component of the agreement between the county and the property owners is the dedication of land for the first phase of the Placer Parkway, a critical piece of county infrastructure that will provide a new east to west roadway, relieving traffic congestion on both Highway 65 and Interstate 80.

The board’s actions today will allow county staff to move forward with the processing of the proposed Placer Ranch Specific Plan at the same time as an update of the Sunset Area Plan.

The supervisors, through their actions, recognize that the plan is an integral component in planning for the Sunset Area. Including the Placer Ranch in the Sunset Area update will allow for design of an overall land use plan that balances smart growth, jobs creation, comprehensive infrastructure planning and economic development.

Due to the economic development potential of both Placer Ranch and the Sunset Area, the area is a major center for new employment. Placer Ranch will serve as a major catalyst for both infrastructure and job growth.