Water Vault Green Light

Court denies lawsuit to prevent McKinley Park work

By Jessica Laskey
April 2019

A Sacramento County Superior Court judge has rejected an attempt to stop construction of a concrete water vault under McKinley Park.

In a nine-page ruling, Judge Richard Sueyoshi denied a lawsuit filed by an anonymous group calling itself Citizens For A Safe And Sewage-Free McKinley Park in late February. The group wanted to block the city from building the vault, which is designed to prevent water runoff and sewage from backing up into East Sacramento streets, driveways and homes during severe rainstorms.

Irvine-based attorney Shoshana Kaiser of the law firm Brown Rudnick filed the lawsuit against the city and sought a preliminary injunction to halt work on the project, which is expected to begin this summer. City officials have said construction should be completed by spring 2021.

In the lawsuit, the “citizens” group claimed the city failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires the preparation and circulation of an Environmental Impact Report.

The group claimed the water vault would harm trees in McKinley Park, and would cause sewage and contaminated storm water to flow into the park and damage the neighborhood’s historical resources and air quality.

 

In his ruling, Judge Sueyoshi wrote, “The Court agrees with (the city) that (the citizens group) has failed to cite the evidence that is not in support of its position.” He added that while the group may disagree with the EIR’s conclusions, “This does not constitute a sufficient basis to set aside the city’s approval of the EIR.”

The lawsuit to stop the McKinley Water Vault was filed one month after the City Council approved the project’s EIR in October.

 While the ruling did not identify individuals who comprise the “citizens” group, Maria Kelly, who owns a property on H Street, was among the people who attended a Superior Court hearing in support of the lawsuit. Kelly did not respond to a request for comment.

Brown Rudnick also represented residents in a lawsuit against the city for allowing the McKinley Village housing development in East Sacramento. In the McKinley Village case, a state appeals court ordered the city to further explain its traffic study, but did not prohibit the construction of the 336-unit development.

NEW MURALS AT THEODORE JUDAH

You might notice some striking new paintings adorning the exterior walls of Theodore Judah Elementary School. These are the work of local artists—and Judah parents—Jose DiGregorio, Tyson Anthony Roberts and Jeremy Stanger, and the brainchild of parent Laura Barrett.

“I’ve wanted to pursue this idea for a couple of years,” says Barrett, who has a daughter in fifth grade at Judah and a seventh-grader at Sutter Middle School. “We have the beautiful new building that houses the upper grades and our science lab, but the rest of campus isn’t terribly colorful.”

Barrett discussed her idea of doing a small-scale version of Wide Open Walls—the citywide mural project to promote public art—with artist and fellow Judah parent DiGregorio, and she soon discovered that the required talent could be found within the school community.

Six murals are planned in two phases. Phase One was completed in February through donations from the school community. Phase Two—featuring murals by Kim Squaglia and Trisha Rhomberg, as well as a group mural in which each artist will paint a single letter of the word “Judah”—will be funded by selling limited-edition prints of the Phase One murals.

All the painting takes place during school hours. “It’s so important for the kids to see working artists in action,” Barrett says. “It inspires the students to appreciate art and see that it’s possible to pursue their dreams of being artists and make an impact in their community.”

EAST LAWN PRESENTATIONS

We all need to leave behind more than just memories—we need to leave behind detailed plans. To help in that effort, East Lawn is offering three complimentary informational presentations this month.

The 25-minute sessions will be held Thursday, April 4, at 11:30 a.m. at East Lawn Memorial Park & East Sacramento Mortuary, 4300 Folsom Blvd.; Wednesday, April 10, at 11:30 a.m. at East Lawn Andrews & Greilich Mortuary, 3939 Fruitridge Road; and Wednesday, April 17, at 11:30 a.m. at Sierra Hills Memorial Park & East Lawn Mortuary, 5757 Greenback Lane.

Reservations are required and seating is limited. To RSVP for April 4, call (916) 732-2000; for April 10, call (916) 732-2026; and for April 17, call (916) 732-2020. A complimentary meal will be served. For more information, visit eastlawn.com.

NEW GIG FOR SACRAMENTO

If you thought Jump Bike was an innovative way to get around the city, GIG Car Share takes it to the next level.

The newly introduced electric car-sharing program allows app users to pick up and drop off a vehicle within a designated “HomeZone” for rates as low as $2.50 per mile, $15 per hour or $85 per day—which includes charging, parking and insurance.

“I believe that our new free-floating car-share program will provide another option for people trying to spend their transportation dollars wisely,” says Fedolia “Sparky” Harris, principal planner for the city of Sacramento. “GIG will be the first company to provide this service in Sacramento and comes with the added benefit of an all-electric fleet of vehicles that will have no emissions and can introduce more people to electric cars.”

As many as 260 Chevy Bolts have been deployed and are now available for public use in Midtown, Downtown, East Sacramento, Oak Park and Tahoe Park. The cars are operated by AAA as part of a “Green City” initiative through Electrify America, which committed $44 million to Sacramento’s “Sac-to-Zero” program to accelerate the use of shared clean-mobility transportation.

The GIG app can be downloaded on the App Store and Google Play.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

Construction is ramping up again at Crocker Village. BlackPine Communities—the builder of other high-profile local infill projects like California Brownstones and The Creamery—will begin work on three additional villages in the next few months.

“It is a world-class ‘surban’ community,” says BlackPine president and COO Mike Paris. “The architectural style and design is uniquely different, with architectural influences ranging from the brownstones in Park Slope, New York City, to the classic genres of the historical ‘park’ neighborhoods throughout Sacramento.”

The first phase of the project, formerly known as Curtis Park Village, started in late 2014 and was limited to 86 lots on the east side of Crocker Road. Paris expects the new construction—Phases Two and Three—to be sold and built out by late summer.

The three villages will include 52 larger one- and two-story estate-style homes ranging from 1,866 to 2,785 square feet; 65 one- and two-story estate-style homes ranging from 2,139 to 2,705 square feet; and 83 two-story court-style homes ranging from 1,628 to 2,070 square feet.

 As for retail, the Safeway flagship store opened in March. The store will anchor the Crocker Village retail center alongside other recently announced tenants, such as LA Fitness’ City Sports Club and fast-casual Chinese restaurant Panda Express.

Jessica Laskey can be reached at jessrlaskey@gmail.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month.

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