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Board Initiates Eminent Domain Proceedings for Auburn Folsom Road Widening Project, Approves 2012-13 Housing Voucher Program

March 28, 2012

The Placer County Board of Supervisors agreed to start eminent domain proceedings Tuesday in case the county is unable to successfully negotiate right-of-way acquisitions needed to widen Auburn Folsom Road in Granite Bay.

The county still must acquire five properties that altogether cover less than two acres before it can widen Auburn Folsom from two to four lanes between Eureka Road and Douglas Boulevard.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted unanimously to adopt a resolution of necessity declaring the county’s intent to acquire the properties through eminent domain proceedings if necessary.

“We don’t take this action lightly,” county Public Works Director Ken Grehm said of the decision to initiate eminent domain proceedings.

He joined other speakers in emphasizing the county needs to complete the right-of-way acquisitions so it can start construction without delay on the third and final phase of the widening project. When the final phase is complete, Auburn Folsom will be a four-lane thoroughfare from Douglas Boulevard to the Sacramento County line.

“This is an important project in our area,” said Supervisor Kirk Uhler, Granite Bay’s representative on the Board of Supervisors.

Grehm told the board that approximately 30,000 vehicles travel Auburn Folsom daily, emphasizing that it is a major transportation corridor between South Placer and the Folsom area.

He noted that the courts will determine fair market values of the properties if the county acquires them through eminent domain. “We’re committed to paying what the fair market value is,” he told the board.

Grehm said the county will continue negotiating with the two families who own the five properties. Members of both families addressed the board, and one pledged to work with the county to complete the sale of his family’s two parcels.

In a report to the board, Grehm said that the county has successfully completed right-of-way acquisitions for 13 parcels needed to widen Auburn Folsom between Eureka and Douglas.

On Feb. 28, the board paved the way for construction of the final phase to begin as early as this year when it agreed to shift up to $7.7 million in traffic impact fee revenue collected throughout the county to supplement funding that already was available for the widening work. The impact fee revenue from other parts of the county will be repaid using $8 million in future revenue the South Placer Regional Transportation Authority has earmarked for the Auburn Folsom widening project.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board also voted unanimously to approve the Placer County Housing Authority’s annual plan for operating a federally funded housing voucher program.

The Housing Authority, a division of the Health and Human Services Department, is scheduled to receive more than $2.2 million during the 2012-13 fiscal year for the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Placer County’s program provides rent assistance to more than 275 families, seniors and veterans with very low incomes. Many participants are elderly or disabled.

In a report to the board, Health and Human Services noted that the Placer County Housing Authority has been designated a “high-performing” housing authority by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the second consecutive year.

Also on Tuesday, HUD notified the Housing Authority it will receive 10 extra vouchers during 2012-13 specifically for veterans who need affordable housing.

The vouchers generally cover the difference between fair-market rent payments based on HUD standards and the amounts program participants can afford to pay.