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County unveils draft vision for Sunset Area and Placer Ranch in south Placer

September 27, 2016

Placer County planners today unveiled the first draft land use vision for Placer Ranch and the Sunset Area in south Placer - where planned university, technology and residential developments are expected to drive economic growth for decades.

At today’s board of supervisors meeting, county staff presented a draft land use diagram of the Sunset Area, which include brand new concepts, such as an entertainment mixed-use district to bring in visitors and consumers from outside the region; a 400-acre innovation center district similar to a Google corporate campus; and an eco-industrial district to provide opportunities for energy alternatives, enhanced recovery of materials and solid waste related research and development.

“We're really trying to create a vibrant, livable community, where we can live, work, play and learn, all in one area,” said Michele Kingsbury, the county’s project manager leading the Placer Ranch effort.

Image of  Draft land use diagram - Sunset Area

 Draft land use diagram - Sunset Area (view larger image here

Placer Ranch includes 300 acres of land to be dedicated to California State University, Sacramento for a possible satellite campus that could 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 plans to locate a transfer center on the site that serves an additional 5,000 students. Ultimately, it’s envisioned that students will be able to begin their studies at Sierra College and complete four-year degrees at the same Placer Ranch university campus.

Additionally, the Placer Ranch Specific Plan proposes residential developments, including an active adult community; 5,800 residential units in three density ranges; elementary and middle schools, lots of parks and open space; a university town center with a vibrant, high-density residential and commercial area; and a bike and trail plan that ties into existing trails and connects the university campus with the schools, parks and neighborhoods.

The Sunset Area is an 8,900-acre area in unincorporated Placer County that sits between the cities of Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln. Placer Ranch is 2,213 acres of land entirely within the Sunset Area Plan.

County staff completed an extensive economic market analysis of the Sunset Area identifying its competitive attributes, including large expanses of developable land and close proximity to high-amenity residential communities, which provide a high-quality labor pool. The draft land use diagram also reflects input received during an extensive and ongoing public outreach effort.

Board members encouraged staff to include options for employee and high-density affordable housing when they return with an updated land use diagram.

“I think we have an opportunity here to receive proposals that are creative and imaginative in terms of how they incorporate life-work opportunities in a campus style format,” said District 4 Supervisor Kirk Uhler.

“The vision was really to create a robust job center outside of Placer Ranch that the existing neighborhoods could take advantage of to reduce their outbound commute and relieve some of the congestion on both Highway 65 and Interstate 80,” said Sherri Conway, a supervising county planner leading the area plan update.

Image of Rendering of the Placer Parkway

 Rendering of the Placer Parkway

In the coming months, county staff will be vetting the Sunset Area Plan with community members in neighboring jurisdictions, developing a robust design vision plan for the area, formulating capital improvement plans and finance strategies and providing updates to the board.

“This is a game changer for all of south Placer,” said George Phillips, Placer Ranch land use attorney. “This will change the economic outlook for Placer County for years to come.”

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