Basic Facts About the Proposed Greenbriar Project In North Natomas
EIR Comment Letters
Aerial view of Natomas Basin including NBC Preserves
o The 577 acre, 3,700 housing unit Greenbriar project is not in the Citys General Plan and has been given preferential treatment to be processed for annexation at LAFCO before the Citys General Plan is complete. Greenbriar is located at the intersection of I-5 and 99/70, north of the City of Sacramento. Proponents describe the project as infill but it is bounded by freeway on two sides, undeveloped commercial property on the west and agricultural area to the north. It is the leading edge of development proposals to break the urban limit line and expand further into the Natomas Basin. You can find i t in relation to Natomas Basin Conservancy preserve lands on the satellite image linked above.
It is currently zoned agricultural
and is outside the City limit and the countys urban services boundary
(USB). If the project were included in the General Plan, impacts of the project
on other development proposals within the city, and on the citys infill
policies and infill infrastructure would be addressed. These questions have
been bypassed in environmental review. If approved, Greenbriar will have significant
impacts on development potential in other parts of the city, will harm regional
transportation facilities, and will drain resources away from infill development
and commercial corridor redevelopment.
o The Natomas Community Association has asked for a moratorium on any new annexations to the Community until the levees have been upgraded and certified. The US Army Corp of Engineers issued a letter July 20, 2006 stating that it had withdrawn its previous opinion (1998) that the levees for the Natomas Basin meet the hundred year protection standard.
o Greenbriar will have unacceptable impacts on traffic congestion on I-5 and 99/70. These traffic impacts will affect all those who use the airport, including the freight industry, and will affect all those who commute to downtown from the north. Though the freeways must be widened to accommodate additional traffic generated by the project, no one knows how this can be done since the land is not available for widening. CalTrans has requested land on the project site for additional lanes for I-5 and Hwy 99 ( not included in the project). (See Caltrans letter thru link above.)
o Greenbriar is promoted by its advocates as necessary to create the population needed to justify federal funding for the Downtown/Natomas Light Rail line. The approval of this project in no way assures federal funding for light rail to the airport. Instead, a more likely scenario is that the project will be built and light rail will not be built. The light rail project has been stalled because it is far too expensive for the transit value added, with or without Greenbriar. Moreover, federal agencies responsible for flood control do not want to see structures placed in the floodway, near the confluence of two rivers. Yet Greenbrair assumes light rail will absorb 11 percent of the trips generated by the project. (See enviro letter thru link above.)
o Seventy-five percent of the Greenbriar project is located within the Sacramento International Airports safety overflight zone, used by low-flying military aircraft in training exercises. This causes conflicts between residential communities and airport operations. (See Airport's letter in the link above.)
o The project site is essential habitat for Giant Garter Snake and Swainsons Hawk, protected under the state and federal law. It is outside the Permit Areas of the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan, whose mitigation plan expressly relied on the assumption that most of the Basin outside of the NBHCP Permit Areas would remain undeveloped and agricultural for the 50-year Permit Term. (See wildlife agencies letter thru link above.)