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City moving forward with plan to sell, develop vacant Sylvan Corners lot

Sylvan Middle School property, sylvan corners
The City of Citrus Heights purchased an 11-acre parcel at Sylvan Corners last year, with an intent to resell it to a developer.

Sentinel staff report–
Life hasn’t halted at City Hall during the coronavirus pandemic, as the City of Citrus Heights moves forward with plans to sell and guide development of the vacant 11-acre former Sylvan Middle School property at Sylvan Corners.

This Thursday, April 9, the City Council is slated to hear an extensive market research analysis for the property from a consultant, as well as consider formal adoption of a set of planning goals that will guide any future development of the property, referred to in city documents as the “Sylvan 40.” The council will also consider directing staff to proceed with offering the property for sale.

The city purchased the former Sylvan Middle School property last year for $3.43 million, with an intent to turn around and sell it to a developer, in order to have more control over its future use.

The market analysis is considered a key part of determining feasibility of development at the property and will provide assessment of aspects like market demand and constraints, pricing and rents, demographics, and construction trends.

Proposed planning goals for the 11-acre parcel highlight the property’s prime location in the geographical center of the city and express a desire to “reestablish the area as a cultural and social hub.” Land uses listed include encouragement of outdoor commercial areas and dining, along with mixed-use housing. Gas stations and drive-thru’s would be prohibited.

Following anticipated approval from the City Council on Thursday, a staff report says the next goal “is to begin marketing the property to the development community in the near future.” Pending direction from the council, a meeting with the city and cemetery district would also first be held, as the city may allow a portion of the Sylvan 40 property to be purchased by the cemetery.

The cemetery is located just to the north of the property, and its board has expressed interest in a buying a 2.33-acre portion of the property in order to extend the cemetery’s capacity for another 10 to 15 years.

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The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. on April 9, with the meeting closed to the public due to coronavirus mitigation protocols. The meeting will be live-streamed online at metro14live.saccounty.net.

Public comment can be submitted in advance to cityclerk@citrusheights.net. According to a statement in the council’s agenda packet, comments of up to 250 words in length will be read out loud during the meeting.

A full list of the city’s proposed planning goals for the Sylvan 40 property is included below.

Concept Goals
The Sylvan 40 property is a place of cultural and social significance for Citrus Heights. The development of the property shall meet the following concept goals:

  • Represent the city’s continued commitment to reinvest in Sylvan Corners and Auburn Boulevard.
  • Support uses compatible with surrounding land uses without detracting from the nearby Stock Ranch retail center.
  • Enhance Sylvan Corners as the geographical center of the city and reestablish the area as a cultural and social hub.

Design Goals
The Sylvan 40 property is a gateway to the Boulevard and its future development will serve as a catalyst for continued revitalization of the area. Development of the property shall meet the following design goals:

  • Activate the area by fronting all buildings, including residential units, outward toward Sylvan Plaza and Auburn Boulevard frontage.
  • Include enhanced pedestrian connections to connect the property to nearby businesses, Sylvan Plaza and the adjoining school.
  • Provide well-designed parking and service areas to screen these areas from Auburn Boulevard and the Sylvan Plaza.
  • Incorporate Sylvan Plaza into the project design.

Land Use Goals
The Sylvan 40 property is essential to the continued improvement of the Boulevard. The property may be developed with a variety of land uses which complement the area and the surroundings. Proposed use(s) shall consider the following overall land use goals:

  • Consider the property’s adjacency to the school and the cemetery.
  • Encourage commercial uses such as cafes with outdoor dining, offices which incorporate outdoor areas and other similar uses that will connect to the public spaces. Prohibit automotive intensive uses such as gas stations and drive-throughs.
  • Housing types may consist of for-sale and rental units, be a mixed-use concept, or designed for specific needs such as work-force housing, teacher housing, or similar product type.

Financial Goal
The city purchased the Sylvan 40 property to play an active role in its future development. The city has long recognized Sylvan Corners as a pivotal piece to attracting private investment in the area. The following is the city’s key financial goal when considering development of the property:

  • The development shall be financially feasible and provide long-term fiscal benefits to the city.

Want to share your thoughts on future development at Sylvan Corners? We publish every letter received. Submit a letter to the editor or opinion column for publication: Click here

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