Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

What’s happening with the plan to build 95 homes at Sylvan Corners?

A site map shows where 95 homes are proposed to be built at Sylvan Corners.

Updated Feb. 11, 3:52 p.m.–
By Mike Hazlip— Representatives from Woodside Homes presented plans for a new 95-home community on an 11-acre parcel at Sylvan Corners during a lightly attended Jan. 9 community meeting at City Hall.

The proposal calls for 70 traditional single-family homes and 25 lots with an alley entrance to the garage. Those 25 homes will face outward toward Auburn Boulevard in an effort to increase the curb appeal of the busy thoroughfare. City plans show 81 homes would be market-rate, while 14 are shown as affordable units.

Vice President of Land Acquisition and Development at Woodside Homes, Michael LaFortune, presented the proposal at the meeting with Land Acquisition Manager Tauni Fessler. Woodside homes presented the plan in an effort to gain input from community members in the early stages of the process, LaFortune said.

The 25 homes along the perimeter of the neighborhood are designated as “rear load lots,” LaFortune said. They are proposed to have a front door facing outward with a garage in the rear that is accessible from an alley within the community.

The plan calls for two entrance and exit driveways, both along southbound Auburn Boulevard. The plans do not allow left turning traffic onto Auburn Boulevard.

A total of five open spaces are part of the development with the largest being a detention basin for stormwater runoff at the southernmost point of the property, plans show. A pedestrian walkway between lots 78 and 79 is planned that connects the neighborhood with a path around the detention basin.

One of the goals of the project in to increase pedestrian use of Sylvan Corners, LaFortune said. The detention basin is planned to enhance the already paved northwest corner of the intersection that is the geographic center of Citrus Heights, documents show.

The developer aims to enhance the community through landscaping and architecture that LaFortune said will create passive recreation. The developer plans to create a homeowner’s association “in perpetuity” that will own and maintain the parks and landscaping within the community, he said.

The homes will also be subject to Mello-Roos bonds, according to LaFortune.

Public comments revolved around traffic concerns with Auburn Boulevard already a heavily traveled thoroughfare. LaFortune said the developer is working with the city to address more specific traffic issues.

LaFortune stressed the project is still in the early stages, and no part of the plan has final approval from city leaders.

The site was formerly home to Sylvan Middle School until it was demolished in 2016. The city subsequently purchased the 11.3-acre site from the San Juan Unified School District in 2019 for $3.4 million, hoping to quickly turn the property around and sell it to a preferred developer in order to have more say in what the future use would be.

The city’s plan took a hit in 2020 when the pandemic struck and only one offer was received from a developer during an offering period. Some council members expressed disappointment in the lackluster plans for more housing instead of mixed-use commercial, but voted 4-1 to sell the property to Woodside Homes for $4.17 million, pending a due diligence period.

As part of the due diligence process, Phase I and Phase II environmental reports were conducted by Woodside Homes, uncovering soil contamination associated with the former middle school.

The city excavated and disposed of more than 62 tons of contaminated soil, according to an email statement to The Sentinel by Economic and Community Engagement Director Meghan Huber. The contamination resulted from the use of pesticides and caulking at the school, and was just above the threshold for residential development, she said.

*Correction: This article originally said 84 homes would be market-rate, but has been updated to correctly state 81 homes.

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)