El Dorado Hills, once on track to be one of America’s best towns, still has an opportunity to lead the movement toward more thoughtful development. But, if we can’t influence a different mindset from the one currently in place, plans for development will turn this town into another uninspired Californian suburb: a visionless sprawl without clear delineation or people-friendly connections between spaces. 

Our community must demand thoughtful growth from all developers. Current plans to locate a Costco—or any generic enterprise—on the land parcel flanking Silva Valley Parkway, known as EDH 52, has no consideration for its residents or vision for this community. El Dorado Hills must preserve, not destroy, the beauty that initially drew us all here. It is imperative to create a more inspired, prolific vision for this whole town.

Status quo ideas and ideals threaten to destroy the possibilities—lost forever.

Shape the Community with Purpose

Like so many families, we moved to El Dorado Hills years ago with the impression that a consistent direction and standard for development were upheld. Quality and open spaces were valued. Architecture evoked character and charm. Beauty and respect for the environment were evident. With so much potential for greatness, it saddens me to see what is about to happen to this town, and our neighborhood right next to EDH 52.

There’s a better way, regardless of what has already been done or been planned. El Dorado Hills has a great opportunity to develop responsibly—respectful of the environment and the people who now live here. Developers have an opportunity to create a new vision—set a new standard for community development—one that complements the setting. We all have an obligation to prevent neighborhood decline and further congestion on Silva Valley—the roadway connecting four schools with our neighborhoods.

Road traffic needs slowed onto the main arteries through residential zones. Speed increases when we cater to mass-market centers intended for vehicles. Large intersection crosswalks have become treacherous, particularly for children. This community craves interconnecting bike paths and walking trails to provide safe access to schools, stores and restaurants, designated away from traffic, and with secure passage under or over wide roadways.

I’m all for creative, quality growth and development, but the people at the helm seem to be driving solutions toward careless mediocrity. We can’t allow current zoning and planning, which lack innovation and vision, to determine our future and devalue our neighborhoods. This will not only drive away the quality, but the people who have called this place home.

We need to gather more creative, innovative minds to come up with alternative uses for, not just this property, but all of El Dorado Hills. We want welcoming places that protect the setting and enhance this community. We can do all this while boosting the local economy.

Enhance Future Development

The currently disjointed zoning lacks vision. Perhaps in the works for decades, outdated county and developer decisions, particularly for the EDH 52 site, have not evolved away from unimaginative solutions. Aside from not considering existing residents, decision makers don’t see the future of development and design—movement away from stale, outdated, windowless box stores, strip malls, and office complexes, no one wants in their backyard.

Sterile, lifeless spaces lacking any sense of humanity will be obsolete. People want to enjoy life in connected spaces formed where lines are blurred between residential and commercial, leisure and business, indoor and outdoor. Society is drawn to relaxed, indoor environments with windows directly connecting them to open air spaces and natural outdoor elements.

Some are missing the point. Some think this is purely about aesthetics, individual property values, or our hillside that the proposed development plans to level. The triggering issue is much bigger. Many are too busy pushing their agendas, justifying their positions, and being motivated by bottom-lines over doing what’s right.

Don’t miss the point—or the opportunity. Be part of the vision. Every footprint of development creates a legacy. It would be a tragedy to squander an opportunity, and a moral obligation, to contribute something more imaginative and beneficial for this community. 

2 Comments

  1. We agree and we love Costco but this is the wrong location. Next to an elementary school on two lane roads with no shoulders. Mike

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  2. Well put. Many areas have set development standards to preserve charm, reduce congestion and sprawl, and control the look and feel of their home. San Luis Obispo has a sign height ordinance, Pismo will not allow big box or drove-thrus, even In-n-out and Starbucks were not allowed drive-thru locations, Mission Viejo, requires all gas station to have mission-style architecture, landscaping enhance the look of a station, and pumps shall not face the street—they must face inward, so they are not visible from the street. Sprawl remains the challenge in most counties, as officials want the retail tax, jobs, and local investment. That can happen here, IF the location is south of 50 where the largest population of potential shoppers are and are going to be. If Costco wants the business, let them locate where the design will be. The vast majority of their locations are not visible from the highway.

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