Magnolia Ranch project met with residents' skepticism
Concerns over traffic, water, drainage, proximity to Beale Air Force Base, and even one's view of passing birds were among the concerns raised at a meeting Monday for the Magnolia Ranch project in Yuba County.
But many of the concerns could've been summarized by what Ernie Ehnisz, a farmer near the project site, brought up: "If we wanted to live in the city, we would've moved to the city."
Ehnisz and about two dozen other residents who live near South Beale Road, where the project would be, raised several issues over development in an agricultural area and expressed frustration that county planners and environmental consultants didn't immediately have answers.
"What I'm saying is, this is a railroad going one way," said Frances Hofman, who farms near the project site. She said Beale gained the right in the 1950s to close South Beale Road for any reason, and it wasn't clear whether that right still existed.
The meeting was to flesh out issues interested parties want to see addressed in an environmental impact report for Magnolia Ranch, a project of up to 3,200 homes as well as commercial and business centers, recreation areas and other features.
Yuba County planning director Wendy Hartman said the environmental impact report and a project draft plan, which would have more specifics on the project, would be several months away from public dissemination.
"This is just the first step, and the first step is to find out what the concerns are on this project," she said.
In addition to Monday's meeting, participants can suggest issues to study in the environmental impact report through March 8, by submitting comments to the county's Planning Department.
An official with Magnolia Ranch said when the project may see construction would largely depend on economic factors, but didn't anticipate all the necessary approvals being completed until early next year at the soonest.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at email@example.com or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.