Sacramento Officials See Silver Lining in Growth Delays

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, October 22, 2007

Talk about looking on the bright side.  First it was FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, saying the Natomas levees no longer meet minimum standards.  Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo says that means that until the levees are fixed:
“Any development that would go forward has to be elevated by three feet.  So it in a sense, in some ways, is a semi-moratorium because of what it requires.”
And then, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have OK’d a series of complex property deals between the city and state.  The bill’s author is Democratic Assemblyman Dave Jones of Sacramento.  In a statement, he warned that two highly-touted downtown development projects – the Railyards and the Docks – would be set back.
But Sacramento Assistant City Manager Marty Hanneman doesn’t see it that way. 
“It’s really not gonna hurt us at this point.” 
Hanneman says the Railyards project won’t be delayed at all.  In fact, the city’s rushing the first phase through the approval process so it can qualify for state funds from all those bond measures voters passed last year.  The Docks will get slowed down a bit, as will Natomas developments, but Sacramento officials – including Fargo – aren’t exactly heartbroken.  After all, as Hanneman points out, the housing market right now isn’t what you'd call top-notch. 
“We’d rather have this happen – really not at all, but if it happens, it’s when the economy is really at a low, versus a high where everything would come to a halt.”
So to Hanneman and others, there’s a silver lining to the delays: Now, the city has time to get its levees shored up and figure out how to get ahold of those state properties.