KXJZ file photos/Ben Adler
Should Sacramento continue to allow new residential development in Natomas? Federal officials says the flood risk is so high that they’re barring all new growth from December until the levees are fixed. The two Sacramento mayoral candidates disagree.
On Monday, KXJZ reported that Sacramento city manager Ray Kerridge wants the city to keep approving Natomas building permits right up until the federal government’s December 8th deadline. That’s because new development equals new revenue – and financially-strapped Sacramento desperately needs all the money it can get.
Former NBA star Kevin Johnson, who faces Mayor Heather Fargo in a November runoff, agrees with Kerridge – as long as the flood risk is clear to developers and residents.
Johnson: “I think you should be able to do anything that’s allowed to happen in the Natomas area up until the deadline. You shouldn’t have to stop things before a deadline if people are still saying it’s OK to do certain things. So if the deadline that we’re all operating with is a December deadline, then to me that’s the time that things need to stop.”
Fargo has strongly criticized the federal government for halting the city’s growth. But she says she has not been encouraging development in Natomas. She says she favors letting commercial and public safety projects go through. But she says she opposes new residential building.
Fargo: “I have reminded staff several times that this is not a race. We are not trying to issue as many permits as we can before December 8th. There is public safety at risk here, and we want to make sure we are being responsible.”
Still, only the City Council has the power to halt all new building in Natomas – or any other part of the city. Since the feds first announced their intention to cut off growth back in January, Sacramento officials have issued several hundred new building permits in Natomas. The City Council has not tried to stop any of them.