A win for the people of Curtis Park

Curtis Park is south of Downtown Sacramento and west of Highway 99.
Is one of the more popular neighborhoods in city.  Within its boundaries you can find the very popular Gunther’s Ice Cream store and Freeport Bakery.

Earlier this year, Redfin a Seattle based Real Estate Company added Curtis Park to its top ten list of the nations most desired neighborhood in the United States.

The Developer vs The People of Curtis Park

On the southwest corner of Curtis Park near Sacramento City College lies 72 acres, the former site of the Western Pacific Railyard . For decades the lay abandon.  After years of chemical use in the yard, the land required considerable clean up .

In 2003, the land was purchased by the Petrovich Development company.  The company spent 35 million dollars cleaning up the toxic site. The community wanted the new development to compliment the existing homes in the area.   The developers initial offering in this large infill project,resembled homes and shopping found in the suburbs.

Citizens led by the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association rejected early plans of the project.  Many believe the project was too large.  Others questioned the developers solution for water run off.   Several changes to the project including reducing the size of parks and other public spaces brought the developers overall credibility and commitment to the neighborhood into question.

For some residents, the city seemed give Petrovich everything they wanted.  The issue that galvanized this  community where the plans for Safeway.  Many community leaders said they knew a Grocery Store was going to be in the center,what they didn’t know was a Gas Station was part of that plan.   Petrovich said, Safeway would not build a store without a fuel center and no other major Grocery Chain is currently interested in the development.

Many people  believe the Gas Station (open 24 hours) would bring more traffic to this quiet neighborhood. The only Safeway with a Gas Station in Sacramento is in the North Natomas neighborhood.

A few hours before the meeting, Paul Petrovich told reporters “he was entitled to a gas station in his Curtis Park Village development after spending $35 million cleaning up the former toxic railyard”  

In front of a pack chamber, filled with Curtis Park residence.   Petrovich, addressing the City Council, said he called his 2010 deal with the city  in which he paid for the toxic cleanup and other improvements in exchange for development rights – the “grand bargain.”

Part of that bargain included the shopping center, and while he admitted the plan didn’t include a gas station until this year ,it was perfectly legitimate for the planned Safeway grocery store at the site to have a gas station.  He was exerting its right under the grand bargain.

Last night the vote was 7-2 against the service station and a win for the citizens of Curtis Park. 

Nearly 20 years ago, the council approved a Shopping Center with a Safeway in North Natomas with a gas station. Safeway said, they would not build without a gas station.  Which meant a change in the community plan.  The original plan ,drafted by the Natomas Community Association was for North Natomas to be a walkable neighborhood (Think East Sacramento) neighborhood with shops and business fronting the streets.