The following comes from a December 10 editorial in the Sacramento Bee.

On Wednesday, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors is poised to vote on allowing the controversial Cordova Hills development to proceed.

The vote is premature. It is based on an irredeemably flawed environmental impact report.

The county planning staff is recommending that the board expand its urban growth boundary to include the 2,366-acre Cordova Hills site; rezone that land from agricultural to residential, commercial and office uses; and, finally, that it certify the project’s environmental impact report as adequate and complete. Their recommendations are predicated on the long-discredited assumption that a university will be built on the site.

Early in the planning process, the Legion of Christ, a Catholic institution, announced plans to build the University of Sacramento, a 224- acre campus, at Cordova Hills. But the university has withdrawn from the project and developers have not identified another university willing to locate there.

All of the environmental analysis was done with the assumption that a university would be built. It was assumed that many of the people who moved to new houses in Cordova Hills would work at the university, thus reducing the amount of driving and greenhouse gas emissions. It was assumed many students and university employees would bicycle to and around the campus or use public transportation. Population densities would be boosted based on students living in dormitories.

The absence of a university changes all those assumptions. Sacramento Air Quality Management District officials stated the problem succinctly in a letter to county supervisors delivered last week.

“Since there is a strong likelihood that the university will not be built, and consequently that the air quality analysis underestimates likely emission levels, the EIR understates the severity of air quality impacts.”

To read entire editorial, click here.