Gateway West Project Headed to City Council

Image of rendering of proposed project which shows drive-thru Starbucks.

Gateway West project rendering by Calpo Hom & Dong Architects.

The Sacramento City Council has rescheduled the Gateway West Commercial project public hearing to Dec. 1 at the request of Councilmember Angelique Ashby, who was not able to attend the Nov. 17 meeting for personal reasons.

BY BRANDY TUZON BOYD
THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Updated 5:13 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2020

The Sacramento City Council will hold a public hearing on Tuesday for a project proposed at the northeast corner of Arena Boulevard and Duckhorn Drive in Natomas.

If approved by city council, the Gateway West Commercial project would include a gas station, two drive-thru restaurants, space for retail or restaurant tenants and, later, a hotel.

The project developer says it already has Chevron, Starbucks (with a drive-thru) and Burger King on board.

First proposed in September 2017, the proposed plan for the site has been revised 10 times based on input from city planning staff, Natomas community groups as well as many residents who live in the vicinity of the project site. All revisions have included a gas station and hotel and earlier versions had the gas station on the corner of Arena Boulevard and Duckhorn Drive.

Current zoning of the site allows for development of a restaurant, hotel and gas station, according to city staff. If approved, the rezoning would allow the two drive thrus and sales of alcohol and tobacco for offsite consumption.

On Sept. 10 the Sacramento Planning and Design Commission voted 8-2 to move the project forward — overruling a recommendation by city staff to deny the developer’s application.

Senior planner Teresa Haenggi told commissioners at the time that the project had been controversial since it was first proposed. Even with the changes made over the years, she said the project was “tricky” and not consistent with the North Natomas Community Plan.

“It feels like somebody put their thumb on this project and there were changes that had to be made for non substantive reasons,” commissioner Todd Kaufman responded. “It’s really important to me to look for applicants to be successful. This does not seem to be a good example of that.”

The Planning and Design Commission’s vote met with some criticism after people opposed to the proposal said they attempted to call in and make public comment, but could not get through.

During public comment five callers spoke in favor of the project citing the need for more gas stations west of Interstate 5 as well as challenges navigating traffic at the Aisle 1 gas station across the street from the Gateway West Commercial project site.

After the vote, six callers were patched through to the Planning and Design Commission on different agenda items who said they had tried unsuccessfully, some for hours, to comment against the project.

Commissioner Lynn Lenzi, who represents North Natomas, asked at the time whether another public hearing could be held for callers who did not get through.

“Unfortunately, at this stage, the hearing has happened and closed,” city attorney Kourtney Burdick told commissioners. “The callers’ recourse is to get to the City Council (meeting).”

The City Manager’s office later confirmed Burdick’s assessment and issued the following statement:

“After a thorough analysis by the city’s IT Department of the technical problems that occurred at the Planning and Design Commission meeting, Community Development Department staff consulted with the City Attorney’s Office regarding whether the identified technical issues required the matter to be reheard by the (Planning and Design Commission). It was determined that there was no legal requirement triggered for a re-hearing, and the item would move forward to be heard by the City Council. The recommendation was also to include an explanation of all the identified technical problems so that the City Council would be fully aware.”

Despite the Planning and Design Commission’s vote in favor of approving the Gateway West Commercial project, city staff is asking councilmembers to deny the application because “it does not meet the goals of the 1994 North Natomas Community plan and the 2035 General Plan related to neighborhood compatibility and intensity of land uses.”

The Sacramento City Council is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17. The Gateway West Commercial project public hearing is No. 16 on the agenda.


• To watch the Sacramento City Council meeting, view the agenda and download the staff report for the Gateway West Commercial project go to http://sacramento.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=21.
• To comment during the public hearing, call (916) 808-7213 and dial 2 to make a comment on item No. 16.

The project applicant seeks:
1) Rezone of 3.69-acres from Employment Center (EC-50-PUD) to the General Commercial (C-2-PUD) zone;
2) Planned Unit Development Schematic Plan Amendment showing a gas station and hotel;
3) Conditional Use Permit for a) two drive-through restaurants; b) a gas station in the C-2-PUD zone; c) alcohol sales; and d) tobacco retailing;
4) Tree permit to remove 23 City trees; and
5) Site Plan and Design Review with a setback deviation on Parcel 1 and for the construction of an 8-pump gas station and carwash with a 6,310 square foot convenience market and attached drive-through restaurant and 12,240 square feet of commercial space comprised of three buildings, including a drive-through restaurant.

Gateway West project rendering by Calpo Hom & Dong Architects.

Gateway West project rendering by Calpo Hom & Dong Architects.

Gateway West project rendering by Calpo Hom & Dong Architects.

Gateway West project rendering by Calpo Hom & Dong Architects.

Gateway West project rendering by Calpo Hom & Dong Architects.

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