Roseville, Calif.- With the second most educated population in the state and a job growth rate double the rest of the region, Southern Placer County is a job center just waiting to happen.
Sitting in the middle of that area is 8,000-plus acres of unincorporated Placer County land that is on the cusp of a long-envisioned transformation.
Currently known as the Sunset Industrial area, Placer County is in the midst of updating the Sunset Area Plan, a document that will guide the county’s long-term vision for the area, which is west of Highway 65 and surrounded by the cities of Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln.
Through the plan update, Placer County is taking a fresh look at an area that has long been identified as the economic job center for Placer County and the surrounding region. A recently completed economic market analysis shows that, in addition to industrial uses, the area is also suited to accommodate a mix of business clusters that could provide jobs for the highly skilled labor force that lives in the surrounding area.
A public workshop, held Nov. 19 in Roseville, was attended by more than 75 people who listened to presentations on the update and had an opportunity to voice comments and concerns about the direction of the Sunset Area Plan.
“The Sunset Area has the potential to support an expanded economic base and better use the large labor force in the region, of which two-thirds commutes outside the county for employment,” said Sheri Conway, a senior county planner leading the area plan update.
Conway also noted that the Sunset Area does present challenges for development, such as flood hazards, odors from area businesses and infrastructure limitations that will need to be addressed as the plan moves forward.
The creation of jobs will come from re-envisioning, re-branding and developing an area that will be home to universities, advanced manufacturing, agriculture and food, clean energy technology, life sciences and health services, as well as recreation and tourism.
Market analysis shows that there are currently more homes than jobs in the region, which has created a fertile environment for potential job creation.
At the workshop, county staff heard from community members about the effects of traffic and the preservation of open space. Discussions of traffic impacts led to a detailed explanation of the plan to build the Placer Parkway, which will eventually become a new route connecting Highway 99 and Highway 65. Construction on this project is expected to start in the Sunset Area in 2017. Additionally, the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency is working on plans to improve traffic congestion at the Highway 65/Interstate 80 interchange.
In response to the public inquiries about open space, county staff discussed the Placer County Conservation Plan, which will permanently preserve up to 47,000 acres in Western Placer County. Some of that preserved land will be in the Sunset Area.
Sunset Area Plan maps, displays and documents were also made available to workshop attendees. Staff spoke individually with community members, answering questions and clarifying plan elements.