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Folsom City Council hears proposal to build 4,000 new homes in undeveloped area

Proposal aims to bring 4,000 new homes to undeveloped area of Folsom
Proposal aims to bring 4,000 new homes to undeveloped area of Folsom 02:16

FOLSOM — Folsom city leaders got a look at a proposed new community that could help people live longer lives, but others say it will actually create more traffic jams and harm the environment.

The project would be located south of Folsom and Highway 50 and west of El Dorado Hills.

Green rolling hills in the area may one day become a new community designed specifically for seniors and people with developmental disabilities.

"We don't have anything like this in the world. That's what makes it such a unique project," said Bill Romanelli, spokesperson for ATK Development.

The proposal is being made by local developer Angelo Tsakopoulos on land located along the border between El Dorado County and eastern Sacramento County.

Folsom city leaders are being asked to consider annexing the land and providing public services. Plans call for building more than 4,000 new homes along with businesses, parks, and other community resources.

UC Davis Health is also a partner in the project and would build a clinic and medical research center there. They're looking at designing it as a "blue zone," which is a neighborhood that promotes healthy lifestyles for the growing senior population.

"The number of people over 55 in Sacramento went up 40%, and in El Dorado County, it went up closer to 60%," Romanelli said. "The gray wave is happening. It's here."

Many people have environmental concerns about building such a large development in a rural area.

"This project will increase traffic throughout the region," said Barbara Leary, chair of the Sacramento Sierra Club. "We have the 7th-worst air quality in the United States."

Leary said it creates more urban sprawl, eliminates wildlife habitat, and puts more stress on the local water supply.

"Residents of Folsom are very upset about a proposal that would essentially commit more water," she said.

She also says it will be isolating for the seniors who live there.

"I think the execution of it in that area is entirely wrong," Leary said.

Supporters say it will create a new type of community that will foster healthy living.

"This could set the model for how communities are developed in the future to help people live longer healthier lives," Romanelli said.

The Folsom City Council was hearing the proposal Tuesday night.

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