Gateway El Dorado is a massive Industrial Wholesale Distribution complex in the El Dorado Hills Business Park by PacTrust, a commercial real estate owner and developer headquartered in Portland Oregon (Property Details: Gateway El Dorado, Latrobe Road & Golden Foothill Parkway, El Dorado Hills, CA – PacTrust). The potential scope and scale of this e-commerce distribution project eclipses that of Project Frontier and threatens to bring far more trucks, traffic, and pollution than even the worst-case scenario of an Amazon distribution center!
The first phase of this project by Pacific Realty Associates (Pacific Realty Associates, L.P. | Better Business Bureau® Profile (bbb.org)) includes the Tractor Supply Company just north of the Latrobe Rd/Golden Foothills Pkwy intersection. The adjacent property has pending business permits for three adjacent commercial/retail buildings including two drive through restaurant facilities (GATEWAY – SITE IMPROVEMENTS FOR BLDGS 0361780 & 0361781 Project 0362070 – El Dorado Hills Area Planning Advisory Committee (edhapac.org)). And adjacent to west of that, the property being graded at Golden Foothill Pkwy and Carson Crossing Dr. is preparing for two buildings totaling 149,000 square feet with a total of 42 loading docks (EDC Building Permit 367354). Including an additional vacant parcel just across Carson Crossing Dr, the total acreage of this phase is just under 34 acres.
The second phase is pending approval of the Carson Creek R&D proposal (Carson Creek R&D Project P22-0009 – El Dorado Hills Area Planning Advisory Committee (edhapac.org)) to subdivide 4 parcels total 64 acres into 16 parcels (2 open space/roads and 14 buildings) and continue Carson Crossing Dr to intersect with Latrobe Rd at the entrance to the EID water treatment facility. While there are little public details available, the AQMD waiver and the developer’s provided Trip Generation Estimates are red flags.
Looking at the two Industrial Wholesale Distribution buildings in the first phase of this massive development, the potential impacts are alarming. The ratio of gross floor area of 149,000 square feet to 42 loading docks (far greater than the Project Frontier ratio of 4.8 million square feet to 155 loading docks) indicates a very high turnover of inventory generating a very high level of truck traffic. This traffic will be forced onto two paths, one east to the already jammed Golden Foothill Pkwy/Latrobe Rd intersection and north to Hwy 50, and other south on the residential collector Carson Crossing Rd. to White Rock Rd, an already perilous and accident-prone intersection.
The applicant provided Trip Generation Charts for the second phase of Gateway El Dorado indicate 3700 daily trips with 374 occurring in the peak AM and PM rush hour. However, if the Industrial Wholesale Distribution buildings totaling 1.1 million square feet are similar to those of the two first phase buildings, the total loading docks are potentially 310… DOUBLE THE SIZE OF PROJECT FRONTIER! Yet the traffic must follow the same paths to either Hwy 50 or White Rock Rd.
In the EDH Community Council Meeting Monday, February 5, 2023 (El Dorado Hills APAC Meeting (youtube.com)), we heard Supervisor Hidahl mention that in connection with the AKTsakapoulos/UC Davis proposed Community for Health and Independence (PA23-0015 Community for Health and Independence – El Dorado Hills Area Planning Advisory Committee (edhapac.org)), there was a meeting earlier that day to discuss traffic circulation with developers and landowners in that area. While that may well shift traffic away from Latrobe Rd/Hwy 50, it will face many years of intense scrutiny and hurdles as general plan amendments, rezoning, and EIR studies will be required in El Dorado and Sacramento Counties as well as the City of Folsom.
In the aftermath of Project Frontier, the EDC Planning Director issued a “Director’s Interpretation” (https://www.edcgov.us/Government/planning/Documents/BOS%20Memo-Directors%20Interpretation-Ind_R-D%20Zones-FINAL.pdf) on June 12, 2023, interpreting the Zoning Ordinance – Section 130.23 – Industrial and Research and Development Zones with the following words:
Section 130.20.030. of the County Zoning Code authorizes the Planning and Building Director to determine if a use not already listed in the Zoning Code is allowable and if so, what the use type is for determining proper zoning. The Planning and Building Director has determined that fulfillment centers, heavy distribution and parcel hub uses shall be classified as the Industrial – Specialized use type.
This interpretation predated the application for the grading permits issued for the two Industrial Wholesale Distribution building in first phase of the Gateway El Dorado project by two months! The scope and scale of the building CLEARLY meets any rational description of Heavy Distribution, so why did EDC Building Services even consider the grading permit for these buildings? And why is the second phase of this massive e-commerce distribution project, subdividing the parcels, still pending approval by EDC Planning Services?