SACRAMENTO — The once-controversial, now-grumblingly accepted Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act is being given a large-scale tryout in California's capital with development of the nearly 4,000-acre Laguna Creek project.
The mostly residential development--which will include a 500-acre business park, eight school sites, three shopping centers and two fire stations--is expected to eventually house 25,000 residents.
Major home builders who have begun construction are Elliott Homes (over 500 single-family houses are planned), Winncrest Homes (688 units, not all of which will be single-family), Southwood (195), Laguna Creek Homes (198), Carson Homes (188) and Contec Development Corp. (57).
Grazing Land Site
Situated on grazing land that contains a nearly 1,300-acre flood plain, Laguna Creek is expected to transform one of Sacramento's few remaining rural landscapes into a bedroom community with parkways, bike paths, horse trails and more than 100 acres of parks.
Kirk Bone, the 31-year-old project manager for AKT Development Corp., the major developer, estimates that infrastructure will cost about $42 million. Work will be financed through Mello-Roos in an agreement that AKT worked out with Sacramento County and area property owners. Bone says that "to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time Mello-Roos has been used in this county since it was passed (in 1982)."
Mello-Roos removes some of the infrastructure financing problems from developers' shoulders, permitting the establishment of a special tax district to raise funds. Bonds are issued, just as is done in a conventional assessment district, but that's where the similarity ends, since in a Mello-Roos district, developers need not obtain approval of a majority of residents.
Fifteen miles from downtown Sacramento, Laguna Creek has easy access to California 99 and is within minutes of Interstates 5 and 80 and California 50.
Road improvements--other than the six-lane, $7-million throughway expected to reach completion this fall--will take six years to finish, Bone says, "but we're moving fast now, and I don't think there's going to be a lot of dust here for long."