City Council Makes Decision about Bridge DesignNov 25, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Michele Townsend
WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The City of West Sacramento and the City of Sacramento held a community meeting on Monday, November 14, 2022, at the City Hall Galleria to discuss updated plans for the I Street Bridge Replacement Project. The West Sacramento News Ledger recently brought you the story of a family that was looking at the very real possibility of losing their home and land due to the project. A home that has been in their family for generations, and one that is very historically significant to the community.
Mike Sanchez was alerted by a neighbor that works for the City of Sacramento, according to a map that Sacramento had posted online, that his house was scheduled to be destroyed to make way for an alley way to access the land near the West Sacramento side of the upcoming I Street Bridge. He frantically went to both cities looking for answers and clarification.
Mike was essentially told that these plan designs had already been decided and that there was nothing that he could do to change what was coming. He was also told that he had his chance to speak on the topic and design on past occasions during several advertised community meetings. The problem was that even though the family got general invites from the City to attend community meetings, these notifications/invitations never mentioned anything indicating that there was a possibility of these plans affecting their family home or land. Therefore, they had no way of knowing how important it was that they be included. The family was never individually notified. Mike and his family have since learned that the City cannot legally notify individuals in this position until the project is in the stage in which the easement process has begun. At that point, it really is too late.
The Sanchez family is a fairly good-sized family and family members from throughout the community attended City Council meetings and recent Community meetings to express their resistance of giving up the family home. With the extensive list of reasons why this house should not be taken or destroyed, the Sanchez family began gathering signatures, making phone calls, meeting with city officials and emailing City Council about their concerns.
At first, they felt shuffled to the side and unheard. However, they began to build a team of supporters from throughout the city and county. Suddenly, meetings that were planned for discussion next year, got moved up to be included in the next City Council meeting. The Mayor and some of the City Councilmembers toured the area to see what the uproar was about.
Jason McCoy, MST, AICP, Transportation and Mobility Division Manager at City of West Sacramento, in the Community Development Department got involved. As supervising transportation planner, Jason McCoy performs a variety of managerial, professional and technical works to strategically recommend, pursue, and implement programs related to the City Council’s transportation and mobility policy goals.
Jason quickly began to design an alternate design to achieve the goals of the original design, but in a way that people in the area would not lose their homes. It was this revised plan that was the topic of Monday’s meeting. The room was full and the presentation short, but the new plan made everyone that has been working so hard to save the Sanchez home breathe a sigh of relief. The final decision wasn’t actually made until Wednesday’s City Council meeting when the Council voted to accept the new plan design.
“The City listened to concerns of property owners and we’re happy the new design will have minimal impact on homes in the neighborhood,” said Paul Hosley, Public Information Officer for the City of West Sacramento. Mayor Guerrero even introduced Mike Sanchez at Wednesday’s meeting and asked him to step up as a special guest and lead the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance to start off the public portion of the Council meeting.
“My family and I were excited to see an alternate plan. It has brought us much peace and relief to know our home and history are safe to continue on. We are grateful to the City Council and staff for hearing our concerns and working hard to implement change,” said Mike Sanchez. He continued with “We are also grateful to the West Sacramento community who sprang into action to lend us support. Moving forward, I hope the West Sacramento City government carefully considers alternatives to occupied homes for future development. This is a small town, we have to look out for each other and value our historic locations and families.”