Longtime developer says Measure Y supporters "blowing smoke"
One might say that Al Lindsey is familiar with the history of development on the west slope of El Dorado County.
Lindsey got into the real estate business in 1955, and was the developer who created El Dorado Hills – a subdivision of 150 properties on 11,000 acres which his company developed beginning in 1958.
Now 78 years old, Lindsey has considered retirement, but can’t resist the urge to, as he put it, “Get out and make a few deals.” He still works with his wife out of a small office in Sacramento, although many of his properties and holdings are in El Dorado County.
One of those properties is a two-acre parcel near the interchange of Missouri Flat Road and U.S. Highway 50 – adjacent to the spot where the proposed Sundance Plaza Shopping Center is scheduled to be built.
“I’m close to selling it, but I can’t close the deal,” said Lindsey, who says that the building permit moratorium connected to Measure Y litigation has stymied the sale. “It’s like that for many real estate people and developers these days. Measure Y has brought everything to a standstill.”
Measure Y is the initiative passed by voters in November, which mandates that developers fully account for all costs connected to their projects. Even though the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors approved the Missouri Flat Area Master Plan in December (six commercial development projects), two lawsuits filed by Measure Y proponents are holding up any construction.
Proponents of Measure Y are concerned that increased traffic connected with large development projects in El Dorado County will cause road congestion, and lower the quality of life in the rural foothills.
But for Lindsey, that line of thinking doesn’t make sense.
“I’m not a part of all the politics that went into this,” said Lindsey, who raised two daughters in El Dorado County. “I’m just kind of on the outside, looking in. But I think that the people made a mistake when they voted in Measure Y.
“As it is now, all of our tax dollars are going to Sacramento County, where people go to shop. We need shopping here, because that’s where the tax revenue is going to come from. I don’t understand why people can’t see that.”
Lindsey admits that projects such as the proposed Sundance Plaza Shopping Center would indeed create more traffic. But he also contends that such projects would pay for road improvements through tax revenue.
“They say that developers need to pay as we go, but we’ve been doing that all along,” Lindsey said. “Not too long ago I bought a building permit that cost me $16,000. When a subdivision goes up, it’s the developers who put in the schools. And school taxes pay for roads. The Measure Y people are blowing smoke.”
Lindsey was involved in creating El Dorado Hills at about the same time that Larry Cameron staked out about 5,000 acres for Cameron Park. With those projects came schools, parks, drainage, sewer systems and roads.
“Without the developers taking raw ground and doing something with it, where the devil would people live?” Lindsey asked. “Do you close the county? It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Lindsey contends that the Measure Y people just want the developers to pay for all of the roads, even the ones they won’t be using.
“It’s human nature, I guess,” he said. “Everyone wants everyone else to pay. But the way it is now, nothing is getting done.
“But I’m just sitting back and waiting for something to happen. What else can you do?”
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