Auburn Recreation District on collision course with Placer County over developer fees

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn Recreation District is wading into a wrangle with Placer County over $150,000 in developer fees. The first blast coming the county way occurred at a Planning Commission meeting two weeks ago when district board member Gordy Ainsleigh stated that funding was being taken away to pay for the county’s Hidden Creek Regional Park expansion. The second round of public criticism could come today when the North Auburn Municipal Advisory Council takes up a Parks Division staff request to commit $150,000 in park dedication fees to the Hidden Falls project. Scott Holbrook, an ARD board member, has sent out an e-mail blast suggesting the Parks Division proposal “stinks of bad politics.” Saying that his e-mail represents his own opinions and not those of the board, Holbrook is calling on recreation district supporters to attend the advisory council meeting to oppose what he says is the rubber-stamping of the request. That has led to a meeting between Holbrook, Auburn-area Supervisor Jim Holmes and county Facility Services Department staff scheduled for late Monday. Holmes said that he was “curious” why Holbrook, who seemed to be acting “unilaterally,” was sending out the e-mail when he was also scheduled to go into a meeting with county officials. “He’s under the conception that the they are ARD funds,” Holmes said. “But they’re funds dispensed by the county. We’ve always been able to meet the district’s needs as long as the nexus was there.” Holbrook said in the e-mail that the Hidden Falls funding would put park dedication fees meant for improvements in the county’s District 5 into a project just outside the district that would benefit residents of other areas. District 5 includes parts of Meadow Vista and Auburn that are within recreation district boundaries. “Let Jim Holmes and Jennifer Montgomery (county supervisors who both have appointees on the council) know how you feel,” Holbrook said. “Hidden Falls is a wonderful place and a great idea if it can be properly funded but it should not come at the expense of District 5 residents.” The meeting takes place starting at 7 p.m. today in the Planning Commission Chambers of the Community Resource Development Agency Building, 3091 County Center Drive, North Auburn.