Reader Input: For-profit community centers deceive

-A +A

Rural Placer residents: Are your neighborhoods dull and peaceful? Do you crave more noise, traffic, pollution, crowds and rowdy drunkenness in your lives? You may be in luck!
As Randall Cleveland reveals (“Farm/ag operators want it both ways,” Reader Input, Feb. 15), a vaguely worded definition in the county code is prompting developers to apply for permits to construct private event centers in rural Placer County under the “community center” designation.
These are not what everyone thinks of as community centers — polling places or meeting halls for the 4H Club. These operations are entertainment venues for weddings, receptions, retreats, parties and dinners; in other words indistinguishable from restaurants, bars and dance halls. There are three active applications and the first (Wise Villa Winery Community Center) has been appealed to the (Placer County) Board of Supervisors and will be heard (tentatively) on Feb. 26. Another (Gold Hill Gardens Community Center) will be reviewed by the Ag Commission on March 11.
There is nothing in the Placer County Code limiting the size, number of guests, hours of operation, days of operation, permitted activities or location or density of these facilities. “Community centers” are permitted in the farm zone and in all residential zones of unincorporated Placer County. Because of this lack of regulatory code, once even one of these bogus “community centers” is allowed, it becomes very difficult to find legitimate grounds to deny future applications, no matter how outrageous or incompatible with surrounding land uses.
We of Save Placer Farmlands believe pretending these for-profit event centers are “community centers” is false and deceptive.
The presence of what are essentially roadhouses in quiet rural areas is tremendously disruptive and destabilizing to the surrounding rural properties, including farms and ranches. The costs of damage to rural roads, increased need for sheriff patrols and ambulance calls from drunken drivers (alcohol is a prominent feature of all the events), and need for more county code enforcement to deal with the general nuisance potential of these facilities will be borne by all Placer County taxpayers.
Join us in petitioning the board of supervisors to halt all applications for for-profit “community centers” until the code definitions can be corrected and standards for the location and operation of these facilities can be established.
Carol Rubin, Newcastle,