BY DALE KASLER
Updated January 18, 2017 08:51 AM
Placer Vineyards, a massive residential and commercial development that’s been on the drawing boards in western Placer County for more than a decade, has received its final approval.
Construction on roads and other infrastructure could begin in 2018 on the 5,200-acre project, which could include more than 14,000 homes when it’s finished.
The project received its regional general permit last week from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, clearing the way for road construction, project spokesman Doug Elmets said Tuesday.
“This is a real key milestone,” Elmets said. “This is it.” The project is being developed by 20 landowners and managed by The MacDiarmid Co. of Roseville.
Placer Vineyards would be built in the southwest corner of the county, on land adjacent to Sutter and Sacramento counties. It was approved by Placer County supervisors in 2007 but quickly came under attack from three separate environmental impact lawsuits, including one filed by Sutter County over the effect on traffic.
The project also was delayed by the collapse in the housing market, which has slowly been recovering.
County Supervisor Jack Duran, whose district includes the Vineyards land, said the lawsuits have been settled. He noted that the economic climate has brightened, too.
“It’s been a long process,” Duran said.
Project developers have agreed to permanently set aside at least 6,000 acres of open space and farmland. They’ve also agreed to participate, with owners of other developments in the vicinity, in a traffic-mitigation fee program that is designed to pay for as much as $1 billion worth of road-widening projects and other improvements in Placer, Sutter and Sacramento counties, said Ken Grehm, Placer’s public works director.