Migrant housing appeal withdrawn

No decision reached on fire company sign

By Rebecca Zemencik, Managing Editor • rebecca-z@citizenstandard.com

SACRAMENTO – A permit issued to Masser Farms Realty for the construction of a transient housing dormitory style unit for multiple families/persons at 132 Fearnot Road, Sacramento caused one woman to file an appeal, but when she realized she was alone, she decided to withdraw her appeal.
Ruth Herb of Sacramento filed the appeal after Dan Scheib, zoning officer issued a permit for the construction of a 120’x40’ two-unit migrant worker housing facility, which is a permitted accessory use in an agriculturally zoned area.
“I have no problem with Mr. Masser or his business,” said Herb, who didn’t have legal counsel present. “I appreciate all the jobs he provides for the people in our community and am amazed at his success. I appealed this because I have a lot of questions and concerns and I was told that others were also going to appeal it and be here who had questions and concerns.”

Herb said she never filed an official appeal, but submitted a hand-written note that she wanted to appeal the action. Jack Price, zoning board solicitor told Herb that she could withdraw her appeal if she so wished or she could move forward with it.
Zoning board alternates Andrew Schwalm and Lamar Erdman filled in at the hearing while zoning board members Lee Bixler, Donald Boyer and Bruce Smeltz were absent. Price was appointed by the board as a zoning hearing officer for the hearing.
Herb asked if David Masser and Julie Ballay, who were in attendance on behalf of Masser Farms Realty along with their solicitor James Diehl, would be willing to answer her questions.
Diehl said they would be willing to meet with her privately outside to answer her questions and concerns to determine if she wanted to withdraw her appeal.
The board took a five-minute break while Herb and her son, Kevin Herb, and the Masser parties spoke.
“I’ll speak with her. That’s fine,” Diehl said. “I do recognize the township and the board went through considerable inconvenience and expense, based upon an appeal to be filed and nothing was prepared to be presented at this point and time. I think as a matter of good manners for the board, I’m willing to speak with the applicant at this point in time. However, if she has something to present I would welcome it, at any time.”
After the break, all parties came back inside and Herb announced that they answered all her questions and she would like to withdraw her appeal. Price asked her to sign her handwritten note stating that she was withdrawing her appeal.
The zoning hearing board also heard testimony regarding a variance for the Sacramento Community Fire Company to erect an illuminated sign where their existing sign stands.
Jeannette Greenhaus, who owns a business next door to the fire company, was the only person present who objected to the variance.
The fire company would like to erect a 3’x6’ digital display sign. Scheib said the permit request was filed June 20 and he denied it July 21, because illuminated signs over four-square feet are not permitted in the area which is zoned for business purposes.
Sacramento Fire Chief Ronald Radel spoke on the fire company’s behalf.
“The concept is great, but the execution is a concern,” said Greenhaus. “There are some real safety concerns. My main concern is visibility. There are people pulling out at Tracie’s Restaurant, and at our business, and that curve is quite dangerous. People drive where they look and a lit sign is going to be a distraction. If you have a lit, digital sign, you will have advertising on it, things on there that people need to read, they will be distracted by reading a sign.”
Greenhaus also inquired about the sign cost and where the sign was coming from. She asked if the money could be spend better on fire fighting equipment.
Radel said the cost is estimated at $7,300. He was unsure the name of the company where the sign would be coming from, but said he could get the information if needed. He said it would be a three-color sign and it could be used to post fire company events, emergency messages, etc.
Radel said the fire company has some money raised for the sign and he said they are also hoping to generate funds by corporate sponsors. Radel said it was undetermined if the sign would be illuminated 24-hours a day.
Radel said he can get more information as well as an artist rendering of the sign. He said he believes Gene Lettich, another member of the fire company may have the information but he wasn’t available to attend the meeting.
“I suggest we adjourn the hearing and hold the record open without making a decision about the sign this evening,” said Price. “There have been legitimate issues and concerns raised and more information must be gathered. Erdman and Schwalm approved the adjournment. The board has 45 days from September 15, unless another hearing is held in the meantime, to render a decision.

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