ELK GROVE (CBS13) — Businesses in an Elk Grove shopping center are worried they may be forced to shut down and homeowners are outraged at a hospital expansion that could mean a big change in their neighborhood.
“We don’t want it so close to homes, so close to schools, we don’t want the congestion, the traffic,” said Melinda Robinson with Neighbors Ensuring Stonelake Transparency (NEST). “We don’t want a helicopter flying above us.”
Tucked away between Elk Grove Blvd and Interstate 5 is California Northstate University (CNU), a small medical school with a few hundred students. In December, the school announced plans to expand and add new parking structures, dormitories and a new hospital. The city says the 10-story hospital would bring would 1,400 jobs to Elk Grove.
But people in the Stonelake community say they don’t want the medical center on their street and want the city should come up with an alternative.
“Traffic, noise, congestion!” Robinson said. “It’s going to change the entire landscape of this side of the city! We have results transformation, we have a church, we have India Kitchen, we have a liquor store.”
Altogether, she says 15 businesses would have to close their doors. But the city says it’s more like six or seven businesses. One of them is Dreaming Dog Brewery.
“We’re the very first ones that will have to leave,” said David Brown.
Brown told CBS13 the company that owns California Northstate University also owns several buildings in the shopping center, which puts his lease in limbo.
“In the end, I feel like they want us to be successful so we’ll continue paying rent until they’re ready to build their building,” he said.
“I mean we’re not here to take a side one way or the other,” said Councilmember Darren Suen.
But Suen does plan to bring both sides to the table to talk.
“I want to see the businesses stay or at least be able to be relocated,” Suen said.
CNU president Alvin Cheung told city leaders back on January 9, he’s working with businesses.
“And we are meeting with them almost daily since our announcement,” Cheung said.
But since CNU’s expansion news on Dec. 20, Brown said he only got one call from a university attorney.
“I have not had one conversation with them since!” he told CBS13. “I have no idea what their plan is at this point in time.”
The city said it is going to take at least a year for the environmental impact report to be completed and for the council to even approve the plans. Suen is hoping to hold a community meeting on Feb 22.
CBS13 reached out to CNU but they declined to comment.