Friday, March 4, 2011

Crows Landing Developer to Seek Additional Time

The developer behind the Central Valley’s Crows Landing development has revealed sizable changes to the scope of the project just days before he is set to request a 15-month extension on the project from county officials.

Projected train traffic will be cut be more than 60 percent and the total size of the development has been shaved by more than 40 percent project developer Gerry Kamalos told the editors of the Sacramento Bee this week.

As the head of PCCP West Park LLC, Kamalos has been fighting for more than three years to get the Crows Landing project to the construction phase.

PCCP’s original plan sought to remake the Crows Landing Naval Air Station into a 4,800-acre modern rail and industrial complex. A major component of the project was $52 million short-haul rail plan seeking to upgrade existing trackage along an 80-mile-long route running from Crows Landing to the Port of Oakland and back.

The rail component remains part of the project's first phase of construction and would likely take several years to complete. The original rail plan forecast for the completed complex to handle several 50-car trains or more per day via the proposed route between the Oakland port and the project site in Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Once the containers reach the Crows Landing complex, the plan envisioned the containers being loaded onto trucks for distribution throughout the Central Valley.

According to PCCP, Central Valley agricultural products and other regional products could be returned via the same rail line to the port for export.

Parts of the project have received heavy criticism from the local residents who worry about potential noise, congestion and pollution due to the complex's operations.

Kamalos addressed some of those concerns with the announcement of the scaled back version of the total plan.

The revised plan to be presented by Kamalos to Stanislaus County Supervisors on Tuesday calls for two trains a day instead of six and a reduction of the total project size from 4,800 acres to 2,800 acres.

Kamalos also told the paper that an 850-acre solar power facility is planned on some of the 2,000 acres not now included in the plan.

In addition, Kamalos said he will present letters of recommendation from the Port of Oakland and Union Pacific Railroad, two groups which have had blunt words in the past about the efficacy of the project. Kamalos also said that an additional $7.5 million, $4 million from PCCP West Park and $3.5 million from outside investor Spinnaker Energy Group, has been acquired.

Kamalos said he needs the 15-month extension to complete environmental documents needed before construction can begin.