Mackenzie Wieser joins Elk Grove Planning Commission

Mackenzie Wieser joins Elk Grove Planning Commission

 

Two weeks ago the Elk Grove City Council appointed Mackenzie Wieser to the Elk Grove Planning Commission. We caught up with Mackenzie earlier this week to find out a little bit more about Elk Grove’s newest planning commissioner.

 

How long have you lived in Elk Grove and what brought you here?

I have lived in Elk Grove since January of 2005 (12 years).  I moved up to Northern CA from the San Diego area, for love. I’m so glad it brought me to Elk Grove because I met the love of my life and we are happily married with three kids.  We have a daughter- Alexis (14),  and two sons- Benjamin and Landon (13, & 4).  I coach my daughter’s competitive soccer team, FC Elk Grove, I love coaching the girls year round.  My kids attend three different schools right now: Franklin High, Toby Johnson Middle school, and Laguna KinderCare off Peets Street.  Our lives pretty much revolve around keeping our kids safe, educated, healthy and happy!

I currently work for the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research at the Strategic Growth Council, an agency focused on granting funds throughout California’s most underserved communities.  Our grants are focused on sustainability and reducing greenhouse gasses throughout the state. 

What made you decide to apply for the planning commission? 

Working for the Office of Planning and Research I have spent a lot of time communicating the great work that our State is doing with regard to General Plan Guidelines (revision), CEQA and granting funds for affordable housing and transportation related projects across the state.  It has spurred my interest in seeing how this plays out at the local level. I helped out last year during the General Plan update, and that further peeked my interest in spending more time learning about city planning.  I have a deep love for Elk Grove and I recognize that the entire state is growing in population and we need to begin thinking about how to plan for this growth. 

What are some important issues, from a planning perspective, that you feel Elk Grove is facing? 

 One of the most important issues EG is facing from a planning perspective is keeping our small town feel while growing in a responsible way.  We must keep our diverse population in mind when thinking about growth in our city.  We have to be able to meet the needs of our current population, while understanding that CA’s population is expected to reach 50 million by 2050.  There is a need to think about all the implications of an expanding population on the  communities we live in.  We do need to preserve our historic areas while growing up in a sophisticated manner.
Economic growth in terms of job growth is paramount to the success of EG. Our school system and city are two of our biggest employers. We need to attract more State agencies and some tech businesses. We have Apple and we need more industry type careers here in EG, otherwise our residents leave to work and spend money elsewhere.

What are some things that you feel the city can improve on? Bike trails and safer cycling? 

 I’m an avid runner and cyclist and I love that I can generally RUN on trails, however they are not well connected, so I usually have to cross busy streets and put myself in danger.  Cycling is another discussion all together.  There are really no safe places to cycle in Elk Grove.  All the main streets to get around the city are just too dangerous.  I used to ride my bike 6 miles each way from Vintage Park to W. Stockton Blvd (to work) and daily I had to put my life at risk to cross over the Laguna and 99 on/off ramps.  As a mother there’s too much at stake for me to do that now, so I rarely ride in Elk Grove.  Which sort of defeats the purpose of having trails.  But when on  bike the way the trails are set up they are not convenient to ride on, and as a runner I would hate to have my trail covered with bikes.  There has to be a better way.

There are quite a few other things we can improve on: Traffic, filling our strip malls that have vacant spaces with vibrant shops and businesses that cater to our community, connecting the East and West side of Elk Grove with some centers that would draw residents together.  Entertainment plazas filled with excellent restaurants and shops, possibly a performing arts theatre.  This is the beauty of being a newly incorporated city, there’s a lot we can still do and many areas we can work together on to improve.

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