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SACRAMENTO-A 2,300-acre tract of land here that is part of a larger master-planning process has been released from an environmental order by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. The landowner is Aerojet, a subsidiary of locally based and publicly traded GenCorp, technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate business that deals in its excess land holdings.

Known as the McDonnell-Douglas Inactive Rancho Cordova Test Site, the land was used primarily as a buffer between former aerospace and industrial facilities and is comprised mostly of pasture land and dredge tailings from previous mining operations. Aerospace operations began on the site in 1956 and were completed during 1969. Aerojet acquired the land from McDonnell-Douglas Corp. in 1984.

The land is located within the City of Rancho Cordova. The release from the DTSC order was dependent upon the removal of the dredge tailings, the completion of a groundwater remedial action plan and the implementation of land use covenants to limit the use of groundwater, according to GenCorp.

The land is part of a 6,400-acre tract of land that GenCorp has been master planning for a community called Easton. Easton will include housing as well as office, industrial, retail, and recreational uses, according to the company’s most recent annual report. Within that total are separate developments called Rio del Oro, Glenborough at Easton, Easton Place, Westborough and Hillsborough, as well as an office park and auto mall development and other uses.

For its 2,700-acre Rio del Oro mixed-use project, GenCorp said in December that it expects to have a final Environmental Impact Review (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statement ready for approval by the City of Rancho Cordova this year. The plan includes 1,920 acres for residential, 521 acres of commercial and 1,236 acres of open space. A development agreement with the city is under negotiation.

The Glenborough at Easton and Easton Place developments would cover 1,400 acres, including 530 acres of residential, 202 acres of commercial space and 391 acres of open space. The administrative draft EIR for the project was delivered by the EIR consultant to the county in December. GenCorp said in January that the county was expected to release the draft EIR for public review and comment in the first half of 2008. A development agreement with the county would follow.

Westborough is a would-be 1,700 acre development. In June 2005, GenCorp submitted an updated general plan amendment and a re-zoning application for approximately 1,100 acres as the first phase. The second phase consisting of approximately 550 acres lies partially within the jurisdiction of Rancho Cordova and partially within the jurisdiction of the County. GenCorp says that over “the next few years” it will be working with Rancho Cordova and the County to reach agreement on the terms and conditions for annexation of the County land by Rancho Cordova.

Hillsborough is a would-be 629-acre project that is envisioned as including residential, office, and retail. The project would not be developed until the land is annexed by the City of Folsom. GenCorp says it doesn’t the required regulatory approvals will be in place for the project until sometime after 2010.

With regard to its plans for an office park and auto mall, GenCorp in 2003 signed a memorandum of understanding with Panattoni Development Co. for the office park. In 2006, it obtained approval for a 30-acre auto mall on Folsom Boulevard. Previously, it sold two parcels totaling 20 acres to two automobile dealers for $5.9 million. Aerojet is obligated to provide certain land improvements necessary to bring utilities to each of these parcels. The utilities are expected to be in place this year.

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