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Sacramento Regional Transit Delays Sale of Property Set to be Used for Homeless Shelter in North Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- Step two of the city of Sacramento's newest plan to alleviate homelessness may be in trouble.

The second of three components -- a 200-bed shelter and triage center on Evergreen Street -- is currently owned by Regional Transit.

"Who are the buyers of the property?  I think every one of us wants to know who put a bid on these properties," said Robert Copeland, jabbing at the RT board about transparency as directors sat down for their Monday meeting.

In his capacity as a Regional Transit board member, Sacramento City Councilman Jeff Harris tried to argue back claims that the RT board didn't know enough about a sale it was planning to the city that could facilitate its latest homeless solution, one very unpopular in the selected area -- North Sacramento.

"I'm worried about being harassed. I'm worried about being killed. This 90-day shelter....worried about it bringing people in here and there," complained Kristin Berry.

"I ask you as public servants to think about our neighborhood and improving it. This will not improve our neighborhood at all," said Elaine Jackson.

The RT board was set to designate three sites as surplus land making them available for sale.

Property at 2051 Evergreen, on the border of the Woodlake neighborhood, is supposed to be part of the solution as the city of Sacramento grapples with finding shelter for thousands without.

In the midst of a debate on transparency and board control of sales led by RT directors Budge and Nottoli, the board came to the realization that final decisions on sales and knowledge of potential buyers was authority they had passed to RT's general manager and now wanted back.

It's a realization leaders of the Del Paso Boulevard Partnership are happy to finally see.

They've argued against the city's new homeless plan -- not because they don't want to help those in need -- but because they feel too much has been done in secret without input from the public.

They say even Councilman Warren and RT Director and Supervisor Serna were left out.

"They knew two days before the mayor came out and said it publicly. Supervisor Serna sits on this board.  They didn't know because the general manager didn't convey that and I think that's wrong," said David Plag.

Serna and Warren were not at the meeting.

By delaying a vote on declaring a site on Evergreen as surplus land for sale, it seems the city of Sacramento can't vote to buy it as was planned for Tuesday night -- perhaps a bit of a victory for those who want Sacramento's new homeless plan rethought.

"The legal council here says no. The city's  legal counsel could say something else," said Plag.

RT has struggled financially, but Monday night the agency was presented with two offers for the Evergreen site at twice its market value, more than $300,000.

Since this was to be a sale of surplus land by a public agency, other public agencies like the city of Sacramento, have the right of first refusal.

Late Monday FOX40 asked Mayor Steinberg's representatives for his take on what the RT vote meant for his plan.

He plans to give answers at a press conference planned for 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.