FOLSOM (CBS13) — Drivers and neighbors are used to the rolling hills at the mouth of Folsom State Prison, but the weathered grass could become something else.
The state was instructed by Governor Newsom to find possible sites for affordable housing all across California. The possible sites would be underused or unused state-owned land. One of the potential sites is 48.71 acres at the entrance of the prison.
On Tuesday, nearby neighbors expressed their opinions on the proposal.
“I wasn’t informed that it was low-income housing,” Dreama Pacheco said.
“I think it’s a crazy idea. It’s a beautiful land that’s utilized by schools and ranchers,” John McDougall said. “I think we need a buffer zone between the prison and the residential community.”
“Our state’s already considering too many things,” Julie Price said. “They don’t need to take that property.”
Some question why the prison land is even an option.
“Pretty much, you’re right next to a prison. I mean does that make sense?” Steven Harank said.
The California Department of General Services is one of the agencies that finds and grades these possible sites. CBS13 asked the department if is it safe to consider this land for affordable housing. The department said the property more than meets the reasonable needs and can be evaluated as an affordable housing site.
Some neighbors are okay with the location.
“You know, I’m all for it,” Jeff Look said. “Everybody needs a place to live and housings nuts around here. Nuts!”
The state says it’s in the early stages of this project and it could even remove the Folsom State Prison parcel of its list of potential opportunities.
CBS13 asked neighbors if housing were to go here would people feel safe.
“We thought about that ourselves,” Look said.
They said there’s nothing to fret with living near inmates.
“I’d rather live right by the prison than three miles away. I feel plenty safe here,” Price said.
“We haven’t had a problem in 30 years,” Look said. “I think if someone escapes from the prison, they’re taking off.”
To look at the map of potential housing sites, click here.