By Emerson Drake
Monday’s 5:00 meeting of Modesto’s Economic Development Committee was almost uneventful but not quite. First it was an opportunity to address those who had supposedly approved Modesto’s request to LAFCO to change LAFCO’s written rules or policy and allow a “special arrangement” to be made with the owner of Beard Industrial Park, the Beard Trust.
We’ve asked this question of Mayor Marsh, several LAFCO Board members, and Brent Sinclair (Modesto’s Community Economic Development Director) and no one has an answer. Waterford Mayor and LAFCO Board member Charlie Goeken says since Modesto and Beard Industrial requested it and the County was okay with it, LAFCO had no reason not to go along with it.
After a conversation with Councilwoman Burnside, who was nice enough to give me a general direction to look in (but unfortunately the quest didn’t bear fruit), I decided to submit a Public Information Request to Modesto to help in finding out when the Committee first voted and then the Council voted on the LAFCO request.
Salida was mentioned in passing during the status report of the development projects processed by the committee. The list wasn’t mentioned in detail and wasn’t passed out to onlookers. It can be found as a supplement to the committee’s agenda on-line at Modesto city’s website. http://ci.modesto.ca.us/council/committees/econ.asp
The second item on the agenda was Brent Sinclair’s recommendation to postpone the 2013 Urban Growth Review. It was felt by staff that so little had changed it wasn’t necessary to update the plan. It is reasonable to presume since little had changed and his department has a computerized list of all changes, an update would be relatively easy and reasonable with the potential looming Salida annexation. Since $60,000 dollars had just been spent to obtain accurate numbers (the Goodwin Report) it makes logical sense to be using new up to date numbers in the Urban Growth plan.
But Brent Sinclair said it was too hard for staff to update the plan and delaying it for two years seemed reasonable to him. The committee agreed with him. I brought this matter up to the council the next night but the Mayor seemed to agree with Brent “It’s too Hard” Sinclair.
Could there be a reason Mayor Marsh and Councilman Cogdill, both on the Modesto Ad Hoc Committee, and pushing the annexation of Salida, don’t want or desire an update? Is an agenda involved? You tell me.