Is the Proposed WOODGLEN Project Right for Modesto?
May 6, 2013
City of Modesto Planning Commission
(Sandra Lucas, Ted Brandvoid, Patricia Gillum, Chris Tyler, Steve Carter, Dennis Smith,
1010 10th Street, Modesto, CA
RE: STUDY SESSION for “Woodglen” development by Fitzpatrick Homes;
Requiring annexation of 72 acres of County Agricultural land to build
353 single family homes, 180 units of multi-family housing.
Dear City of Modesto Planning Commission Members,
As a public resident who lives in the unincorporated area of Modesto, nearby the
proposed site of the project (Bangs/Carver/Pelandale/Tully Road), this project would
involve the conversion (destruction of) agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes is
quite large, and would definitely cause several negative impacts for the surrounding area
and the city overall.
Before you approve any such development to proceed further, or give the developer
approval to present such an annexation to LAFCO for consideration, I would ask that
answers to the following concerns should be provided to the public:
1. The residential building of 533 homes in one project, to be built in 2013/2014 while the
recession is still, and is expected to continue in force for the next 5 years (for our area),
which Modesto is effected by still a high 20% unemployment rate, with no promise of
employer/s migration to our area, this excessive residential project is an example of
“urban sprawl” that is not sustainable in the next year or two years, and will further cause
economic damage to existing property owner’s equity and property values.
2. The 683 page “EIR Draft Document” does NOT provide support or mitigation actions
to justify to go forward with this project.
The entire report must be read in its entirety by anyone making decisions on this project.
Some concerns in regards to the content of this document include:
Several “Potentially Significant” negative impacts if this large residential
development were approved. Some, but not all, citations include:
Destruction of AG Land
“the proposed project site has historically been used for agricultural purposes and
is currently cultivated alfalfa and almonds.” (Almond crops are one of Stanislaus
County’s top crop categories and directly responsible to maintaining our
TO: Stanislaus County Planning Commission, May 6, 2013 public letter, RE: STUDY
SESSION for “Woodglen” development by Fitzpatrick Homes, Page 2 of 5.
Rebuttal: The AG Element of the General Plan’s main goals are to protect
agricultural land – our #1 industry.
Air Quality and Transportation
“Implementation of the proposed project would result in pollutant emissions being
released into the atmosphere.”
“Implementation of the proposed Woodglen Specific Plan project will exacerbate
existing conditions at one intersection operating below the City’s minimum LOS
D with the addition of projected traffic and result in levels of service dropping
from LOS C to LOS E at one additional intersection.”
“Significant and unavoidable” transportation negative impacts will result from:
“Implementation of the proposed Woodglen Specific Plan project would result in
an incremental increase in delay that exceeds the daily thresholds at intersections
where LOS D is already exceeded.”
“Implementation of the proposed Woodglen Specific Plan project would result in
level of service dropping to an unacceptable level on one roadway segment and an
increase in volume-to-capacity ratio above the incremental threshold on two
roadway segments under near-term conditions.”
Rebuttal: This residential project is TOO BIG for the proposed area, and will
cause air pollution from 533 OR MORE resident automobiles owned by residents
trying to navigate out of the neighborhood. Modesto’s air quality is already at a
serious and extreme levels (caused by automobile emissions).
The project will also cause significant negative traffic slowdowns, hurting
existing residents who normally travel on the major streets of Standiford, Bangs,
Tully, Synder, Carver, and Prescott – to get home, to work, or for other needs.
This project does not meet greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction mandates under SB
375. Road widening or additional road lanes encouraging more cars does not
Who would actually pay for any road widening or additional lanes? I hope
taxpayer money would not be spent, nor would transportation improvement grant
funds be spent.
Any transportation costs should be paid by the developer!
TO: Stanislaus County Planning Commission, May 6, 2013 public letter, RE: STUDY SESSION for “Woodglen” development by Fitzpatrick Homes, Page 3 of 5.
The further destruction of farmland would most likely be involved just to accommodate the multiple road improvements required. What other farmland owners will be personally harmed by any eminent domain land takeovers?
Excessive Noise and Dust
The construction period which would last for several months to a year, two years, ??? would cause harm to nearby residents and such dust would travel and pollute the air to a larger surrounding diameter where more residents live, causing unknown and possible serious (lung) health effects.
Of serious concern is, “Implementation of the proposed Woodglen Specific Plan would increase the amount of impervious surface on the project site and the amount of urban runoff. In addition, construction activity could contribute to short-term discharges of waste and accelerated soil erosion and siltation. These things could degrade surface water quality.”
Rebuttal: The protection of surface water quality is an important human and agricultural need. Contaminated water will reach crops in which humans consume. Contaminated water is known to cause serious health issues, which include cancer (means eventual death).
“Implementation of the proposed project would expose people and structures to future ground shaking. The presence of sandy soils and groundwater creates the potential for unstable soil conditions and liquefaction. Furthermore, construction on the project site could contribute to soil erosion.”
Rebuttal: No development, or one that may serve a city’s future plans, should ever jeopardize the personal or property safety, or economic protection of surrounding property of existing owners and residents. Ground shaking and liquefaction of the ground is a serious situation and can cause economic and personal harm to residents in an undetermined radius surrounding the site. This area’s sandy soil presents very sensitive construction issues. Unknown earth damage could extend well beyond the site and is not warranted to support this project’s size. (The entire community of nearby Del Rio could be affected as it is also built on sandy soil due to its location to the Stanislaus River). There are no “mitigation” measures that are justifiable or can prevent harm to residents.
“Implementation of the proposed project would increase demand for police services in association with new residential development.”
TO: Stanislaus County Planning Commission, May 6, 2013 public letter, RE: STUDY SESSION for “Woodglen” development by Fitzpatrick Homes, Page 4 of 5.
Rebuttal: The City of Modesto and Stanislaus County are severely underserved with providing Modesto’s 206,000+ residents with proper police protection at large. Only twelve (12) patrol officers to date are out on patrol at any given time in the entire city. (Quote from Police Chief Ballantine on March 4, 2013). Only six (6) county patrol officers to date are out providing police services in the unincorporated areas of Stanislaus County. (Quote from Mayor Marsh in a Modesto Bee article dated May 5, 2013).
Until there are significant increases in city and county police patrols offering police protection and services at large, this development cannot go forward, adding another 533 units (with 1000+ more persons) to protect. Previous, existing, and new general plan policies state that NO new developments will go forward until proper public services are available.
What is meant by “the project includes development of an “infrastructure financing plan” ? What is being developed, when, and by whom? How much money? How realistic is achieving this? Who pays what, who gets what?
3. How is this 533 residential home development consistent with the General Plan and Land Use and Zoning?
Is this large project accepted by StanCOG to meet it’s “future growth and development” of a “sustainable city” under SB 375?
4. Are any of these homes or multi-unit buildings going to satisfy RHNA affordable housing numbers under the 2009-2014 Revised Housing Element Update?
If so, how many units will be set aside?
5. Are any of these homes or units going to be purchased by HCD or other government agencies with NSP or Housing Block funds, offering either subsidized rental housing or property sales to low income persons? If so, how many homes and units?
6. With Modesto experiencing insufficient water resources to date for its residents and farmers, (a variety of problematic issues) – where will the water needs for this project’s residents come from? Which agency would provide water and from what sources?
Will this additional water need cause any rate increases or supply loss to existing residents of Modesto or Stanislaus County unincorporated residents?
Existing legislation does NOT allow any future growth until adequate public services (such as water) are available.
7. How will the City of Modesto Police Department or the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department provide sufficient police protection at large to an increased population of 533
TO: Stanislaus County Planning Commission, May 6, 2013 public letter, RE: STUDY SESSION for “Woodglen” development by Fitzpatrick Homes, Page 5 of 5.
homes (which reasonably amounts to at least 1000 total persons (2 per household or the project as a whole), when existing police protection is at very severe levels (12 officers on patrol for a population of 206,000 approximately, (city services) and 6 officers for the unincorporated town areas (population unknown)?
The City or County currently is NOT paying for reasonable levels of protection at large for Modesto or Stanislaus County!
Existing legislation does NOT allow any future growth until adequate public services (such as police protection) are available.
I urge you to NOT vote in approval of this huge residential project at this time, which has has NO realistic “sustainability” or “demand” in our area at this time, or in the near future. This excessive project will cause multiple issues of serious harm to existing land owners and existing residents. Mitigated proposals hurt residents and would cause cumulative negative impacts to the city’s residents. Proper public service levels do not exist to warrant the project to stain existing services to the public.
Modesto unincorporated resident
City of Modesto “2012 crime statistics” presented to City Council Safety & Communities Committee/Council Workshop Meeting on March 4, 2013
“Re-Alignment” Update web article, May 3, 2013, re: more releases into communities
The Woodglen EIR Report: http://www.modestogov.com/ced/pdf/planning/projects/woodglen/Woodglen%20SP%20DEIR_FINAL.pdf