Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

The Planning Commission Decision and a Citizens Comments Regarding RUL

By Emerson Drake

English: Stanislaus River (in California) at C...

English: Stanislaus River (in California) at Caswell Memorial State Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my opinion the worst of the possible three choices was made by the Planning Commission. The decided they wanted staff to study the problem and come back with more information regarding Residential Urban Limits.  But even more telling were the statements from the majority of the Commission stating the didn’t believe something this important should be decided by the voters.  The phrase “unintended consequences” was heard over and over. From what I heard the Planning Commission wants to roll parts of RUL into the General Plan and keep it away from the voters.  I agree with the following letter since RUL only preserves prime  farmland from residential developers and suggests no mitigation for business parks. Remember the Chamber is looking for mixed use designation with would allow homes to be built in business parks away from cities. I believe with the Planning Commission’s  decision  it would be almost impossible for Denny Jackman’s RUL to be sent to the voters this fall.

Now letter read to the Planning Commission.

Commission Members: Sandra Lucas, Ted Brandvold, Patricia Gillum, Chris Tyler, Steve Carter, Dennis Smith, Marshall Riddle
1010 10th Street
Modesto, CA 95356
RE: Against Denny Jackman Urban Boundary Proposal: duplicate legislation.
Dear Planning Commission,

I am a Modesto resident who lives in the area north of Pelandale – to the Stanislaus River. This is prime farmland area: from Salida to Del Rio. I drive the roads of Kiernan, Tully, Dale, Stoddard, Ladd, Carver, and St. John. Every day I am reminded of the importance of acres and acres of prime farmland that is cultivated for personal consumption and our region’s responsibility to do so.

After reviewing the Ballot verbage for Mr. Jackman’s urban boundary proposal (which Mr. Jackman handed me a copy at the previous City Council meeting), I do not believe this proposal should be considered or allowed to become a ballot measure for public vote.

Why?

This proposal which would require voters to decide on whether the destruction of agricultural or open space land for RESIDENTIAL development, appears to be a duplicate core issue of legislation of Measure E which was passed by voters in November 2007.

In further review, I believe the Jackman proposal is inadequate in that voter approval for the destruction of agricultural lands should also include the development of commercial purposes! The serious matter of destruction of agricultural land (our #1 industry), our region’s responsibility to produce the state and nation’s food supply, is no less, if it is allowed to be destroyed for commercial development. This is a major omission.

Other unacceptable elements of this proposal cannot (exempt) or take away, the state environmental mandate of an acceptable CEQA study which might uncover any unknown and harmful consequences of a development to surrounding residents, nor should this proposal take away the right of a resident to voice their opposition to any negative social effects of low income housing to be built near their established middle and upper class subdivisions, or which could destroy their real estate values.

Once our valley’s prime agricultural land is destroyed – little by little for “this project”, or for “that project” – (whether for residential or commercial) our farmland will undergo a slow pattern of destruction. We as local residents, the owners of the land, and localgovernment agencies need to remember that we all have been entrusted to protect and be “good stewards” of this finite valuable agricultural land resource. This region is responsible for protecting and providing the food for California and our nation. With an ever increasing national population, and a finite amount of valley farmland – destruction of farmland for any reason will amount to high food prices from not enough supply (land) to meet the needs of a higher amount of the population (demand).

Most people believe food prices are already too high and many are struggling to buy the food they need. This negative impact of destroying farmland, little by little, is an important “forward thinking” approach and probably the most important reason not to destroy it at all.
Everyone is embracing “farmland preservation” but are your actions really preservation?
There cannot be “double-speak” with new law (SB 375, General Plan, Land Use, Zoning)
or policies being made, or land use decisions.

Silicon Valley is entrusted to provide our high tech knowledge. San Francisco is looked upon to be our cultural and arts provider. The Delta, nearby various lake and river regions, and others, are the sources of our much needed and precious water. Modesto and various central valley regions are the precious growers of our food. These very different regions are best “in doing what they do best.”
We cannot be, nor should we try to change WHO WE ARE: the rural rich farmland area of the state.

Thank you.
D. Minighini
Modesto unincorporated resident

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