Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Planning Commission Meeting Monday 7/14 6 PM in Council Chambers

Everyone Needs to Attend This Meeting It May Be the Last Opportunity to Meaningfully Address the Planning Commission. Lets Get Salida OUT of Modesto’s General Plan. If You Don’t They Will Be In control  of SALIDA in the Future

Greed

Greed (Photo credit: Muffet)

SUBJECT: GPA-10-001 – General Plan Amendment for Land Use and Circulation:
Public Workshop (City-initiated)

PURPOSE
The current Modesto general plan was adopted in 1995.

There has been a long-standing need to update the land use and circulation elements to enable the general plan to serve as a better tool to guide future growth and development, and this General Plan amendment (GPA) project
is intended to meet that need. In conjunction with GPA project work, staff facilitated public workshops for the benefit of the community in general and the Planning Commission in particular.

The purposes of these workshops were to inform the Planning Commission about
the GPA project, educate the public and provide opportunities for comments and questions.
The preliminary public workshop series included three (3) workshops – March 18, April 15 and
June 3, 2013.

These workshops proved valuable in terms of the public comments, concerns
and questions raised. Staff recorded all the comments and discussion points from the three
workshops, which will be used as the proposed GPA documentation continues to be refined.

The purpose of this fourth workshop is for staff to provide additional detail, for the
Commissioners’ benefit, regarding proposed General Plan policy language and other specific
project information. The Chamber of Commerce has expressed an interest in presenting their
preferred land use plan as well.

Secondary purposes include providing additional opportunity for public input and for the
Commission to provide direction to staff regarding the proposed project, which will help confirm
the project description for purposes of environmental analyses.
A fifth workshop is scheduled for August 19, 2013, for the Planning Commission to provide
feedback and direction on the General Plan amendment. Following a Planning Commission
recommendation, staff will then seek formal confirmation by the City Council in September or October.

BACKGROUND
California cities and counties commonly review their general plans to evaluate the need for
updates every five to ten years. Although the Modesto general plan has been amended
several times since its adoption 18 years ago in 1995, the land use and circulation elements
remain largely unchanged since that time.

The focus of this GPA is on the land use and
circulation / transportation elements, and the broad project objectives are to:
• adjust land use designations to be more realistic and to reflect economic development
objectives;
• align the circulation element with infrastructure planning instruments (e.g. Capital
Improvement Program, Regional Transportation Plan, Federal Transportation
Improvement Program, and Capital Facilities Fee program);
• achieve a more livable community through application of smart growth principles;
• establish priority areas for economic development;
• achieve a more coordinated, efficient process for linking general plan goals with
infrastructure investment policy; and,
• implement new state laws to improve air quality, reduce vehicle miles traveled, and
create a balanced transportation system (AB 32, SB 375, AB 1358).

Incentives for pursuing the GPA project include the need for implementation of state laws
referenced above, and the fact that federal grant funding for the project was awarded in late
2010.

These factors result in a need (state law) and opportunity (funding) to undertake and
complete the GPA. While the GPA is not a comprehensive general plan update, the fact that
both the land use and circulation / transportation elements will be amended means that
Modesto’s general plan can be significantly improved and modernized.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The scope of work for the GPA project includes: consideration of General Plan goals, policies
and objectives; establishing priorities related to economic development; establishing linkage
and consistency among the General Plan, Regional Transportation Plan, Capital Improvement

Program and other infrastructure funding plans and programs; and, addressing the complete
range of laws and issues described under Background, above. A significant amount of work has
been done, which has resulted in new draft / proposed General Plan goals and policies, and
related new draft / proposed changes to the General Plan land use and circulation diagrams.

The project is a complex undertaking, and a range of issues has been identified. These include
land use compatibility, transportation analysis, alternative transportation solutions,
infrastructure, and others that will be resolved through completion of project work.

The “work-in-progress” draft general plan land use and transportation chapters are attached for
Commissioners’ review, and they have been posted to the City’s website. Although staff is not
necessarily seeking specific feedback on the draft text amendments at this time, the proposed
land use and transportation diagrams must be confirmed in order to initiate the necessary
Master Environmental Impact Report (EIR) update. Therefore, as indicated under “Purpose,”
above, staff will be seeking confirmation and/or direction from the Commission regarding the
proposed GPA on August 19.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
It is anticipated that the General Plan Amendment project will require a Supplemental EIR to
the Modesto Urban Area General Plan Master EIR. Funding for the Master EIR work has not yet
been identified, and it is anticipated that the City’s budget for FY13-14 may include that
funding. If so, the proposed General Plan and Master EIR should be released for formal public
review toward the end of calendar year 2014. At that time, staff will be seeking comments
regarding the complete draft General Plan and Master EIR proposed for adoption.

The following information will NOT be provided to the public at the meeting. 

ATTACHMENTS (included with Commissioners’ packets only)
1. Work-in-Progress General Plan land use (Chapter III) and transportation (Chapter V)
elements / chapters

Open the following pdf and go to Chapter III the City sealed this online portion from the public.

071513_PC Agenda GP Workshop

 

 

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