Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh”

JENNY KENOYER BREAKS HER CAMPAIGN PROMISE!

Dear Modesto Neighborsmodestoarch

Less than 2 months into office (and at her first city council meeting), your new Modesto City council member JENNY KENOYER 

is planning to break her campaign promise to preserve prime farmland!

During her campaign when asked how important farmland preservation is to Stanislaus County, Jenny Kenoyer replied, “Farmland preservation is probably one of the most important things that is so important to us.  Agriculture is the base of our economy” and “I’m really concerned our council that is there now is not really concerned with preservation of ag land”.

Yet at the January 7, 2014 Modesto City Council meeting, Jenny Kenoyer indicated that she supports annexing the prime farmland west of 99 known as Wood Colony for development.  She was quoted as saying,” I DON’T CARE WHAT THE PEOPLE OF WOOD COLONY THINK, THEY DON’T VOTE FOR ME.”

Your neighbors in Wood Colony need your help to protect their homes, their farms, and their families’ farm heritage!

Please e-mail or call your councilmember, Jenny Kenoyer and request she stick to her campaign pledge to preserve farmland and NOT VOTE TO PAVE OVER FAMILY FARMS IN WEST MODESTO!

E-mail: JKenoyer@modestogov.com and/or call (209) 571-5597.

CONTACT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! – URGENCY NEEDED!  THE VOTE IS TUESDAY!

Or attend the Modesto City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 5:30 pm at 1010 10th Street Place – Basement chambers.

*To locate the YouTube video, just google “Jenny Kenoyer Interview” and the date is August 16, 2013.

We’ve just added the pdf of the flyer being distributed in Modesto.

JennyKenoyer_flyer

Today in the Name of Freedom We Start Taking the Battle to Them

By Emerson Drake7539_644398712288462_663275294_n

Okay it’s a little dramatic, but it fits.  The Modesto City Council is preparing, through its General Plan Amendment update, to annex Wood Colony and possibly Salida and I say enough is enough.  Unlike the beleaguered citizens of Modesto, residents of Wood Colony and Salida have a means to fight back.  Marketplace Shopping Center is a prime example.  Modesto residents came out in droves to protest the building of the center at Sylvan and Oakdale roads but the city council, after pretending to listen and postponing the decision a few times, decided developers were more important to them than the voting citizens of the neighborhood.  They can’t protest the decision to a higher authority like Wood Colony and Salida will be able to ie: LAFCO.

The Modesto City Council has been drinking the Chamber of Commerce’s Kool aid.

After speaking with Councilwoman Jenny Kenoyer on Jan.7th it became obvious, that despite her protestations of independent research, she was mouthing the exact platitudes of the Chamber’s Craig Lewis and lobbyist Cecil Russell.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, is the chant.  But all they are providing are empty promises of ‘core’ jobs which is deceiving few if any.  Core jobs don’t rely on freeway access, warehouse and distribution jobs at $10 to $12 an hour do.  And the Chamber says we should be grateful for that.  But Bill Lyons’ Wood Colony Business Park (WCBP) would provide the 5% commissions for Realtors like Councilman Bill Zoslocki and his boss at Prudential Realty, Craig Lewis.  Jenny likes to say she wants a research facility to be built at WCPB and challenged me to give her another option.  Very simple, if it’s going to be 10 to 20 years before build-out, which I doubt, lets use the second rate soil on land East of Modesto.   Just like the Chamber, Jenny dismissed this out of hand.   Why?  Because they know it’s out best option and it undermines their arguments in favor of Salida and Wood Colony.

Another talking point they, the Chamber and many members of the Council make is a business park would keep our children from leaving Modesto.  What a joke, but again false promises hold out hope to parents of children who might leave after college graduation.  I suppose if they had a child who wanted to be an oceanographer they’d promise to build an ocean in the proposed park too.

Their spiel isn’t about truth, it’s about taking advantage of the hard times and making as much money as possible for themselves and their friends just like developer and profiteer Bill Zoslocki did with Village I.

I supported Jenny Kenoyer when she ran for office the first time. I sat with her and fought the proposed water sale to San Francisco.  I heard her speak many times about preserving prime farmland.  And now because she mentions  farmland mitigation she believes it covers for her sins for making false campaign promises.  I understand some politicians lie to get in office but I truly never expected it of her, not to this extent.

And as for taking the fight to them…

There are people walking Modesto council districts explaining to the people just how badly the City Council is treating the German Baptist Brethren in Wood Colony.   But as Jenny admitted saying, they (the Brethren) can’t vote for her.

Food for thought about the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and those in the Modesto City Council who vote against the preservation of Wood Colony and Salida…To know where Evil grows and permit it to flourish is to accept responsibility for all that follows.

Mayor Marsh and Some Council Members Want to Silence the Opposition

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By Emerson Drake

Thanks to Mayor Marsh the excrement has hit the oscillating rotary device (something about hitting a fan).  We learned last week Mayor Marsh was planning NOT to allow people who had spoken at the December City Council meeting to speak again.  Apparently if you don’t agree with the Mayor and Modesto Chamber of Commerce’s land grab proposal (also known as Pathways to SPRAWL) you should sit down and shut up!

When we tried to inform people regarding his plan we were met with disbelief.  Not that people thought we were lying, but shaking their collective heads thinking it was political suicide and was unthinkable.  But now it has been made public (remember just because you might have read it in the Bee doesn’t make it wrong.. :).  We were singing our tale loud and long (including to the Bee) because the purpose is to get the word out to as many people as possible.

What may have slipped past many people is the Mayor and staff are cooking up an idea to delay Denny Jackman’s Residential Urban Limit (RUL) proposal they had originally slated to vote on next year and place it on the 2015 ballot along with the removal of Measures A&M. Now I believe Denny’s RUL was watered down in order to get it past the City Council but it would be better than nothing, but NOT worth exchanging Measure A&M for.  No Way.

Just to refresh your memory, here are the official versions of A&M taken from the city website.

Measure A
On March 6, 1979, the voters enacted Measure A, the “Citizens’ Advisory Growth Management Act,” which requires the City Council to hold an advisory vote of the citizens of Modesto prior to extending sewer trunk lines to areas outside of the current sewer service area. Measure A allows Modesto’s citizens to voice their opinions on growth before it happens and ensures that City Council members know the public opinion.

Measure M

On November 4, 1997, the voters enacted Measure M, the “Modesto Citizens’ Advisory Growth Management Act of 1995”.  The purpose of Measure M is to extend the advisory votes required by Measure A to all sewer improvements and to bring the public’s voice into decisions concerning whether or not to allow urban expansion.  And of course the link for those named Thomas…. http://www.ci.modesto.ca.us/ced/documents/planning_urbanarea.asp (http://www.ci.modesto.ca.us/ced/documents/planning_urban-area.asp)

A and M allow the citizens of Modesto to control, what in the past was uncontrolled growth (SPRAWL) and to help maintain the quality of life Modestans enjoy and to keep Modesto’s greedy developers at bay.  We have been aware for years that the developers, staffers, Chamber of Commerce and some elected officials don’t want the public to be able to weigh in.  Four years ago when David Geer was first elected we had five areas to vote on and ALL five were turned down by the voters by a margin of 60 – 70 percent.  Yet current council members have referred to this vote as voter fatigue and try to use this as a reason to negate your prior vote.  Councilman Lopez was one of the worst offenders at this.

Tuesday night at 5:30 in the basement of 1010 10th Street (City Hall), the Council will be considering and discussing the General Plan Amendment which may or may not include Salida (Marsh says yes), but definitely will include 1825 acres of Wood Colony.  I believe since the staff proposal has been changed EVERYONE should get to speak.  But Marsh is tired of people not agreeing with him, but that isn’t our problem.  As they say in business, he isn’t hourly, he’s salary (as they all are) and as such should allow the public to speak.  The RUL extension is on the calendar as is the Berberian Shopping Center slated for the corner of Sylvan and Oakdale Roads.

Come early and be prepared for a lengthy meeting.  Remember, this is part of their plan.  They want you to get tired and discouraged and go home without speaking.

If you are interested in some of the players behind the scenes in this little play of greed, check out this website and see who owns the property involved.  It isn’t just Prudential Real Estate Salesmen like Craig Lewis and Councilman Bill Zoslocki (yes, Bill works for Craig) who have been pushing this nasty piece of business through the Planning Commission, others are involved, like lobbyist Cecil Russel with the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.

Here is a link to the maps of the county.  use the little hand to see who the players are in Wood Colony from the vocal to the silent.  The silence is deafening-but you can afford to be silent when others do your bidding for you.  This is a new link that works. Thanks to those who pointed out the difficulty.
http://gis.stancounty.com/giscentral/public/map/esri/flex/parcelfinder/index.jsp

Stanislaus County: GIS Central :: GIS Standards.

gis.stancounty.com

The sabbatical is over…I’m back!

As a point of interest the OFFICIAL minutes of the council don’t list the speakers….so maybe no one spoke..:)

Modesto’s General Plan Council Meeting Comments

By Katherine Borges

City Council comments for Modesto’s General Plan Update on December 3, 2013 –katherinecouncil

My name is Katherine Borges and I serve on the Salida Municipal Advisory Council also known as the Salida MAC.

For those of you recently elected to the council and who may not know, Salida residents have been vocalizing their opposition to annexation to Modesto over the course of the last year and a half at both public meetings and in the media. At our February Salida MAC meeting, the MAC council voted unanimously against being annexed by Modesto. This vote represents the majority opinion of Salida residents and that is what the MAC council is elected to do just as you are, represent the people.

At the August General Plan Update meeting, Brent Sinclair and his planners announced that they had removed Salida from the Plan. However, Mayor Marsh is quoted in the Bee on August 20th as saying that it was “premature to do that”. On September 16th, the Modesto Planning Commission voted to submit the plan to you as is without Salida.

In the Modesto Bee, Mayor Marsh suggested that tonight’s vote on the General Plan Update be postponed until January so the new council members can get caught up to speed. As far as Salida goes, there’s really not much for you to get caught up on there because Kevin Valine of the Bee nailed it when he called it, “vehement opposition”.

And now its your turn to listen to the people of Salida, to not vote to add Salida back in and furthermore, we respectfully request that you additionally remove the land south of Kiernan, east of Stoddard and west of Dale that is part of the Salida Community Plan. The county has designated this land for Salida’s future and the Stanislaus County Supervisors support us in this.

Its time for Modesto to work with Salida and not against us. You also need to stop your water extortion. For anyone who may be unaware about this, the City of Modesto has a ‘will not serve’ in place for new development in Salida. In other words they refuse to serve new water customers unless Modesto gets to annex the land. This was the case with Modesto’s land annexations for the parcels that Costco and Kaiser are on. Salida not only lost the retail tax base of Costco, but our Salida Fire District lost the property tax from that land as well which was a factor in forcing them to merge with Modesto. And something key that you are missing here with this extortion is that by inhibiting growth in Salida, you are inhibiting new jobs for Modestoans.

Please consider extending an olive branch to Salida in the effort to makes amends and keep Salida out of the General Plan Update and remove the land south of Kiernan as well. Another olive branch to consider is selling our Del Este system back to Salida. We want it and you don’t so let’s do this! Allow Salida to become City of Modesto water customer for new development. There is already pipe being laid as I speak under the Kiernan overpass to bring water from Modesto to Salida. 2014 is almost upon us and this would be a great way to start the new year working together.

Planning Commission Forwards Recommendations to City Council, 4-3

By Emerson Drake

Monday night’s Planning Commission (PC) meeting was one of the most enlightening so far.  Traipsing through the murky

English: Author: Carl Skaggs This image was ta...

waters of the General Plan Amendment process has been challenging.  Like all public processes at times it becomes trench warfare with groups like Modesto’s Chamber of Commerce saying one thing publicly and then maneuvering behind the scenes in a completely different direction.

The case in point

The Chamber has been talking publicly with the Commission and interested parties like those from Salida, saying Salida should be removed from Modesto’s General Plan. But when it came time to vote the three Commissioners most closely tied to Modesto’s Chamber, Ted Brandvold, Steve Carter,  and Marshall Riddle,  finally showed their cards.  They openly voted against the PC’s Staff proposal  and  earlier attempts to return Salida to the General Plan along with an additional 1,200 feet on the North side of Kiernan between Dale and McHenry.

Brent Sinclair had explained to the PC and the public that he and staff had made the recommendations because he believed, not only could he sell the plan to the Stanislaus Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO),  but that Modesto could set the standard for all Stanislaus County communities to follow.  At previous meetings Brandvold’s comments had made it obvious he had bought into Craig Lewis’ ‘we need to stay ahead of Riverbank’ spiel.

Craig Lewis made a last desperate attempt to try and sway the Planning Commission by pointing out how many acres less the new proposal was but it was quickly responded to by acknowledging the majority of the acreage being removed was Salida.  The Commissioners didn’t buy the keeping up with the Jones’ (Riverbank) or maybe like many of those in the audience they were aware Riverbank is in the process of pulling back their General Plan boundaries to more reasonable limits.

The PC Staff recommendations  091613_PC Agenda GPA WkShp

The Brandvold, Carter, Riddle proposal which included the additional land failed to pass 3-4 and the following vote to  support the PC Staff’s proposal passed 4-3.

Another interesting note was the mention of the several hundred notices which had been sent to landowners in the now expanded Beckwith-Dakota Triangle (1,830 acres in the shape of a rectangle) and that only 6-8 came to the meeting.  Also of note was Commissioner Brandvold’s comment that the same few faces from Salida were always present and he wasn’t convinced they represented Salida’s position on annexation. You can imagine the reaction. You had the Salida Chamber of Commerce represented at the meeting along with the Salida MAC. The Salida MAC had previously voted to officially oppose the annexation of Salida by Modesto so I’m really not sure what he was thinking or if he was…thinking.

It could have just as easily been said that the same few people had been representing Modesto Developers at these meetings but since he clandestinely supported the Chamber it went unsaid by him.  It also needs to be noticed Salida has continually supported their friends to the south, Wood Colony, in their attempt to avoid annexation.  But there are those, especially those who didn’t bother to attend this meeting,  who would sow the seeds of dissent and ignore this fact.

It’s far from over

The business park planned for the Beckwith-Dakota triangle is HUGE and 1,830 acres (almost 3 square miles) is too much land to allow to be stolen from farmers and those living in Wood Colony.  It has been pointed out repeatedly NO buffer between Business Parks  is allotted for. And if this doesn’t change the harassing lawsuits against these farmers are inevitable regardless of Right to Farm Ordinances.

Chris Tyler’s comment from the prior meeting, “Prove it Works”, is important to remember because if those responsible for placing businesses in the proposed business park allow an inequitable arrangement similar to the one Blue Diamond received in Turlock we’ll have squandered, not only our legacy for Modesto’s future, but allowed the best soil on God’s green earth to be paved over.  Giving away 88 precious acres of some of best farmland in the world for 50 jobs has to be considered unacceptable. Over in Mountain House they insist on high quality jobs to be brought in or they turn the businesses away. I realize how desperate we are for jobs but we can’t afford a giveaway to “buddies” to line the pockets of a few.

The recent months with the Planning Commission have been similar to the opening skirmish of a major battle and the Modesto City Council will be the battleground.  The big guns/power brokers will be brought in to do battle in the main arena. Of notice was land use attorney/developers mouthpiece George Petrulakis sitting in the back of the room taking in the preliminary’s planning and  awaiting the spectacle yet to come.

General Plan Amendment Meeting Monday 9/16 at 6:00 PM 1010 Basement

Tonight is one of the last times if not the last time the public will get to influence the Planning Commission’s recommendations

Beyond the First Amendment

to the Modesto City Council.

Here is the supporting pdf: 091613_PC Agenda GPA WkShp

It’s yet another important meeting the Bee didn’t mention.

Are Voters Becoming Disenchanted with the Modesto City Council?

By Emerson Drake                    The Draper/Centerra Decision

 

Last night’s City Council meeting was true to form. The public was forgotten and ignored by most of those on the dias.  The

Modesto's Double Tree and Brenden Theater

Mayor was so distracted by his email that many times it appeared he wasn’t aware of his surroundings. But lets start at the public comment period.

 

Many members of this Council have conspired to keep information out of the public’s eye.  An example is the article written August 18th about a Finance Committee meeting where City Manager (C.M.) Gregg Nyhoff deliberately waited until it was too late to include his Summary of Reductions – Target $6 Million Report in the Finance Committee’s agenda packet.  His report, which highlighted recommendations for targeted budget reductions to the formal agenda, (where it would have been made available to the public ).  During the meeting Nyhoff passed the report out to the committee and members of the public attending the meeting. The Committee voted to accept the report without comment.  This was a decision made several weeks prior to the meeting. After all it would be difficult for Councilwoman Burnside to stand in front of the Modesto Police Officers Association (MPOA) after voting to eliminate 20 sworn positions if the sales tax doesn’t pass. With some members of our council one hand washes the other.

 

At a subsequent meeting of the Finance Committee on August 27 I requested the report to be included on the city’s website.  Unfortunately as of September 3rd they had failed to comply.  So at last night’s meeting I again pointed out it was a Brown Act meeting and as a result the City Manager’s Report should have been included in the minutes despite C.M. Nyhoff’s efforts to obfuscate it.  So when I protested again last night the now ‘clandestine’ reports absence, City Council Attorney Susanna Acala Wood weighed in stating since it was a Brown Act meeting the report should be included in the official record.  But Nyhoff and the council members had already achieved their goal of not having the Committee be forced to give their recommendations and to keep it out of the public’s eye. Bee reporter Kevin Valine was present at the meetings but has yet to write a word regarding the events at the meeting.

 

Brent Sinclair Supports Paul Draper Being Chosen (actually he was the one who chose Draper)

 

To hear Brent Sinclair make the case for Paul Draper to be chosen was ludicrous.  His main argument was since Draper was involved with his self named ‘Team Modesto’ and had spent hundreds of hours attempting to build his multi-use towers he deserved the council’s largess.  While I commend Draper for his attempt I don’t feel the need to grant him the ‘excess profits’ by allowing him to represent Modesto’s five properties in the sale to the state. From our point of view Draper was ‘given’ a bonus by allowing this to occur. Draper will receive $30,000 for every million dollars the city receives for its five properties.  And yes it comes from Modesto’s pocket.

 

Even a judge weighed in

 

The the Honorable Ricardo Cordova Superior Court judge, spoke for the need to use Draper.   Judge Cordova’s claim to fame in the ‘good old boy’ network was reducing the charges in former Stanislaus County Detective Kari Abbey’s case in the killing of Rita Elias.  His reasoning for using Draper was that time was of the essence.  This just didn’t ring true.  After all, these negotiations for the courthouse properties have been on going for quite some time  and as a result the need for haste seems very contrived.

 

Cordova’s fear tactics appear to have worked,

 

Talking with Councilman Geer after the meeting he said he had listened intently to both sides of the arguments being made but the Judge suggesting we could possibly lose the state money swayed his vote.  It could be suggested that was why Cordova was trotted out last night. I have to wonder if he was going to speak BEFORE Sunday’s article  exposing the Centerra / Draper / Archway Commons article came out or if he was recruited afterward…

 

Why are we waiting until the last minute to approve a consultant and why wasn’t it vetted by a Committee?

 

The Mayor and City Council were well aware of the history Paul Draper and his Centerra company have with Modesto’s Archway Commons project.  The outrageous profit unnecessarily paid to Centerra was just another example of behind the scene politics that seem to occur on a regular basis in Modesto.  Kudos to the Bee for finally discussing the seamy underbelly of Modesto politics. Unfortunately the Council has learned to rush forward at the last minute anything they hope to avoid much public discussion on.  Once again it was obvious if no committee vetted Draper being hired as a consultant/realtor no one could be held responsible in the future.  It’s all about the lack of accountability for Modesto’s politicians.  The exception to the rule would be Councilman John Gunderson who understood the concern for having a downtown court house,  voted against the ‘last minute’ consideration of Draper. Congratulations Councilman Gunderson for standing up for Modesto’s citizens and not falling for the contrived, last minute, rush job.

 

Mayor Marsh answering emails during the Council meeting

 

Mayor Marsh seemed to be trying to distance himself from all questions of Archway Commons and Draper’s Centerra.  Mayor Marsh had apparently decided if he ignored the speakers they would eventually just go away.  At one point he had to be called by name three times to get him to look up from his phone and respond to a question.  The City Attorney tried to cover for him by saying she was advising him not to answer the question of how much Draper would make for selling Modesto’s five properties along with those he already represented. But unfortunately for the Mayor, he didn’t have a clue his name was being called out loud.

 

Have the taxpayers given up?

 

It needs to be acknowledged only three people came to speak against using the Draper/Centerra  in connection with the downtown courthouse.  Yet five people, including a former Councilman took the time to write a letter to the editor protesting the possibility.  Why?  Maybe because they knew it would be a waste of time since the Mayor and Council have been steadfastly ignoring the wishes of the public and just have been listening to the ‘backroom’  denizens.

 

Will Modesto Voters Memory Improve?

 

I have to be honest I doubt it.  After all they (District 4 ) are considering electing a Village I developer/profiteer Bill Zoslocki to the Modesto City Council without laughing, spitting or reaching for the tar and feathers.  But we can always hope.

 

A Salidan’s Comments to the Modesto Planning Commission

By Jim Bonetti

The people of Salida have had to fight to protect our land ans homes every time a current Modesto mayor takes a notion to annex us.  We are aware of what you Chamber says of the mayors and councils. Every administration for the past 30 years has failed to do anything to improve business here because they did not know what to do or how to do it!

 

Salida CA - Salida, CA

You did manage to steal some nice pieces of Salida for Kaiser Hospital, Costco, Lowes, and Save Mart….THROUGH EXTORTION!  No Water without annexation!  Mr. Mayor, you did play by LAFCO’s rules, you sent out notices to farmers within 300 feet of the property to be annexed.  Not enough to get writers cramp, for sure.  Most of Salida never knew what hit us! Salida shrank a little more that day to feed Modesto’s gluttonous appetite for more tax money to spend.

You say you’re doing it for JOBS, JOBS, JOB!  That is crap and you know it.  You don’t care about jobs, REAL, GOOD PAYING JOBS.  You care about legacy, campaign donors, and what the people think of your progress and accomplishments! That’s what you care about.  I’ve been hearing all about some 27,000 jobs you will create by developing all of that PRIME FARMLAND and ANNEXING SALIDA. There is little that can compete with the gross farm product from that land.  You can’t develop ANYTHING that can compete with those farmers.  THEY know what they’re doing!  All of this speculation about commercial/industrial development in the greater “Beckwith Triangle”, which doesn’t much look like a triangle anymore, is your PIPE DREAM!

The jobs brought here will be lost somewhere else, but hey, why would companies want to move to Modesto anyway?  Modesto according to statistics, is the 6th worst town to live in, and the 6th WORSE RUN city and they don’t want to move there because there are fewer educated people there to work in their businesses.  I mentioned that fact at the “Transportation Workshop: meeting last year at city hall and was just ignored.  They had an agenda to promote and couldn’t be bothered with statistics.

Now, you think it’s high time, Mr. Marsh and Council, to do something outstanding for the constituents so they think you’re doing Mayor’s  job for once. You can pump up your tax base and developers can line their pockets!!  Something to pull Modesto out of the hole.  You’ll get a lot of tax money out of the people of Salida by annexing our town or cherry picking pieces of Salida because you think it’s the answer to what ails Modesto!  You figure to cure Modesto’s problem on the backs of the good people of Salida. WHAT A DESPICABLE ACT OF OPPRESSION!!  There is nothing you or your council can do or will do for Salida that we can’t do for ourselves with incorporation.  Water or no water , the people of Salida will make it happen.

You have been told EVERY TIME we DON”T WANT TO BE ANNEXED!! WHAT PART DON”T YOU UNDERSTAND??!!

By Jim Bonetti

Salida CA.

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

 

 

From a Concerned Citizen

Dear EyeonModesto,

 

 

I am in shock, disbelief, and have a very ugly feeling inside after attending last night’s Modesto City Council Meeting.

English: Author: Carl Skaggs This image was ta...

English: Author: Carl Skaggs This image was taken by me on January 14, 2010 in Modesto, California I hereby relinquish all rights to this photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The subject of concern was that of the Woodglen 533 residential project – the largest residential build in quite some time.  The Council voted to approve the project.

 

 

What I and other public members witnessed was the Council disregarding the majority of public comment against the Woodglen project.  Council members appeared to ignore the public’s concern about how the large 533 home subdivision of Woodglen would ADD to Modesto’s already large inventory of unsold foreclosure homes and ample supply of private rentals.  Allowing more residential building at this time would cause further residential real estate value loss to existing Modesto homeowners.

 

 

The Council seemed to ignore residents’ concern about safety issues posed by a new development of 533 homes from an already underserved city with fire and police protection.  The 682 EIR report had volumes of other concerns if this project were built.

 

 

The formal presentation was from City Planners (not the developer himself) and the planner who gave the presentation to the Council said NOT one word about the 176 high density multi-units being for low-income persons.  After attending several meetings on this project, there has never been any description of the 176 units meeting the RHNA housing mandate which accommodates low-income persons.

 

When a public member asked why isn’t a true description of the project being provided to the public which includes this project as a low-income project, evasive answers were given.  The Mayor even lied to the public when he said “the project is not low-income” (despite a public member’s quotation of the EIR which clearly says “”In accordance with Program 4.1 of the 2003 Housing Element (Chapter 6), ……the residential portion of this Specific Plan would yield 8 acres of land designated for multi-family development.  A minimum density of 22 units per acre would result in 176 housing units that can meet the needs of very low-and low-income households.”

 

 

This City Council pushes through their own agenda – with not listening to public sentiment or protecting public interests.  This council appeared to only serve the developer’s interests and the City plan.  Clear concerns of the public do not seem to make any impact.   Be careful who you vote for.

 

 

D. Minighini

 

Modesto resident

 

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