Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “SPRAWL”

Local Candidates Didn’t Want You to See What They Were About to Do

By Emerson Drake                       modestologo

On Wednesday March 25, 2015, the Modesto City Council held a special meeting away from video recording devices.  Ostensibly it was to decide if they should send a letter in support of five other cities in Stanislaus County regarding a decision the Local Agency Formation Commission better known as LAFCO, made.  The Commission isn’t sexy or well known but is vitally important when it comes to setting boundaries and settling disputes.

But let us begin the conversation  with a little ground work.  LAFCO was intending to set actual values to the in-lieu of fees part of the mitigation discussion.  Several cities proposed setting their own fees.  For example LAFCO research suggested for the fees to be meaningful the price needed to be around $7,000 per acre and Patterson for one, was proposing $2,000 per acre of prime farmland.

The Special Meeting with NO Video Recording

LAFCO’s intention of visiting the fees has been public knowledge for several weeks.  They notified the Modesto City Council by email two weeks prior to the meeting according to Mayor Marsh.  And of course they posted their agenda as required by law.   The special meeting was requested by Council members Kenoyer, Cogdill, Zoslocki, and Lopez.  The topic of the fees could have been dealt with at the last meeting of the city council but instead they choose to have a meeting not in their official chambers but in a small meeting room, 2001, on the second floor.

Six members of the public were present Craig Lewis, Brad Barker,  Cathy Zoslocki, Kevin Valine,  myself, and Tom Halan,  the Patterson City Attorney ( if I got that name wrong I’m sorry, who just happened to be in the building on other business).

When the Council members weighed in Jenny Kenoyer said she didn’t understand what LAFCO was intending to do  and she didn’t appreciate the last minute meetings with out prep time.  Dave Cogdill complained about  the cities losing control of their mitigation fees.  Bill  Zoslocki claimed it was an over reach by LAFCO.   Dave Lopez said LAFCO was over stepping their bounds and claimed Jenny Kenoyer agreed with him.  He also blamed Mayor Marsh for not writing a letter supporting the other cities. During the meeting Kenoyer never commented on Lopez’s remarks.  And John Gunderson said he needed more time to think about whatever it was LAFCO intended on doing.    Marsh tried to explain LAFCO was just setting a price so there would be a level playing field for all of the cities but Kenoyer and Gunderson just had a blank look on their faces.  The others just kept repeating their previous comments like mantras. Just saying the same thing over again.  The work of developer special interests was obvious.

Now I realize this sounds like just sound bites but it was the entire text of their statements at this point.   Each of them, talked twice and they just repeated their brief statements.

Members from the public

Brad Barker went first and was the most eloquent and informative.  He carefully explained to Kenoyer and Gunderson what LAFCO’s intent was and walked them through the chaos that would ensue if each city could set their own fee levels.  The Patterson City Attorney just restated the cities should be allowed to keep control of their own fees.  I reminded the Council of the Patterson building fees which were woefully short on being able to build the needed infrastructure for the tarffic which eventually come  and that the County had to step in to pay for the costs of rebuilding the roads.  Also having seen the blank faces of Gunderson and Kenoyer,  I tried once again to explain what was happening later on that night at the LAFCO meeting.  Craig Lewis read some of Ed Persike’s op ed piece from the Bee that day and also trotted out the book the Coming Jobs War which actually says to do the exact opposite of what he, the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and the developers are pushing for.  But unfortunately as we learned at a Modesto Planning Commission meeting, most of the commissions members who opened the book didn’t read past the first few pages (one to two pages) and unfortunately, the general public has read even less.  But pretending to relay information from a book gives the air of knowledge.  Unfortunately it just makes it easier to manipulate them.

At the end of the short meeting Kenoyer and Marsh voted against sending the letter and Cogdill,  Zoslocki, Gunderson, and Lopez voted for the City Manager to send a letter in support of the other cities.  In other words,  at this point in time in the City of Modesto,  special interests rule.  After the meeting they each stuck to their short sound bites.  Especially Gunderson. He had that feral, almost goofy look  he gets.  You know the one a child gets when they think they have fooled you and just kept saying he needed more time to consider everything over and over again as if that explained everything away.

The Four Who Were Shills for Developers Promoting SPRAWL


The Bottom Line

LAFCO, thanks to Terry Withrow,  Jim DeMartini,  and Matt Beekman made us all proud and went forward and set the price for land fee mitigation in the amount of $7,000 per acre.

The following are the letters sent by various groups both for and against LAFCO’s proposal.



Attn John Gunderson Please Try Being Informed and NOT just Opinionated

By Emerson Drake    jgunderson

On July 26th Modesto City Councilman John Gunderson wrote an article under Community Columns John Gunderson: Clear thinking needed on Salida annexation issue where he makes several dubious and completely wrong claims.  Now we can’t tell you if just can’t comprehend what he reads or is just being malicious.  What we can say is when he relayed his columns to fellow council members, staff and others (yes the result of a public record request) where he claims to have done the research himself. The above photo is the Councilman’s ‘official’ picture.  The below one is the one he posted of how he see’s himself on facebook.  jJohnGunderson

Unfortunately Councilman Gunderson  has been wrong on this issue for a long time but to make specious claims he says he researched? well here is Katherine Borges’  response in its entirety. Her original post 

Fun from Cat and Gundy -or- John Gunderson Salida Facebook post #4 and my reply

John Gunderson’s new profile pic of “me”. Which ironically
(and eerily) looks just like my cat.

Well folks, Modesto City Councilman John Gunderson is at it again. I must really crawl under that guy’s skin because he can’t seem to go a week without a Facebook post on Salida. This week, he regurgitated an e-mail I wrote to the council in June regarding a tip I received from a Salidan that Modesto had hired a consultant to help them annex Salida. 

My cat. Rescued as a kitten
from the intersection of
Woodland & Carpenter.

While both Mayor Marsh and city planner, Patrick Kelly replied that the city didn’t hire Keith Bergthold as an annexation consultant, there’s something still amiss here. Why would Bergthold tell his Fresnan friend that he had an eighteen month contract otherwise? Perhaps it was just being bandied about and was all verbal at that point? Either way, its DOA now because the city can’t very well go and hire him after denying that they hadn’t. And how effective would he be with any kind of collaboration building with Salida? (Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.)

Councilman Gunderson can’t help but crank up the old propaganda machine starting right in the second sentence with, “Think the Goodwin Study would have been enough, the annexation concept was proven to be a bad idea.” First of all, anyone want to wager that Councilman Gunderson has NOT read nor thoroughly examined the Goodwin Study? Because if he had, he would know it shows that Modesto would stand to rake in $22.8 million a year in revenue in annexing Salida at full build out of the Salida Community Plan. How does that prove the annexation concept is a bad idea? And if it were proven to be a bad idea, then why is Modesto keeping Salida in their general plan? Councilman Gunderson wrote in his community column just two weeks ago that, “…the majority of the Modesto City Council feels (annexation) is still a possibility“. And he says I have “nothing to worry about???”

And once again, the councilman nay says Salida incorporating, “Should stop worrying about incorporation for Salida as well because that can’t happen either.” I previously responded to his comment about whether or not Salida can be incorporated, but it apparently didn’t register in his brain so I’ll say it again, “Keep in mind that no one has ever applied to incorporate Salida as a city. If no one has ever tried, how does anyone know whether or not it can be done?

Available land in
Beard Industrial Park
What he also doesn’t seem to comprehend is only supplying water in exchange for land -IS- extortion when you supply water to other areas without forcing them to turn over their land! To put it into language he’ll understand, its known as an “out-of-boundary service agreement” and the council approves them all the time. And once again, I’m going to call him out on his double standard for trying to justify water extortion by saying “Modesto ratepayers deserve better” when Beard Industrial’s sweetheart deal costs ratepayers and the city millions upon millions each year. The city of Modesto supplies both water AND sewer to Beard without annexing the land. (Read more about Beard)
Lastly, Councilman Gunderson said, “Modesto’s water should be leveraged for the best possible outcome that helps pay for services for residents of Modesto proper, not the surrounds.” When the City of Modesto purchased the Del Este Water Company in the mid-1990’s, they took over the existing wells and infrastructure in Waterford, Grayson, Del Rio, part of Turlock and Salida. So technically, they bought Salida’s (et al) water so its not “Modesto’s water” he wants to “leverage” to begin with. Our water comes primarily from wells in Salida so he wants to leverage our own water against us! Additionally, development occurs in all of those other former Del Este served communities and yet, Modesto does not “leverage” the water by extorting land from them; except in Salida.

In case you were wondering why Councilman Gunderson is so fixated on Salida its because if Salida were annexed, we would be assimilated into his district. That’s right, we would be the constituents of a man who feels water extortion upon us is justified because the majority Modesto residents in his district “deserve better” than the Salidans.

“The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.” – Aldous Huxley

Stay tuned for more “fun” from Cat and Gundy…at some point in the next 7 days – –


More fun from “Cat”. Think the Goodwin Study would have been enough, the annexation concept was proven to be a bad idea. Catherine has nothing to worry about on that. Should stop worrying about incorporation for Salida as well because that can’t happen either. Refusing City of Modesto water for new development within the Salida TPA… refusal is extortion? Modesto ratepayers deserve better than that. Modesto’s water should be leveraged for the best possible outcome that helps pay for services for residents of Modesto proper, not the surrounds. Development outside of a city’s limits is a losing proposition because of the State’s mandated property tax distribution scheme. 

Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2014 12:48 PM
To: COUNCIL; Brad Wall; Patrick Kelly; Terry Withrow; Vito Chiesa; Dick Monteith; Jim DeMartini; Bill O’Brien; Marjorie Blom; George Petrulakis
To the Modesto City Council:
I received the following from a Salidan today, “My father lives in Fresno and is friends with a man named Keith Bergthold. Keith told my dad he was hired by the city of Modesto to see what can be done about annexing Salida.”
I’ve met Mr. Bergthold at the Carpenter’s Church General Plan presentation in May and I also attended the April Stanislaus Community Foundation breakfast that was connected with Fresno Metro Ministries.
So you can fire Mr. Bergthold because HELL WILL FREEZE OVER before you ANNEX SALIDA or the Kiernan Corridor! Get that through your thick skulls!! How many different ways and from different people do you need to hear that before it sinks in?!? It doesn’t appear that turning out hundreds of people to voice that works since both Salida and Wood Colony have done that!!
I’ve told you once if I’ve told you a thousand times, we are willing to work with you if you want to develop the Kiernan Corridor (although I don’t know why since you are so IMPOSSIBLE, OBSTINATE and DYSFUNCTIONAL about our communities) BUT YOU’RE NOT GOING TO JUST TAKE SALIDA NO MATTER WHOM YOU HIRE!!! Your status quo land grab days are over!!! Get a clue!!!
Since you have a contract with Mr. Bergthold, why don’t you have him use his remaining time in educating you about “build up, not out”. Fresno has done well with that. Look around their Kaiser Hospital and then look around Modesto’s. And in the meantime, LEAVE SALIDA and WOOD COLONY ALONE you greed-driven sellouts!!!
Very sincerely,
Katherine Borges

On Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 1:53 PM, Garrad Marsh wrote:
You are wrong about Mr. Bergthold being hired by the city. Mr. Bergthold has not been hired (or to my knowledge even contacted) by any City of Modesto employee or elected.

From: Katherine Borges [mailto:salidakat@
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2014 2:02 PM
To: Garrad Marsh
Cc: COUNCIL; Brad Wall; Patrick Kelly; Terry Withrow; Vito Chiesa; Dick Monteith; Jim DeMartini; Bill O’Brien; Marjorie Blom; George Petrulakis
Mr. Mayor,
WHO hired him then? I was told he has an 18-month contract. Emerson has filed a public information request with the city. Even if it turns out that you’re right and the city has nothing to do with it, then you need to find out who working to annex Salida on your behalf. I want nothing to do with this man and will not contact him. His e-mail is: Keith.Bergthold@

On Jun 4, 2014, at 2:47 PM, “Patrick Kelly” wrote:
This is to confirm that the City did not hire Keith Bergthold. Keith represents Fresno Metro Ministries and has volunteered his time to work with Stanislaus Community Foundation to look at asset based community development. At Keith’s request, the City presented the General Plan Amendment proposal at a community workshop (hosted by Metro Ministries) held on May 8, 2014, intended to inform the public about Modesto’s General Plan Amendment currently underway. At Keith’s request, the workshop also included a presentation by Carlos Yamzon, Executive Director with StanCOG about the 2014 Regional Transportation Plan / Sustainable Communities Strategy. The intent of the presentation format was to share with the public Modesto’s General Plan Amendment proposal in context of StanCOG’s regional plan.
Patrick Kelly, AICP

From: Keith <Keith@
Date: June 4, 2014 at 3:37:17 PM PDT
To: Patrick Kelly < >
Cc: Katherine Borges <salidakat@ Garrad Marsh < >, COUNCIL < >, Brad Wall < >, Terry Withrow < >, Vito Chiesa” < >, Dick Monteith < >, Jim DeMartini < >, “Bill O’Brien” < >, Marjorie Blom < >, George Petrulakis < >, “Brent Sinclair” <>, “kberg@ <kberg@>

Thank you Patrick. I have no idea where such false assertions mentioned below with respect to the City of Modesto and Salida or contracts with the City might originate. I have been volunteering with various groups in Modesto, Fresno, Madera, and Kern around community building for healthy people and healthy places – which is a regional initiative and goal of Fresno Metro Ministry. Please have people contact me directly to confirm my activities and intent. Thank you again for sharing this information. Regards, keith


Things You Need to Know and Won’t Read Anywhere Else

By Emerson Drake

MID Has a New Back Door Man


Lyons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Modesto Irrigation District was discussing creating their Water Advisory Committee there were only a few major requirements. Being knowledgeable regarding water issues, understanding a successful business model, and most importantly, and without exception, not running for the MID Board in the fall. Most of the people nominated and approved fall into that category. But it seems we have one MAJOR exception. The Water Advisory Committee Chairman Jim Mortensen has been seeking financial supporters in an apparent run for office for District 4.  And he has apparently found one in Bill Lyons. Lyons, who supported Glen Wild, Tom Van Groningen, and Paul Warda to name the ones still on the Board  through his Beckwith-Dakota LLC,  has pledged his support. Bill Lyons has been milking MID for every penny he can, and has found a new shill to put into office. Unfortunately the people Lyons’ supported in the past are responsible for many of the terrible decisions made by MID.  And since  Jim Mortensen won’t or refuses (you choose) to honor his pledge NOT to run for the MID Board then how can anyone in good conscience vote for him?  The public should DEMAND his removal at the next MID Board meeting.  The meeting  scheduled for May 28 has been cancelled. Maybe now we know why.

Along those same lines we keep hearing Carol Whiteside (of Martino Graphic Designs funneled money fame) is considering a run for the MID Board. Ms. Whiteside who collected a minimum of $15,000 (not invoiced by her company, California Strategies) from MID through Martino Graphics ,has been contacting Board members to arrange meetings.  The last time she pulled this stunt she was being directed by Tom Van Groningen and Glen Wild (they were the only Board members aware of the surreptitious arrangement with Martino Graphics.  Neither the rest  of the MID Board nor the public are clear on what she did to earn the money (except to study MID records according to Tom VanGroningen). Apparently for the friends of a chosen few, MID is the gift that keeps on giving. With her record of receiving funds under the table from MID, I don’t understand how she could consider running but then maybe she’s talking with Billy Lyons too.

The Modesto Chamber of Commerce’s new Bible vs Their Plan,  Pathways to Growth

The book is “The Coming Jobs War” by Jim Clifton (Chairman of Google) and is quite interesting.  I’ve heard several members of the Chamber tout this book as a must read for planning Modesto’s future.  The funny thing about people pushing books allegedly supporting their actions is that most people never get around to reading them.  Come on, it’s no indictment against anyone but most people aren’t readers.  It’s just a fact of life and the Chamber knows it.  So all they feel they have to do is wave a book by Google’s Chairman and people will accept anything they say as Gospel. Unfortunately for the Chamber some of us are readers.  I finished it last week.  Would it surprise you to learn that most of the Chamber’s proposals run contrary to what the book espouses?  It shouldn’t because that’s how the Modesto Chamber of Commerce rolls.  These are the same people when they ran short of money to finish paying for refurbishing Modesto’s Arch were saying they were asking the city for a loan but had  City Manager Gregg Nyhoff place on the agenda a request for a one time gift.  Now that’s hardly the same thing.  I pointed this out during the City Council agenda meeting and when it came to the Council meeting, Councilman Cogdill expressed concern at using public money and the Chamber’s head lobbyist, Cecil Russell, ask for it to be pulled from the agenda.  It’s in the record so feel free to check it out. The print media never mentioned that to you did they?

I’ll be placing an annotated list of quotes taken word for word from the book so YOU can compare the two divergent philosophy’s (the Chamber’s and the book’s author).

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.


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

Is the Proposed WOODGLEN Project Right for Modesto?

May 6, 2013

ghost subdivision

ghost subdivision (Photo credit: reallyboring)May 6, 2013

City of Modesto Planning Commission
(Sandra Lucas, Ted Brandvoid, Patricia Gillum, Chris Tyler, Steve Carter, Dennis Smith,
Marshall Riddle)
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
reduce GHG.
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.
Water Quality
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.
D. Minighini
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


Post Navigation