"Modesto’s General Plan amendment (GPA) project will modernize the General Plan goal and policy framework, and will result in a revised land use designation program intended to facilitate enhanced economic development. Regarding the Circulation Element, the GPA will identify priority locations and infrastructure projects, and establish stronger links to funding policies, programs and sources. Transportation corridors are a primary focus of the project, in terms of enhanced economic development potential, including mixed-use development, improved travel mode choice options and safety."
Last Monday (Sept 16) spelled the end for public meetings (also called "public workshops") on Modesto's General Plan update. Public meetings began in March for the City of Modesto's expansion into surrounding Stanislaus County land, including Salida. Salida has been in Modesto's General Plan since the mid-1990's when then Modesto Mayor, Dick Lang, sought to annex Salida and the Wood Colony area (see: A brief history of Salida and a past annexation attempt)
At the first four public meetings held by Modesto's Community and Economic Development Department, public comments had been made requesting Salida be removed from Modesto's General Plan update. Much to the utter shock and surprise of those requesting the removal, Modesto's Planners actually acquiesced to this request citing in the August meeting packet on page 3: "The Salida planning area is removed due to the significant public input in opposition to its continued inclusion."
|Modesto's General Plan Update with Salida removed.|
|Modesto Planning Commission's BIG VOTE - 4 to 3!|
While its definitely a victory for Salida to be removed from Modesto's General Plan Update, Salida is not quite in the free and clear yet on several levels. The next step is for the General Plan Update to be submitted to the Modesto City Council to be voted upon and approved or rejected. Its unknown how the Modesto City Council will vote on the Plan; but if I had to guess, there will be at least one vote to reject the Plan in favor of Salida being added back in and that vote would be from the person in the most denial about the annexation of Salida: Garrad Marsh. Hopefully, the other city council members have a firmer grip on the reality of the situation as Modesto's City Planners do.
While the Modesto City Council passing the Plan would be a great feat towards staving off full-scale annexation, Salida still faces a fight to fend off another land grab by Modesto. Part of the revised General Plan Update calls for the addition of land south of Kiernan Avenue between Stoddard and the land east known as "Kiernan Business Park East". This land has been designated to Salida by Stanislaus County as part of the 2007 Salida Community Plan. The showdown over this land will likely happen at LAFCO. Salida residents will need to turn out and fight for it. Every land grab that Modesto makes upon Salida hurts the economic future for Salida's tax base as a future city. An example of how such a land grab has hurt Salida, is that Salida could've likely incorporated by now with the sales and property tax revenue that Costco and surrounding businesses generate. And just so you know, Salidans did repeatedly appeal to the Planning Commission for this land to be removed from the Plan Update as well, but to no avail.
Another vital land grab that has the potential to hurt the future of Salida, are the 1,800 acres of land added in Wood Colony. In the original General Plan Update, the
|Modesto's General Plan Update proposal for|
the "Beckwith Triangle". (The red along Hwy 99
is "regional commercial", the purple is
"business park" and the green is
Additionally, the citizens of Wood Colony have been caught off guard by the Plan amendment and vote. Unlike Salida, many citizens of Wood Colony were sent letters inviting them to attend this latest General Plan Update "workshop". Approximately 10-15 residents did attend and many of them spoke at the meeting; reiterating the need to preserve the prime farmland and water recharge benefits of Wood Colony. But it was a little too late. This large land grab in their community was added late in the game and unlike what Salidans have been able to do for months in having our comments noted for consideration by the City Planners and Planning Commission for the next meeting, there will be no more meetings unless
|Revised plan for Wood Colony|
Blue-purple area denotes a combo
of Business Park/Industrial.
Green asterisk is a Regional Park.
If the Modesto City Council approves the General Plan Update, this will pave the way for a repeat of the "Battle of '96 at LAFCO" with Salida and Wood Colony, side by side, fighting to save their land from being gobbled up by Modesto.