By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ag Preservation - Mayors Pressing Forward With Map
Placeholder Image
The Stanislaus County Mayors Group is moving forward with an agricultural preservation 2050 map. The group met on Nov. 2 at Turlock City Hall to discuss the county-wide effort to create growth and agriculture preservation lines for all nine incorporated cities in the county.

The map is the first stage in the Mayors Group's effort to create a countywide plan for city growth and agricultural boundaries. The map has met with resistance from several cities in Stanislaus County, including Oakdale, after city councils were asked to draw and vote on a 2050 city boundary map by December.

Confusion may have stemmed from a December deadline pushed by the mayors to coincide with a Stanislaus County Local Agency Formation Commission meeting. LAFCO asked for an update on the mayors' efforts by its Dec. 7 meeting. By showing some progress, the mayors hoped to avoid an ag mitigation plan, which they say would save less ag land - by preserving an acre of ag land for each acre developed, it would save 50 percent at best - and would also be more costly to developers.

The group was invited by Stanislaus LAFCO to attend a March 23 workshop to discuss agricultural land preservation strategies. The Mayors Group requested a three-month extension on the meeting to come up with some preservation strategy. The 2050 map was proposed as a starting point for the Mayors Group's preservation plan. The mayors hoped to have the county map approved and finalized by all nine cities by Dec. 7, a deadline which they will probably not meet.

"I'm not saying it's perfect, I'm not saying this is what we're going to end up with, but it's a beginning," said Modesto Mayor Jim Ridenour, chair of the Mayors Group.

Oakdale Mayor Pat Paul started discussion among the county's mayors and city planners when she drew a map line so large that it took nearly one third of Stanislaus County for Oakdale's 2050 line. Planners, Oakdale City Council member Tom Dunlop, and the city Planning Commission have since reduced the size of Oakdale's planned expansion. City Council, however, tabled discussion of a 2050 line until the Oakdale General Plan Update is complete.

"We need time and I don't want to force this... I'd like to join in but I want to be respectful of the citizens," Paul said at the Mayors Group meeting.

Riverbank City Council discussed the 2050 Agricultural Conservation and Growth Management Strategy on Oct. 24. Riverbank proposed sticking with their General Plan growth boundaries. Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueño said that the map was only part of a bigger need to regionalize decisions in Stanislaus County. The Mayor's group and Stanislaus County have identified transportation, land use, revenue sharing, utilities, and economic development as regional issues.

"The public should weigh in, but they should weigh in on the entire issue," Madueño said.