By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
City Adopts General Plan
Placeholder Image
The City of Riverbank - on its fourth try - finally adopted a revised general plan and an environmental impact report at its April 22 meeting.

The general plan update is the first since the late 1980s and the document that city planners will use to guide the city's growth over the next 20 years.

The initial plan drew some controversy especially in its provisions for protection of farmland and provoked postponements of approval at three previous meetings this year.

At a March 4 meeting, some speakers suggested the farmland mitigation strategy should require a developer to purchase an agricultural easement of one acre for every acre of land converted to urban use, Community Development Director J. D. Hightower noted in his staff report.

The proposed conservation element that staff had prepared based the ratio on a Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) developed by the State Department of Conservation and did not refer to a specific mitigation ratio but left the ratio open for analysis by a committee charged with developing a farmland mitigation ordinance.

At that meeting, however, Councilmember Jesse James White called for a return to the simpler 1 to 1 ratio of agricultural land to developed urban land originally proposed.

For the April 22 meeting, accordingly, staff proposed, among other options:

Plans to convert important farmland shall mitigate such loss on a 1:1 acreage basis through conservation easements or other methods of prohibiting urban development on agricultural lands of similar quality.

The city will prepare a sustainable agricultural strategy aimed at providing flexibility so it can be tied to land use and regional preservation policies and funded on a fair-share basis by those projects that have a significant impact on the conversion of important farmlands to urban use. In determining the level of significance, it is the intent of the city to require quantifiable, measurable inputs and mitigate for significant impact.