The Riverbank City Council and its Planning Commission gathered in a special joint session this past week to hear about plans to develop the Crossroads West shopping and residential areas west of Oakdale Road.
The meeting was held just prior to the Planning Commission’s regular third Tuesday gathering on Sept. 18.
Mayor Richard O’Brien expressed his appreciation for the brevity of the workshop, which lasted only 37 minutes, saying he was hoping not to disrupt the Commission’s regular work.
Unlike a usual public hearing type of presentation, there were no questions allowed from the public. Presenter John Anderson told the assembled audience that those hearings would come soon, when action on the specific plan came before the Commission, then the City Council, expected to happen before the end of the year.
Anderson said the project, if approved, could go to the Local Agency Formation Commission by springtime 2019. Hopefully, development could begin by next summer.
The presentation Anderson made outlined the high points of the coming project, describing some of the requirements of the specific plan, designed to let developers know the standards to which they must adhere while building the different parts of the project.
The first, possibly most notable element of the project is its size ... or lack thereof.
As the main Crossroads projects, to the east of Oakdale Road, were being completed, back in the early 2000s, city staff and council members serving at the time speculated that the next expansion of the city would likely extend from Oakdale Road to Coffee Road, to the west, and from Claribel to Morrill roads, north and south.
What Anderson showed the workshop last week was a much smaller project, although still sizable in its scope.
The proposed Crossroads West will, in fact, stretch from Claribel to Morrill roads, but only go halfway from Oakdale Road, to the west, not to Coffee Road, but stopping at about the MID lateral canal that slices diagonally through the area.
The southern portion, bounded by the canal, Claribel and Oakdale roads, is proposed for more shopping center, with attendant parking areas. Further to the north, the main MID canal is the border.
Anderson said that northern residential area will be connected by a new north-south street extending from Morrill down to Claribel, with its southern tip coming through the shopping center. And along the western edge of that road, he’s expecting to include a linear park that will serve somewhat as a buffer between the western agricultural neighborhood and also as basins to handle increased storm water runoff from the area.
An additional feature, he said, would be the inclusion, in the Morrill Road area, of both a new elementary school and a middle school, to be operated by the Sylvan School district. And he said it is expected that the Sports Complex, north of Morrill, could expand to roughly twice its size.
Also, he noted, the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire District is planning to build a fire station somewhere in the project.
Neither council nor commission members voiced questions at the end of the presentation, so the workshop was adjourned, the council members left, and the Planning Commission continued to its regularly scheduled meeting.
For those who might want to prepare before the public hearings coming up for approval of the project, a trip to the city’s website reveals a much more detailed version of the actual Specific Plan, which was drafted in June 2018.
Searching for “Crossroads West Specific Plan” on the city’s website, www.riverbank.org, brings up a page with links to the many documents that are part of the project. The Draft Plan is 184 pages long just by itself.