At a Riverbank City Council meeting held on Monday, Nov. 10 due to the Nov. 11 observance of Veterans’ Day, the council met as the board of the Local Redevelopment Agency operating the former Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant, known now as the Riverbank Industrial Complex on Claus Road.
Agency Executive Director Debbie Olson presented the board with specifics of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to the Army’s Economic Development Conveyance application for transfer of the plant to the agency’s full control.
In 2005, the Defense Base Closure Commission recommended the closure of the ammunition plant, becoming law when Congress did not change the recommendation. The slow moving process of the Reuse Plan anticipates continued use of the property as an industrial park.
The MOA is the next critical step in moving the transfer of the property forward. The document includes real estate terms and conditions between the City of Riverbank and the Army. It identifies the requirements, restrictions, reservations, conditions, exceptions and procedures for executing the transfer.
The primary issue that must be dealt with before the Riverbank LRA will acquire the property is environmental remediation obligations and regulatory approval. Both federal and state standards for the work must be met by the Army or funding provided from the feds to the city to meet the obligations to complete the work. Further agreements between the parties could be necessary to meet the standards associated with the work to meet EPA and state standards.
Spokesmen for the law firm hired by the LRA told the council that responsibility for environmental damage and repair at the site will always be on the federal government as part of the transfer.
The complex includes 102 acres total, with the execution of the MOA resulting in the Army providing bills-of-sale for the remaining surplus equipment and personal property on the site, and the transfer of 27.66 acres of undeveloped property at the northern end of the site.
In other action at the Monday session, meeting as the city council, members discussed the groundwork for the annexation and development of land west of Oakdale Road. The anticipated project would require a Specific Plan, a General Plan amendment, and an Environmental Impact Report. Dubbed the Crossroads West project, it would require additional funding to cover staffing, legal and special consultant charges anticipated, according to John Anderson, contract Development Department head for the city.
As presented, the project would extend from Oakdale Road westward to roughly halfway to Coffee Road and from Claribel Road north to the MID canal. It would include the current Riverbank Sports Complex on Morrill Road, which presently is on county land.
Riverbank City Manager Jill Anderson also said that the project would include a site for a school, presumably a middle school campus for the Sylvan School District. At present, middle school students who live in Crossroads are bussed to Ustach School in Modesto.
Also present was Stanislaus Consolidated Fire District Chief Randall Bradley, who told the council of plans they have to build a second fire station on the west side of town, possibly on Coffee Road. He said it would allow his firefighters to respond more easily to incidents west of the railroad tracks. Now, engines responding that way that are blocked by a train must rely on mutual aid response from Modesto Fire. The Consolidated District includes coverage all the way down McHenry to the Modesto city limits.
After being assured that future development will continue to pay its own way, the council voted 3-0 to authorize the City Manager to enter into the Advanced Funding Agreement for the project. Council members Jeannine Tucker and Leanne Jones-Cruz were absent.