The second reading of the Crossroads West Specific Plan was recently approved by a 5-0 vote of the Riverbank City Council. During the council meeting the unfinished item began with City Manager Sean Scully having the City Attorney Tom Hallinan address the council due to a letter that was received from the law firm Best Best & Krieger LLP representing Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District that requested that the city put the second reading on hold due to some concerns and the possibility of litigation.
Hallinan stated, “We should present the letter for the record but it will not be part of the public record for purposes of any legal challenge that they want to make. Frankly that train left the station a long time ago in my opinion. For that reason I see no reason to continue the matter at their request. We are happy to meet with them as we always are but again for purposes of going forward tonight I see no reason not to.”
There was no one from SCFPD at that council meeting on March 26 nor were they at the first reading of the Crossroads West Specific Plan which council member Cal Campbell expressed was disappointing, especially since they discussed the issue thoroughly at the first reading.
Scully added that there is a long time period between the approval of the second reading and when the project will be presented to LAFCo, the Local Agency Formation Commission, for annexation approval.
“So that gives at least 90 days for us to meet with the district,” said Scully at the city council meeting. “We have already sent out a number of different messages to them trying to seek a meeting date with the interested party so we can talk through a number of the items that they outline in their previous letter, most of which we think are easily addressed with regard to the plan and others will have to have a discussion about the best way to help them figure out how to manage the project moving forward.”
According to SCFPD Public Information Officer Captain Buck Condit, the district believes the Crossroads project to be in violation of state law and that the city has failed to demonstrate that the project is consistent with numerous policies in the City’s General Plan in regards to fire safety.
“As such, we have not seen sufficient evidence that conditions have been imposed that would ensure that this project provides appropriate funding to mitigate its impact upon the fire district,” stated Condit. “The burden is on the city to demonstrate compliance. Since 2017, the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District has sent numerous correspondence to the city detailing its concerns.”
On April 1 SCFPD held a meeting to discuss the City of Riverbank’s approval of the Crossroads West Project. Scully attended that meeting and spoke to the board about some possibilities to alleviate their concerns.
After the meeting last week, the Fire District requested that the city enter into a tolling agreement by the end of the week so they could conduct a thorough analysis of numbers and other concerns that were brought up.
The city provided the District a draft on Friday to comply with their request and held a special meeting on Tuesday, April 9 in a closed session to discuss this situation with the council.
Moving forward, Scully advised that he was glad to have the open dialogue with the District and has a positive outlook that they will be able to come together and resolve some of their concerns.