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Raboy explains Galt growth initiative to chamber task force

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Posted: Friday, June 21, 2002 10:00 pm

Galt’s annual residential growth rate will be 5 percent unless the city experiences considerable business growth, Vice Mayor Tim Raboy told about 35 people Friday night at a forum about his growth management initiative.

The initiative, which appears headed for the November ballot, was discussed at the forum, sponsored by the Galt District Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Committee, at the Valley Oaks Grange Hall.

Raboy emphasized the 5 percent residential growth figure in an attempt to alleviate fears in the community that his initiative calls for little growth. Residential growth has averaged 4 to 4.5 percent the past five years, Raboy said.

“If growth is not 5 percent, why do we need the ordinance?” said Bob Dees, who owns a meat processing business on Twin Cities Road. “There’s nobody banging on the door. We’re handcuffing future councils.”

Raboy said Galt "is on the verge of some massive residential growth,” which could spike the growth rate to 20 or 25 percent.

Without the initiative, Raboy predicted that PG&E Properties would return to the City Council with a controversial proposal to build more than 6,000 homes east of Highway 99.

PG&E Properties submitted the controversial East Area Specific Plan several years ago. The City Council voted down the plan in 2000. Attorney Gregory Thatch, representing PG&E Properties, said last year his client might submit a smaller proposal — about 1,330 homes — on the 433 acres PG&E owns. The original proposal covered about 2,200 acres.

Under the 5 percent growth rate, residential growth would be limited to 308 homes per year. A 4 percent growth rate would allow 247 homes.

Under a complex formula, Raboy said the number of homes allowed would be based on a base year city revenue of $4.9 million. Each year, the base year revenue would be multiplied by the consumer price index for the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area. That amount would then be added to create a new base year revenue for Galt.

City revenue must be at least 115 percent of the new base year revenue to reduce the growth rate from 5 percent to 4 percent, the initiative says. The initiative would take effect July 1, 2003.

The initiative would not apply to building permits issued for structures not designed for human habitation, multifamily dwellings, replacement of existing dwelling units or projects consisting of four dwelling units.

Raboy said the ordinance would be declared unconstitutional if low-income housing was disallowed.

The only way to lower Galt’s growth rate from 5 percent, he said, is to bring more businesses into Galt so that residents won’t shop so much in Lodi or Elk Grove.

Barbara Wiswell, chairwoman of the Economic Development Committee, asked Raboy how revenue can be enhanced when Galt businesses are struggling as it is.

“Let me ask you, ‘Why aren’t residents supporting your businesses?’ ” Raboy asked Wiswell.

“I still don’t understand how the initiative will help business in Galt,” chamber chairwoman Danni Van Lone said.

“You do that by having your citizens shop in your own community,” Raboy replied.

Raboy added that the renovation of Galt’s Oldtown area west of Lincoln Way should attract more businesses.

Several residents, including Dees and former City Councilman Orvell Fletcher, decisions such as growth should be made by the City Council, not at the ballot.

Raboy said the initiative is intended to prevent a future pro-growth City Council from approving major projects.

Wiswell said neither the chamber nor the Economic Development Task Force have taken a stand on the initiative.

“Currently, there is insufficient information available to support an informed decision,” Wiswell said.

A thorough budgetary analysis demonstrating the initiative’s fiscal impact to the city will be needed, she said.

After the 90-minute forum, Raboy said he was pleased with the outcome.

“I tried to explain everything to everybody,” Raboy said. “Nobody should have any more questions, right?”

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