The Lodi City Council allocated $500,000 in November to pay for property rezoning along the Armstrong Road corridor to keep the area agricultural, but San Joaquin County staff claim that isn't enough.
County Community Development Director Kerry Sullivan said Monday that the city of Lodi needs to pay either $122,000 or $160,000 extra to cover the county's expenses to process a specific plan and environmental impact report to rezone land in the Armstrong Road area.
The City Council voted 4-1 in November to appropriate the $500,000 after council members and Armstrong Road-area residents reached a compromise that ended 15 years of fighting between people wanting a greenbelt separating Lodi from Stockton and property owners who wanted the freedom to do as they please with their land.
Lodi farmer Bruce Fry, who is credited for forging the compromise, said in November that he would prefer to not call it a greenbelt since the area could include such businesses as wineries, olive oil centers or bed and breakfast inns.
Today, the Board of Supervisors will be asked whether to request more money from the city of Lodi or for the county to absorb its staff costs.
The agriculture cluster zone, which includes 169 property owners and covers 3,079 acres, would preserve farmland in the Armstrong Road area while allowing some development. For every five acres of farmland, an owner would receive one residential building permit. In order to qualify, the owner would need at least 10 acres.
All residential lots in the area would be clustered, which allows for additional housing but still keeps large areas of the farmland intact. All building sites would be greater than one acre, but fewer than five acres.
Greenbelt area at a glanceNew name: Armstrong Road Agricultural/Cluster Zoning Classification
Location: One-half mile north of Armstrong Road to one-half mile south of Armstrong Road between Highway 99 and Interstate 5.
Purpose: To create a buffer between the cities of Lodi and Stockton that would remain in use for agriculture.
Potential population increase: 1,724.
Source: City of Lodi, San Joaquin County
The county has received two bids to develop a specific plan map and EIR. Augustine Planning Associates submitted a bid of $366,208, while Mintier Harnish bid $483,486.
The county determines costs to its Community Development, Environmental Health and Public Works departments by a formula established by the Board of Supervisors in 1992 - 26.5 percent of the bid on the EIR and 35 percent for the bid on the specific plan.
So if the Board of Supervisors awards the contract to Augustine Planning, the administrative fee is $121,900, and if Mintier Harnish gets the contract, the county staff fee goes up to $159,549.
Mintier Harnish worked on General Plans for San Joaquin County and the cities of Galt and Stockton.
"Because of the nature of the project and the anticipated level of public participation, it is important that the county process the application without any appearance of compromising its independent analysis of the project," Sullivan said in a staff report.
"Accordingly, the city of Lodi should be treated as any other project application and be required to submit all of the necessary documents to apply for the specific plan and EIR," Sullivan added.
Lodi City Manager Blair King doesn't consider the city to be a typical developer.
"We're not a land developer," King said Monday. "We're trying to resolve a land-use issue. We're not doing this for financial gain."
King added that the extra money that Sullivan's requesting isn't the real issue - it's whether the Board of Supervisors will honor a memorandum of understanding and allow the planning process to begin.
The MOU reads that the city of Lodi will pay the required fees, while the county will select the consultant and give the city an accounting of how the money is spent, King said.
"I hope they're not just trying to do this to put some kind of roadblock in the way," he added.
Today's Board of Supervisors meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the county courthouse, 222 E. Weber Ave., seventh floor, Stockton.