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Lodi council spends $500,000 in hopes to separate itself from Stockton

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Posted: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 10:00 pm

The city of Lodi will spend a half-million dollars in its hope to keep urban sprawl in check between Lodi and Stockton.

The City Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday to appropriate the money to seek rezones along the Armstrong Road corridor to keep the area agricultural while allowing agricultural-related businesses.

Council members and Armstrong Road area residents said they are excited about a compromise they hope ends 15 years of turmoil between people who wanted a greenbelt separating the two cities and property owners who want the freedom to do what they want with their land.

Stockton attorney Steve Herum, representing the Armstrong Road Property Owners Association, said it's a "reasonable accommodation" because it doesn't take away property rights and taxpayers won't have to foot the bill by paying farmers for their land.

Farmer Bruce Fry, who was credited for forging the compromise, said that property owners would rather not call the area a greenbelt. It could end up being a winery row, olive oil row or bed and breakfast row, Fry said.

"I'd like to give a standing ovation to Bruce Fry," Councilwoman Susan Hitchcock said. "That's what life is - a series of compromises. It provides a separator for Lodi."

Councilman Bob Johnson said he is excited about the project, but he voted "no" because the city faced scary economic conditions and had to cut nearly $2 million from its budget Tuesday night.

Mayor JoAnne Mounce said the $500,000 was well spent because it was one expenditure that Lodi residents wanted to see.

Any zoning change will be at the discretion of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, not the Lodi City Council.

City Manager Blair King said that $300,000 of the expense will come from the city selling one or more pieces of property and $200,000 from the streets impact mitigation fee program. King declined to state what property or properties might be up for sale to finance studies for the buffer area.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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44 comments:

  • posted at 10:46 am on Wed, Nov 26, 2008.

    Posts:

    Besides the waste of money and lack of any authority to implment the green belt, I am against it.In case you haven't noticed, Stockton and Lodi are not growing - economically or by populus. We are a depressed area. There is no real worry of us "connecting" with Stockton.What we need to is attract some major employers to bring their plants, headquarters, etc. to our area. Armstrong Road would be a great spot if any of the owners were ever willing to sell.This City can not survive on its lack of jobs and decreasing tax revenue. Farming is a rural endeavor. We are not rural. Lodi will continue to go downhill until we realize that growth - while controlled - is a neccessity for a thriving community.When I look at Lodi now and what it was when I grew up here, I am embarrassed. We are in sad shape and our City Council is doing nothing to improve, except religiously screaming "No Growth". You'd think they would understand simple economics, but then again, many of them have very little education and/or business experience.

     
  • posted at 8:25 am on Wed, Nov 26, 2008.

    Posts:

    Great blogs, Zin.

     
  • posted at 7:17 am on Wed, Nov 26, 2008.

    Posts:

    Lodi must continue working with the landowners and respect must be shown regarding property rights. The City of Lodi does not own the land nor is the land under their jurisdiction. A fact that Lodi conveniently ignores. Lodi must also stop calling that area a "greenbelt". It will be a separator between the two cities. I can tell you that the word "greenbelt" does not show a sign of "goodwill" or a sign of willing to work the landowners. There is no better way than to the landowners against Lodi by calling their land "greenbelt". Wake up Lodi and show the landowners the respect that is owed them!!!

     
  • posted at 7:11 am on Wed, Nov 26, 2008.

    Posts:

    Audi 5000 wrote on Nov 26, 2008 7:50 AM:" Zin:I realize those facts but once development picks up again, and it will, the current land owners south of town will be bought out one by one and those lands will be developed into housing subdivisions.Those wishing to continue farming will be squeezed out of existence for a number of logistical reasons and the complaints of dust and/or noise,etc. from the urbanites. Also from an economic standpoint, there comes a time where it makes sense to retire from farming and cash in, when the opportunity presents itself.At least with Lodi controlling the land by annexation,Stockton will not be able to have influence on the area between the two cities.One of the two cities will eventually dictate the rate and type of development, which city would we like to have that control? "If Lodi really wanted to control the land,it would keep it's current designation of PRR and continue it on 1/2 south of ARmstrong road.Instead in the new general plan they want to pull the PRR designation back and instead develop to the east and west of Lodi, not to the south.

     
  • posted at 6:01 am on Wed, Nov 26, 2008.

    Posts:

    Audi, I agree with you. I personally still cannot believe that Lodi had no interest in annexing the land around Micke Grove. What a gorgeous park to incorporate into any city.

     
  • posted at 1:50 am on Wed, Nov 26, 2008.

    Posts:

    Zin: I realize those facts but once development picks up again, and it will, the current land owners south of town will be bought out one by one and those lands will be developed into housing subdivisions. Those wishing to continue farming will be squeezed out of existence for a number of logistical reasons and the complaints of dust and/or noise, etc. from the urbanites. Also from an economic standpoint, there comes a time where it makes sense to retire from farming and cash in, when the opportunity presents itself.At least with Lodi controlling the land by annexation, Stockton will not be able to have influence on the area between the two cities.One of the two cities will eventually dictate the rate and type of development, which city would we like to have that control?

     
  • posted at 11:35 am on Tue, Nov 25, 2008.

    Posts:

    Mr. King scores another 1/2 million for his EIR consultant business associates from the bay area. Why aren't we using those businesses from Lodi or San Joaquin county?

     
  • posted at 10:50 am on Tue, Nov 25, 2008.

    Posts:

    Audi 5000 wrote on Nov 25, 2008 1:16 PM:" The best solution is to have Lodi annex as much land as they can between the two cities and keep the zoning as is. It's the only way for Lodi to control a greenbelt and control Stockton's northward creeping blight. " Audi 5000, the City cannot annex the land without the majority of the landowners vote in favor of annexation. And the landowners will never vote for annexation into Lodi! The land is under county jurisdiction and that is where the landowners prefer to stay--under the county.

     
  • posted at 9:44 am on Tue, Nov 25, 2008.

    Posts:

    Audi 5000, I agree. Unless they can control the land, why waste the taxpayers' money?

     
  • posted at 7:16 am on Tue, Nov 25, 2008.

    Posts:

    The best solution is to have Lodi annex as much land as they can between the two cities and keep the zoning as is. It's the only way for Lodi to control a greenbelt and control Stockton's northward creeping blight.

     
  • posted at 5:15 am on Mon, Nov 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    Lodian, none of us want to be oart of Lodi or Stockton... or either ones' politics. We prefer to stay in the county and just be left alone. Enjoy. You run.

     
  • posted at 5:12 am on Mon, Nov 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    No thanks, Lodian. Plus I cannot. I do not live in Lodi. I live in the county. One has to live in Lodi to run for lodi politics.Armstrong is not part of Lodi.

     
  • posted at 5:11 am on Mon, Nov 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    16925 said "I for one have wanted a community separter for many years and believe it is money well spent."16925, you do know that this does not buy Lodi a separator. It pays for another consulting firm to put together a plan for an EIR. There is no guarantee the county or the landowners will accept it. Lodi STILL will have NO say over what happens on Armstrong. The land will remain under the control of the landowners and the county, NOT Lodi.

     
  • posted at 5:00 am on Mon, Nov 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    Well, sam, how about it? Care to run for city council?

     
  • posted at 4:59 am on Mon, Nov 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    Rhodie wrote on Nov 21, 2008 8:00 AM:" I can see the next election. An Armstrong land owner runs for a city council seat only to be told they can't because they're not part of the city. To which the land owner responds, "Then leave us alone!" ----Actually, it may be a good idea for an Armstrong homeowner/landowner to run for a city council seat.

     
  • posted at 3:25 am on Mon, Nov 24, 2008.

    Posts:

    4AStrongLodi wrote on Nov 20, 2008 4:59 PM:" Mounce claims she always votes "No" on any resolution to spend money, based on principle. Yet, she voted for this "bet" (as it was referred to at the Council Meeting). We're basically gambling with half-a-million dollars we don't have."Well Well Well!4AStrongLodi, you obviously do not know nor have not follow Mounces' voting record."Not Spending based on Principle" is incorrect.Rather she votes no on rates increases an no on management packages based on 6 month serevance pay.She votes no unplanned growth.I for one have wanted a community separter for many years and believe it is money well spent.I don't this money is comming from general funds. Or did you even take the time to find out?

     
  • posted at 9:32 am on Fri, Nov 21, 2008.

    Posts:

    Wells said, Rhodie.

     
  • posted at 2:00 am on Fri, Nov 21, 2008.

    Posts:

    I can see the next election. An Armstrong land owner runs for a city council seat only to be told they can't because they're not part of the city. To which the land owner responds, "Then leave us alone!"

     
  • posted at 4:11 pm on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Now I'm confused. Who is the "Armstrong Road Homeowner's Association referred to in the article? Who's paying Herum's legal fees? Are the Armstrong property owners not together on this issue?

     
  • posted at 2:26 pm on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Why were there only two proponents that spoke up for the so-called Armstrong landowners? I guess the city of Lodi didn't care enough to build those tall retaining walls to hide those hideous buildings of BC/BS and Diede from the beautiful green farmland. I guess one day they might look pretty good nestles amongst Hitchcock-Glenn bed and breakfast franchises, or maybe they could paint them green. LOL

     
  • posted at 12:15 pm on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Neo, had Ms Hitchcock never opened her big mouth, my property would remain ag 40 land for the next 30 years. But no, she yells tourism, tourist destination and greenbelt and every Diede in the world is out here trying to buy land to develop their perfect tourist destination.

     
  • posted at 12:10 pm on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Ah Neo you are so correct. This $500,000 encourages the likes of Diede.

     
  • posted at 12:08 pm on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Ah loadeye, you do have a way with words.

     
  • posted at 12:04 pm on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    What part of this $500,000 stops any more Diede Co. type developments in this "Greenbelt". They just built a huge new facility by Armstrong Rd. It sure sounds like anybody with enough money can build whatever they want there.

     
  • posted at 11:55 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Sam, it seems to me that once again, Lodi is trying to force you again to let them tell you what to do with your land. It still indicates to me they want to save that strip of land for their own greedy interests like Gillespie, Geweke, Snider, Doucette and Diede. If I were you, I'd be doing some serious talking with the county and Lodi. How can they possibly be even thinking about spending $500,000 on an EIR before the general plan is even approved? You'd have to be a real madman to go through this once again. Just who does Mr. Herum and Fry speak for? I'd think that if they said they represented many landowners in that corridor, there would've been many others there to be seen and heard. Haven't Diede Construction and Gillespie's Reynolds Ranch already bought their way into that greenbelt area? Why does Lodi city council make sure that they take what they want for those that dine at their pig trough?

     
  • posted at 11:41 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    A Homeowners Association on Armstrong? Too funny.

     
  • posted at 11:35 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    4AStrongLodi wrote on Nov 20, 2008 4:59 PM:" We're basically gambling with half-a-million dollars we don't have. "Yes. Pretty sad , huh?"How about all the money your CC has already flushed down the toilet in the name of a "greenbelt"? It is public record. Go check it out.

     
  • posted at 11:06 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Sam, are you a member of the Armstrong Road Homeowners Association? Who exactly is Herum representing?

     
  • posted at 10:59 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Mounce claims she always votes "No" on any resolution to spend money, based on principle. Yet, she voted for this "bet" (as it was referred to at the Council Meeting). We're basically gambling with half-a-million dollars we don't have.

     
  • posted at 10:40 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    After all this money is spent, the County could still rule against it. The MOU also allows for redrawing of lot lines and clustering of the residential buildings, so it could still turn into a small development.I'm sick that we're wasting this money when we have NONE.These CC members are so myopic. They don't have a clue. Why did anyone vote for Mounce?

     
  • posted at 10:32 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    new2cali wrote on Nov 20, 2008 4:27 PM:"They just spent a half a million dollars on a payment for what?"Absolutely nothing.

     
  • posted at 10:27 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    I realize that the land is very important to the owners as well as a natural buffer between cities, but being the wife of one of the city workers who might possibly get the ax, this seems to be a bit out of touch with reality. They just spent a half a million dollars on a payment for what? Is there an immediate threat to losing this area? Can it wait til the economy is better and people dont lose their jobs. I just hope everyone is using their best judgement.

     
  • posted at 10:07 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    That is my take. If your think this additional $500,000 flushed down the toilet will buy Lodi a greenbelt, you are mistaken. No landowner out herewill ever, ever give Lodi a say in what we do. What is funny is that $500,000 could not even buy 5 acres out here today, but it sure would help someof Lodi's budgetary woes.

     
  • posted at 10:06 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Personally I think this plan promotes the destruction of the farmland here. A great example is Wine and Roses. At one time it was surrounded by vineyards. Because of the nature of the business, it is now surrounded by development.I have no intention of trying to change the zoning of my land, but if a hotel or commercial building goes in near me, I will request my zoning changed also.We cannot farm with businesses and hotels next door.

     
  • posted at 10:06 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Lodi is working on a general plan that does not include us. We are not in Lodi's nor Stockton's sphere of influence. For the next 30 years, Lodi has said they have nointentions on needing our land for development. Likewise Stockton has said the same thing. So for 30 years, Lodi has natural separator without spending a dime.If this 5 acre plan goes through, it does NOT save Lodi from us developing. It is written in the plan that we retain the right to annex with any city.So why waste more money?

     
  • posted at 10:06 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Rhodie, looking at all the city workers last night at the meeting, afraid of losing their jobs, makes me think this is a complete waste of the Lodi taxpayers money.I agree with Frank. Lodi has already spent a heck of a lot more on plans and consultants for a greenbelt that were useless. Over a 1/2 million already flushed down the toilet.Throwing more money at it is ridiculous.

     
  • posted at 6:38 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Sam, I know this directly affects you. How does this plan look to you?

     
  • posted at 3:55 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    4astrongLodi, you are right. the $500,000 guarantees Lodi nothing. This is the second $500,000 thrown at the greenbelt idea. That first $500,000 gave us nothing either.Read the proposal. Lodi will have no say over any of the land. The rezoning is not mandatory. The landowners still have the right to be annexed. They are not giving up any property rights at all.This $500,000 is for an EIR for the new zoning. It does not guarantee the county will even approve the plan. The farmers can pull out anytime.Sounds like a "Greenbelt Plan To Nowhere."

     
  • posted at 2:29 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    "Any zoning change will be at the discretion of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, not the Lodi City Council."So, we paid them off for rights we still don't have?

     
  • posted at 2:26 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    And, who gets the $500,000? It doesn't look like the City will own the land. Is this basically just a payoff to include them in our zoning?Again, I'm very suspicious of this deal.

     
  • posted at 2:25 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    What a waste of money! Especially when the City is about to have a $1.5 million revenue shortfall. I can not believe this City elects horrible leaders like this. At least Bob Johnson voted his conscience.I'm willing to bet there is something in the agreement that let's these owners out of the deal at some point. They wouldn't turn away major $$$ down the road to be able to sell to a developer. I'm very suspicious...

     
  • posted at 2:03 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    Bruce Fry said: "It could end up being a winery row, olive oil row or bed and breakfast row."These sound like some good ideas and profitable as well. How do the other people on Armstrong feel about this? Sam....? :)

     
  • posted at 2:03 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    If this keeps the big bad horrible Stockton away, its worth it.

     
  • posted at 1:42 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.

    Posts:

    total waste of money.....

     

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