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City Council will consider annexing 30 acres south of Lodi

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Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 7:58 am, Wed Apr 20, 2011.

The Lodi City Council will consider annexing 30 acres of farmland south of the city for offices and commercial retail space at its meeting tonight.

Developer Mike Carouba has submitted plans to develop the southwest corner of Harney and West lanes, which is currently occupied by strawberry fields.

The council will decide whether to approve the project and annex the land. If it is approved tonight, the project will be sent to the county's Local Agency Formation Commission, which also has to approve it.

The plans show five new office buildings that take up a total of 179,200 square feet, including a medical office with a laboratory. The plans also include 103,350 square feet of commercial space, including a bank and restaurant.

Carouba originally submitted the plans several years ago, but in August 2009, he told city staff he wanted to put the project on hold because a tenant backed out. He also said he wanted to wait until the city's General Plan was complete.

The large document is a blueprint for development throughout the community. The 30 acres of farmland is not in the city's boundaries, but it is included in the General Plan's sphere of influence, which is where the city intends to grow over the next 20 years.

The Lodi Planning Commission approved the project in March, but it has faced opposition.

Citizens for Open Government originally opposed the project, saying the city needs to do more studies on the project's potential effect on the environment, including traffic, greenhouse gases and air quality.

The group, which also protested against a Walmart Supercenter, dropped its opposition to Carouba's project after coming to an agreement with the developer before the Planning Commission meeting.

The project will include a bike rack and an electric vehicle charging stations as part of the agreement with Citizens for Open Government, Carouba said.

Paul Nicolini, of Kaehler Dairy on Armstrong Road, also spoke out at the Planning Commission meeting, arguing that a commercial and retail space will not be compatible with agriculture in the area.

The Kaehler family has started a website protesting the project: www.saveourstrawberries.com. On the site, it says that the city's environmental reports are incomplete, and they will gather other landowners in the area to fight the development moving forward.

At the meeting, the council will consider:

  • Approving the South Hutchins Annexation project, which includes annexation and pre-zoning.
  • Certifying a mitigated negative declaration and mitigation monitoring and reporting program as adequate environmental documentation for the project.
  • Directing staff to prepare and submit an annexation application to the San Joaquin County Local Agency Formation Commission.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

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  • roy bitz posted at 10:54 pm on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    roy bitz Posts: 489

    Three council men will decide what is best for 60,000 city residents! Again!

  • Josh Morgan posted at 8:39 pm on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    Doug, I guess you wouldn't recognize a compliment if it slapped you in the face. As one who has always demanded transparency and public disclosure I couldn't imagine your outrage for this situation. Talk about backroom deals......this has to take the cake.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 8:07 pm on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Thank you for your B S comment Mr. Morgan. I haven't yet made a comment on this issue, so what's your problem? Have another slug of wine.

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 7:06 pm on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2238

    What's the vacancy rate these days on commercial property in Lodi?

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 4:08 pm on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Josh.... couldn't agree more... Citizen's for Open Government is flat out blackmail... who are these guys? Are they from out of state?
    Why are they involved with Lodi? Strange?

  • Josh Morgan posted at 10:01 am on Wed, Apr 20, 2011.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    "The group, which also protested against a Walmart Supercenter, dropped its opposition to Carouba's project after coming to an agreement with the developer before the Planning Commission meeting."

    Regardless of your position on this annexation this kind of private negotiation with Citizen's for Open Government is flat out blackmail. Where on the annexation application does it appear that approval from Citizen's for Open Government is required? What was the agreement? Does it involve the developer paying money to this group for their approval? This group needs to be smoked out and made public. I would expect my good friend Mr. Chaney to lead this charge against these secret agreements and blackmail.



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