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San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors deny rezoning for resort near Lodi

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Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 6:58 pm

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on Tuesday against rezoning 10 acres of land along Highway 99 and Armstrong Road, derailing a construction company’s hope of building a $30 million resort and spa near Micke Grove Park.

Diede Construction asked the Board of Supervisors to change the designation of the land, which it owns, from agricultural to commercial, allowing the company to build a 50-room hotel that would feature several amenities, including a restaurant, wine tasting suites, a spa and a fruit stand.

But some supervisors believed the project lacked crucial research and analysis to reveal its environmental consequences.

“I want to make an informed decision with the best information that I have,” said Supervisor Steve Bestolarides. “I want to make an informed decision on what’s best for this county, what’s best for the citizens and the neighbors, what’s best for agricultural tourism. This is a good project. We just need a little more work to be done.”

John Anderson, senior vice president of Diede Construction, helped formulate the plan with the intent of generating more tourism for Micke Grove Park, less than a mile away from the proposed site.

Receiving approval would have been the first step toward building the resort. But after Tuesday’s denial, Anderson believes the idea is done.

“There’s a good chance it will not go forward,” Anderson said. “It’s a little frustrating. There was a lot of misinterpretation. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t get through this level.”

The project was met with resistance from neighbors, who were concerned that the resort’s hustle and bustle would disrupt their rural tranquility.

“We’re pleased because we were concerned with the environmental issues,” neighbor Dennis Regan said. “I’m sure they’re going to come back, and maybe we’ll have to address this again. I know they’re trying to appease the neighbors, but they’re still building it across the street from my house.”

Cherry trees currently occupy the land, and some neighbors who spoke in front of the supervisors expressed their desire to keep it that way.

“I suggest they build it next to their home,” neighbor Kirby Reiswig said.

Other neighbors were concerned with the project’s environmental issues.

“You’re talking four acres of parking,” neighbor Bruce Keszler said. “That’s a lot of runoff that we’re going to have to put up with. I don’t feel like right now is the perfect time for this.”

Lodi-area business leaders, who thought the project would promote tourism in an area trying to expand, were disappointed with the vote.

“If tourism is about exposing people to what we have here, here was a beautiful project ... that would be visible to tens of thousands of people on a daily basis,” said Pat Patrick, president and CEO of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce. “What a wonderful statement to put out to the world that travels up and down Highway 99 about what our wine country is about.”

Nancy Beckman, president and CEO of Visit Lodi!, said the project was critical to showcasing Lodi’s attractions.

“Our tourism area is still very much in its infancy,” she said. “And we need to continue to support it with amenities and attractions as we move forward.”

Some neighbors aren’t convinced that the project has been permanently halted. But if it is revived, they said Diede Construction needs to thoroughly evaluate the environmental considerations.

“We think the project will eventually go through,” Keszler said. “But what we want is a full environmental impact report and for them to address all the issues that were brought up today.”

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  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:12 pm on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    And the lame excuse they want to increase business at Micke Grove park. I'm certainly glad we have three county supervisors that thought this issue out and voted no. Lodi/Stockton is far enough south already.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:08 pm on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    I apologize, Ms Keszler, but my thoughts and comments about the good old boys hold true with me and will never change. Most are facing major financial battles and keep grabbing for that magic straw. Not like the old days when the just duped or plain old took what they wanted while the victims were never justly compensated while the council and powers that be always kept those incidences silenced and swept them under the rug.

  • Josh Morgan posted at 6:54 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    Mrs. Keszler, your post is a breath of fresh air. Thank you for your thoughtful and intelligent comments.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 6:34 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 1880

    If People/farmers on Armstrong can't have a say on issues/vote on what happens in Lodi, the Lodi shouldn't have a saying what happens to them. "LODI" my want a green belt, but it is NOT up to them, it is up to the people that own the land.

    While I support tourism and recognize it's value, I am glad this resort failed for that location. Personal preference, a "resort" shouldn't have the constant din of hwy traffic. There are some great place on Jack tone or hwy 88 that would be easily accessible AND still maintain a "resort" feel.

  • Sally Keszler posted at 5:11 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    Sally Keszler Posts: 29

    Doug, please do not use our names while trashing other people. That is disgusting.

    I have met Steve Diede and consider him a new friend. His project is gorgeous. I was also impressed with the way he changed his plans once he heard our complaints.

    Just for your information, Russ Munson, with Wine and Roses, was there in favor of the project.

    Our complaints were sewer, water, traffic, encroachment on farming property, loss of property value, etc. Steve made an attempt to address them all.

    Wine and Roses is an amazing place... but I have been here long enough to watch the vineyards that once surrounded it be replaced by houses. We have to make a decision here. If we start commercial on Armstrong it will have a domino effect (which I would love because we could sell and retire). We are grape growers and love our wine industry and appreciate wine tourism. But once we start paving over Armstrong, it will just continue.

    Lodi cannot say they want Ag land between Lodi and Stockton and then say ok to SOME commercial.

    I loved all the passionate young farmers who spoke to the board yesterday. Farming is alive on Armstrong Road.
    One of their quotes stuck with me.... "Man made the cities but God made the country."

  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:53 am on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    Thank You Bruce and Sally Keszler for protecting what's left of the imaginary "greenbelt" that has been already whittled away by the likes of Lodi council puppets like Hansen, Johnson, Beckman and Katzakian. I'm sure you know they will lead another charge for their favorite good old boy and contractor who does most of the work in Lodi at those ridiculously high costs, to ravage many more agricultural acres next to those they have already raped, thanks to the gents on Lodi city council and their failed wannabe big time developer and their illustrious city manager, Mr. Bartlam. I guess Mr. Munson can sigh a breath of relief now that some serious competition has been stifled temporarily. Those $300 a night rooms should be safe for a while.

  • Robert Jacobs posted at 8:32 am on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    Robert Jacobs Posts: 298

    Someone already said it, but it bears repeating... Build it right next to your home, and your neighbors homes!



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