A construction company's intention to build a truck processing center south of Lodi has riled residents living near the proposed site, between Scottsdale and Armstrong roads, off Highway 99.
At a San Joaquin County Planning Commission meeting Thursday, a handful of residents spoke against the proposed center, called a truck terminal, and said that the construction company has done little to inform them of the project.
Mike Hakeem, the attorney for Diede Construction, which proposed the project, said that the company needs the facility because it has outgrown its current one, on Live Oak Drive.
At the meeting, commissioners began the process of rezoning about 10 acres of land from agricultural to industrial -- to the dismay of the protesting residents -- by sending the issue to the county Board of Supervisors with their recommendation for approval.
Commissioners based their votes not on the concerns of the public -- they were told that all of these concerns would be brought up again once Diede filed for a permit to build the terminal -- but on county's general plan that states that terminals are placed close to freeways and away from urban areas.
Commission Chairman Pat Stockar, who lives in that neighborhood, and Commissioner Christopher Elie were the only two who were initially nervous about the passing the project to the Board of Supervisors.
"Once we change this, it's going to be awfully hard to say no to some kind of truck terminal," Elie said.
The proposed development would be on about 10 acres on two parcels totaling about 43 acres. The land is on the west side of Highway 99 and Frontage Road, 1,100 feet south of East Armstrong Road.
The terminal would house 12 trucks and 24 trailers, office space, a shop, and an area for future expansion. On the property, goods would be moved from large to smaller trucks, and vice versa.
Commissioners had to base their decisions of whether to recommend rezoning the land to the board of supervisors on requirements such as the land being away from urban areas, and far enough away from residentialor commercially zoned parcels. The land met those requirements, but several people who attended the meeting said that they live or work near the site.
The majority of the complaints centered on the noise that would be brought in by trucks, the air quality, the bright lights coming from the facility and traffic congestion.
Several people testified that when Diede sent out mailers about the project, the company downplayed the truck terminal, making it seem that the majority of the construction would be office space.
Three residents requested a traffic study. They said that Scottsdale and Armstrong roads and a nearby off-ramp into the area are already clogged with cars, and trucks would make it more dangerous.
A woman said that the roads are also used by bicyclists riding to Micke Grove Park.
Elizabeth Daniels, who lives on East Armstrong Road, said she was curious about truck waste and its effect on ground water. She said she has a well 1,000 feet south of the proposed project.
Hakeem said all of these issues will eventually be settled.
The rezoning issue will next be heard before the Board of Supervisors. If they approve the rezoning, Diede would have to apply for a conditional use permit, which would detail the specifics of the project. The application would come up in another Planning Commission meeting, and that meeting, residents could voice their concerns, Hakeem said.
"We're optimistic that we can respond to all of the issues and meet the planning commission's needs," he said.