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Galt City Council to discuss General Plan update

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Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2007 10:00 pm

Galt's General Plan update is more than halfway complete, but could get an overhaul when the new slow-growth City Council meets to discuss the issue for the first time on Monday.

The previous council began the update in July 2003. Galt's current 20-year General Plan expired in 2005, but is not completely built out, according to Sandra Kiriu, Galt's principal planner. The old plan can accommodate 30,000 people, or 6,000 more than the current population of the city.

At a joint study session with the Planning Commission on Aug. 15, the council decided on a boundary for the General Plan. On Sept. 26, the panel heard from property owners in the areas that would be affected by Galt's expanded boarders.

Monday's joint study session will be to bring the new council and new planning commission up to speed.

"The purpose of the meeting is to give (the new members) a history of how we got to where we are in the process," Kiriu said. "Then we can proceed to finalize the boundaries."

After the November election, Vice Mayor Andrew Meredith and Donald Haines replaced Randy Shelton and Tom Malson on the council. Meredith and Haines ran on platforms of slow-growth in contrast to the outgoing council members. The new councilmen also appointed new planning commissioners, potentially changing the direction of the advisory board.

Mayor Tim Raboy is also a slow-growth proponent, leaving pro-growth councilmembers Darryl Clare and Barbara Payne in the minority. Payne said the new council could scale back the boundaries that the previous council set.

"It is my understanding that the council can make it smaller," she said. "We'll see on Monday. I think we need to move forward. If I have to compromise, I will compromise. Hopefully we will all give a little and complete it."

Clare said that most of the discussion will center around Galt's northwest boundary, an area that has been looked at for a potential Del Webb development project. Clare said it is important to include the piece of land in the city's sphere of influence so that Galt, not the county, can decide how the land is used.

"I think it is in our interest to have control of that land," he said. "I believe we should control it so we decide. If we don't, someone else will and I don't think that we will like their decisions."

How far north of Twin Cities Road the city expands for a retail corridor is going to be another point of discussion, Clare said.

Kiriu said that after the boundaries are finalized, the next step in the process is to designate land use alternatives, which would lay out where residential, commercial and schools would go. After that, the transportation plan will be discussed to determine how the roads will accommodate the new growth, she said.

What this means to you

The General Plan is a city's official "blue print" for development. It sets the city's boundaries and sphere of influence and stipulates how and where the city grows for a designated time period.
Galt's General Plan update will map out the city's growth for the next 20 years. By setting the growth limit, the General Plan will determine how many new residents will potentially move to the city in the next two decades.
The plan also lays out where schools and commercial developments will go. More commercial development means more sales tax for a city and an increase in jobs. It also adds more traffic to a city.
- News-Sentinel staff.

Haines said he has studied the issues and is ready to start making policy decisions.

"I think I can hit the ground running," he said.

He said Galt's sphere of influence would probably be scaled back.

"I believe you will see some scaling back of the sphere of influence," he said. "To what degree, I can't tell you."

The General Plan update, which has included input from outside consultants, has cost the city $585,000 so far, Kiriu said, and has $276,000 left in the budget.

The joint meeting will be held Monday at 6 p.m. at the Council Chambers 380 Civic Drive.

Contact reporter Matt Brown at mattb@lodinews.com.

First published: Friday, January 12, 2007

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