A Lodi resident has backed off his push to change a San Joaquin County law that would have allowed him to subdivide his land and build houses without having to pave a private road.
He will instead try to find a way to avoid paving the road without changing county policy, his attorney, Mike Hakeem of Stockton said Thursday.
Lodi, Stockton and Manteca oppose the ordinance change.
"I had heard that through the grapevine … that the concerns from the other cities were bothersome to the board (of supervisors)," Hakeem said.
The change in the law would have allowed a private, gravel road to serve a maximum of 16 homes in agricultural areas before the road would have to be widened and paved. A gravel road may now serve up to six homes before it has to be improved to public status.
The planning commission unanimously passed the amended ordinance to supervisors on Feb. 2. None of the opposing cities sent a representative to that meeting.
"There was a conflict in schedules of physically being able to go there," said Randy Hatch, Lodi's community development director. "We did send our comments. They asked for our input and we did that."
The change to the ordinance was originally proposed by Ron Robinson, a Lodi-area orthopedic surgeon who wants to subdivide his land off Highway 12 with his family.
Robinson's requested a permit to create a "subdivision," but the request was denied because the law states that a subdivision of seven or more homes on agricultural-zoned land, or a possibility that the subdivision could expand in the future, has to have a paved road.
Robinson said he cannot afford to pave the road.
Hatch said a road serving 16 homes needs to be paved, wide enough for two lanes of traffic, and have a weather-resistant shoulder wide enough to accommodate a bike lane.
"I think that it's bad public policy," he said.
Representatives from Manteca and Stockton also sent letters of opposition to the county in response, which said that there would be too much debris entering public roads from unpaved private roads.
The county replied that a study showed that pollution would be minimal.
Most recently, Manteca planners sent a letter saying that the ordinance was a regional issue and hence should have been sent to the state for approval. The county responded that the ordinance does not meet the definitions of a regional issue.
"To come up with an individualized solution is a better approach then to change the whole ordinance," Hakeem said. "We are going to evaluate the application and explore our options."
Supervisors Tuesday postponed a debate on the issue until June 13. Community Development Director Kerry Sullivan said she expects Hakeem to go back to the Planning Commission with another proposal.
"It's my job to find an alternative," Hakeem said. "The focus would be to solve his problem specifically, and not address a change countywide."
First published: Friday, March 17, 2006