The city of Lodi will have to pay all of San Joaquin County's costs to consider maintaining the Armstrong Road corridor as an agricultural region to keep Lodi separate from Stockton.
The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to require Lodi to pay the planning costs, which will likely be just less $500,000.
Lodi City Manager Blair King told supervisors that discussions in previous years indicated that the county might split planning costs with the city, but a majority of supervisors Tuesday said they need to treat the city the same as any other applicant.
"It is very important for the county to remain objective, so we can't be a part of (the spending)," board chairman Leroy Ornellas of Tracy said.
The 3,079-acre area is unincorporated and is controlled by the county. It is within neither the Lodi or Stockton city limits. The county Planning Commission and later the Board of Supervisors will determine how the land is ultimately zoned.
"We're not looking to annex the land," King said.
Lodi City Attorney Steve Schwabauer said that it would have been appropriate for the county to share in the planning costs because it's a general government issue.
Greenbelt area at a glanceNew name: Armstrong Road Agricultural/Cluster Zoning Classification.
Location: One-half mile north of Armstrong Road to one-half mile south of Armstrong Road between Highway 99 and Interstate 5.
Purpose: To create a buffer between the cities of Lodi and Stockton that would remain in use for agriculture.
Potential population increase: 1,724.
Source: City of Lodi, San Joaquin County
"The comment that this is a Lodi issue is in error," Schwabauer told the Board of Supervisors. "This is indeed a countywide issue. It's a mistake to say that Stockton doesn't want to go north."
Lodi Mayor Larry Hansen said after the meeting that he's glad the environmental studies will be done, but he's disappointed in the county's attitude.
"They see it as strictly as a Lodi issue," Hansen said.
King said Lodi's role is strictly to resolve a land-use issue among property owners in the Armstrong Road area between Highway 99 and Interstate 5.
Supervisor Ken Vogel, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said he was voting on principle and wanted to make sure the planning process moves forward.
"If we don't see some progress, I think we will see the two cities come together," Vogel said.
Hansen recalled growing up in Rocklin in the 1950s, when the Placer County town had only 2,000 people. Today, it's a city without a separation between communities.
"It is important to know what city you are in," Hansen said. "Nobody thought the cities of Rocklin, Roseville and Citrus Heights would be back-toback."
If the county hires Augustine Planning Consultants to prepare a specific plan and environmental impact report for the ag/cluster area, the full cost will be $488,108. The other bid, by Mintier Harnish, is $155,000 higher, but Community Development Director Kerry Sullivan said it is likely the county will award the contract to Augustine because either would do a good job.
Augustine bid slightly more than $366,000 to prepare the specific plan and EIR, but county staff tacks on a 26.5 percent charge for the EIR and a 35 percent charge for the specific plan. That adds another $122,000 to Lodi's bill. That means that Lodi owes the county $488,108.
"I think it's a little harsh to place all the burden on that little city (of Lodi)," Armstrong Road area landowner Richard Laughland told the board.
The Lodi City Council voted in November to appropriate $500,000 after city and Armstrong Road-area property owners reached a compromise to pursue agricultural uses during an area a half-mile north of Armstrong Road to a half-mile south of Armstrong.
Former county Planning Commissioner Pat Stockar, who owns property in the area, said that the compromise was reached by 95 percent of the property owners.