Can the city of Lodi afford Mayor Hitchcock's ideas?
It is unfortunate that Mayor Hitchcock does not understand or chooses to ignore many important realities regarding her proposed establishment of a sphere of influence.
1. The purpose of establishing a sphere of influence is that it will be used by cities to provide for properly and carefully planned growth within a set time frame.
2. No sphere of influence has ever been created for the purpose of establishing farming within a city.
3. Property rights provided by the United States Constitution would be violated.
4. Other San Joaquin County cities create spheres which provide for orderly growth according to their projections - within a reasonable time frame (not 20-40 years.)
5. Recently Lodi, under Ms. Hitchcock's guidance, proposed a 4,000-plus sewer expansion sphere on vineyards south and west of Lodi. The city abandoned this plan, but only after great expense to the city and local farmers.
6. Most likely this current sphere proposal will be rejected by San Joaquin County (LAFCO.)
7. Ms. Hitchcock does not mention the huge costs to the city that would be created by her sphere proposal - costs such as providing city services (water, sewer, electric, etc.), roads to farming areas, and probable landowner suits. The "Taking" clause in the United States Constitution states that private property cannot be taken without just compensation.
Susan Hitchcock has chosen to ignore all the recommendations of her Greenbelt Task Force and the local landowners. She owes an apology to the task force members and the property owners who have worked diligently for years to establish a realistic plan for a properly working greenbelt which would be funded fully and controlled by San Joaquin County, not Stockton or the city of Lodi, without cost to Lodi. Her approach will incur huge expenses to the city taxpayers.