The following message was written by Eric Parfrey from Campaign for Common Ground. We have copied it here.
The process to update the Stockton General Plan and finally replace the sprawl-driven 2007 General Plan has now moved into critical hearings before the Stockton Planning Commission.
We need activists to attend and speak out at the Planning Commission meeting Thursday Sept. 13 at 5:30 pm, in the City Council chambers.
If you can’t attend in person, please consider sending an e-mail to the Commissioners and make sure to copy the City Council. Send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org (and ask him to make sure the Commission is forwarded your e-mail) and to Florence.Low@stocktonca.gov, who will distribute to the Council. Talking points that you can use to compose your e-mail and public testimony are included below.
The Commission is scheduled to take action on the proposed plan at its meeting next month on Thursday, October 25, 2018. The Commission action will be in the form of a recommendation to the City Council, which will hold at least one public hearing in November and could adopt the new General Plan by the end of the year.
Now is the time for concerned members of the public to write letters and e-mails, and to speak out against the most disastrous part of the new plan: the “big blue blob” of growth designated on 3,800 acres of prime farmland owned by Spanos north of Eight Mile Road.
This blob of blue color on the General Plan land use map is called the “Economic and Education Enterprise” zone. City staff say the area could eventually see the construction of 75 million square feet of economic development and 25,000 housing units.
How this coming fight over the big blue blob of growth north of Eight Mile Road is resolved will determine the heart and soul of the new Stockton General Plan. As a city, we are poised to make a crucial land use decision: we will either make a firm commitment to downtown revitalization and prioritize infill growth within our existing neighborhoods, or we will continue the bad old days of allowing greenfield sprawl onto farmlands on the fringe of the city limits. We can’t do both. Sprawl has always won over infill in the past, especially in places like Stockton.
While the new General Plan has many good policies related to environmental health, crime, and other important issues, all of the good work by staff and consultants has been overshadowed by the last minute attempt to insert in more disastrous sprawl north of Eight Mile Road.
Planning Commission Public Hearing City Council Public Hearing
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2018
City Council Chambers
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2018 NOVEMBER, 2018 (date to be announced)
5:30 PM 5:30 PM City Council Chambers City Council Chambers
Thanks for your help in this important campaign.
1. Why was the public not asked during the public meetings about how they felt about designating 3,800 acres of ag lands north of Eight Mile Road for high density development?
2. How is this amount of growth north of Eight Mile consistent with Alternative C, the “Infill” scenario approved by the public and by the Planning Commission and City Council.
3. Why is staff and the EIR consultant suddenly proposing development of over 25,000 housing units to accompany any huge job-generator north of Eight Mile? Did the City Council direct staff to consider housing when they discussed the new “Enterprise” zone last summer?
4. Why does the Draft EIR not analyze the traffic, air quality, water supply and other impacts related to development of lands north of Eight Mile?
5. Is this deferral of environmental analysis legal until after the City receives an application for development under the California Environmental Quality Act? (answer, NO).
6. The members of the public who have attended the General Plan meetings have voiced their clear opinion that there should be no growth north of Eight Mile Road. Why won’t the city recognize this public sentiment?
7. This big blue blob is not need to attract a new Cal State University campus. There are other more effective ways to signal the city’s eagerness for a new college campus than painting an ill-defined blue blob on the land use map. We don’t even know at this early stage whether the area north of Eight Mile is even the best location for a future campus. Some officials are not convinced. For example, Councilmember Jesus Andrade recently proposed that the underused County Fairgrounds property could be a good site for a new CSU (see CalMatters, https://calmatters.org/articles/how-a-cal-state-campus-would-help-stockton-comeback/)
Instead, the city should commit itself to a planning process that could identify appropriate sites for a new CSU, without just assuming that the best location is north of Eight Mile Road. We (Sierra Club and Campaign for Common Ground) have suggested specific policy language that could be added to the General Plan that would say something like “If the State of California and/or the voters allocate planning and initial construction funding for a new California State University campus, the city will do everything in its power to pursue the opportunity. The city will initiative a thorough planning process to identify and choose an appropriate site for the new campus.”