MODESTO — Acknowledging high-placed opposition to a massive expansion, Patterson at the last minute Wednesday withdrew its request to annex 1,119 acres and may return in a few months for another try.
Development team representatives said they need time to resolve concerns raised by Stanislaus County officials and staff of the growth-guiding agency whose board was poised to consider the proposal Wednesday night.
"We want to make sure we get the details worked out," said Joe Hollowell, the developer's project manager, moments after Local Agency Formation Commissioners agreed to drop the issue.
Jeff Arambel and KDN Enterprises say their West Patterson Business Park expansion could create 10,000 jobs over two or three decades. Proposals feature stores and other industry, but no homes.
County officials strongly cautioned that the plan doesn't require enough developer money to fix road problems outside Patterson that the growth might create.
Despite lack of a county agreement, the city and development team initially opted to take their chances with LAFCo. But LAFCo staff, noting that the city has not finalized water or sewer plans, recommended Friday that commissioners deny the huge annexation.
Attorney Douglas White, representing the city, on Monday asked for a short postponement. In a letter focused on county objections, he wrote that Patterson "does not anticipate any significant changes" but wanted one month to negotiate.
In a subsequent letter Wednesday, White asked to scrap the application and cited LAFCo staff's water and sewer worries. Also, LAFCo staff noted that ideally, Patterson should develop 1,220 vacant acres within the city limit before asking to grow more.
"These matters cannot be resolved prior to the hearing," White said in the letter.
New app will be required
The cancellation is not a postponement and will require that Patterson submit a new application, said Marjorie Blom, the agency's executive director.
The Arambel team hopes to try again in the summer, Hollowell said.
"We want to make it the best project possible," he said. "This will be a tremendous asset to our community."
A LAFCo staff report said the application offered little to address loss of prime farmland or increases in air pollution and traffic noise.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2390.