TURLOCK — Turlock has settled a lawsuit brought by an environmental group over its General Plan.
The lawsuit, filed by the Davis-based California Clean Energy Committee in October, contended that the city's General Plan update adopted last fall did not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act and did not adequately protect farmland.
Turlock has agreed to pay $15,000 in legal fees to California Clean Energy Committee head Eugene Wilson, who filed the lawsuit. The City Council also must consider a right-to-farm ordinance, as well as a measure to require developers to conduct energy-efficiency reviews.
In a 4-1 vote Tuesday night, the council approved the withdrawal of the $15,000 required to pay the lawsuit. Councilwoman Amy Bublak was the dissenting vote.
In the settlement, the city agreed to pay $3,000 a year for the next five years to the Turlock Farmers Market. The money must be used for agricultural marketing.
The Clean Energy Committee had registered its concern with the city's General Plan update last summer before it was passed. It presented the council with a multi-page list of concerns ranging from farmland conservation to greenhouse gas reduction, as well as a petition addressing the issues.
At the time, the city responded to the group's complaints but did not go as far as requested on agricultural land mitigation.
The General Plan update was passed by the council Sept. 25, with only Bublak dissenting at the time.
The California Environmental Quality Act was passed in 1970 and requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and avoid or mitigate them.
The lawsuit settlement wasn't the only item on the council's agenda Tuesday. Members unanimously approved the reimbursement of more than $400,000 in park land fees to the developer of the yet-to-be developed Ten Pin Fun Center bowling alley. The fees were paid in 2005, but in 2010, the parcel was rezoned for nonresidential development and therefore no longer required to pay the fees.
Members unanimously passed an amended grant proposal to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District that could pay for eight new clean-energy vehicles for the Turlock police.
The grant application asks for about $98,800 to pay for electric patrol scooters and hybrid electric cars. The money would fully fund four 2013 Trikke Tribred Patrol electric scooters and partially pay for four 2013 Ford Fusion plug-in hybrid cars.