Our View: Modesto City Council should take the time to review city’s general plan

January 27, 2014 

Wood Colony resident and Hart Ranson elementary school teacher Sarah Rice, holds a sign in opposition to the city of Modesto's expansion into the Wood Colony area west of Hwy 99 during Tuesday night's (01-07-14) city council meeting.

ELIAS FUNEZ — efunez@modbee.com Buy Photo

There’s a lot to talk about in developing a plan for Modesto’s future. We hope that doesn’t get lost in what could be a heated Modesto City Council meeting tonight. On the council’s agenda is the general plan amendment that would designate Wood Colony’s farmland for industrial development. Not surprisingly, many of the people who are happily farming that land today are very unhappy with Modesto’s plan.

Up the road in Salida, people know exactly how those in Wood Colony feel. They, too, feel as if they’re under assault by their overreaching Modesto neighbors.

Dave Cogdill Jr. is among those who desperately wants to see a broader range of jobs for Modestans. Three weeks ago, he suggested that it’s time to rethink Modesto’s entire general plan – not just tack on extra ground for truckstops. Such piecemeal “planning,” Cogdill noted, has resulted in battles on two fronts.

So, it’s time to call a truce. The council should abandon its plan to include Wood Colony and begin the process of reviewing its 19-year-old general plan. Invite a broad range of residents and those who live nearby. Invite neighboring cities, who might become partners in new roads and facilities. Invite farmers. Invite visionaries – people who know the city and know it doesn’t belong on all those silly “worst of” lists.

The farmers of Wood Colony have been good stewards of their land. We know City Council members want to be good stewards of Modesto. Instead of making enemies, they should make a decision that will lead to better partnerships and a better place to live, grow and work.

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