Robert Shannon: Developers will prevail

February 22, 2014 

The city of Modesto’s planning for the Wood Colony properties has been confusing. What are the city’s arguments?

Mayor Garrad Marsh’s article (“Mayor: Council acted to protect farmland,” Feb. 9, Page D1) explaining what the city is doing clarified some of it. I have lived in other cities across the country and most put a kind of “zoning stamp” on properties outside their boundaries so some semblance of order will occur in the land’s development. All these cities were the ultimate providers of water and sewer and these utilities have to be planned around future development.

As for Wood Colony landowners, nothing is being taken from them. The city is not making them move or sell. Only the market will do that. I suggest that if landowners are as adamant as they sound about keeping the area as is, they put their pens where their mouths are and sign the lands into an agricultural trust where it cannot be used for anything except agriculture. Of course, they or their heirs will miss out on value increases that future development will bring.

As a former land assembler for industry, I know money talks. If developers want the land and will pay for it, all arguments are moot.



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