The City Council on Tuesday will consider approving a land swap between Modesto and Stanislaus Food Products that officials say will help the tomato cannery, improve traffic and provide the city with $2.55 million.
The proposal calls for Stanislaus Food to acquire 11th Street between D Street and Morton Boulevard, 12th between B Street and Morton, and B between 10th and 12th streets. The cannery would close the streets as part of improving and potentially expanding its operations, according to a city report. Modesto would acquire land between B and D streets that it could use to extend 10th Street as well as some nearby strips of land.
Modesto would get $400,000 for the land swap, $2 million that the council can use at its discretion, and $150,000 for a traffic circulation study. The study would help Modesto decide what traffic improvements it can make in the area. Options include extending 10th Street or moving Morton out of the flood plain and connecting it to Ninth Street.
Officials have said the $400,000 is for the difference in the value of the property the city is acquiring versus the value of the property Stanislaus Food is acquiring.
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The council was poised to consider a slightly different proposal in July, but it was pulled from the meeting agenda after council members raised questions. The land swap is not a new idea, but the council had last discussed it in October 2015. After pulling the proposal from its July meeting, the council has met in closed session to discuss the land swap, which also was discussed at a council committee meeting in September.
The July proposal called for the city to use the $2 million to extend 10th Street. City officials also talked then about how that is part of the city’s vision for remaking downtown, with Tenth Street running from Tenth Street Plaza to the Tuolumne River Regional Park. The new proposal does not mention this but includes the $150,000 for the traffic circulation study.
Public Works Director Bill Sandhu said the land swap itself will improve traffic. For instance, the city report says Stanislaus Food will move its weigh scale and flavor evaluation station, which will cut down on how much time the trucks hauling tomatoes will be on the city streets during canning season.
The deal is not final if the council approves it Tuesday. That’s because Modesto and Stanislaus Food each have to complete other steps laid out in the land exchange agreement. Those steps include the city and cannery entering into a development agreement regarding Stanislaus Food’s property. The cannery will reimburse the city as much as $100,000 for the city’s work on the agreement.
The council meets at 5:30 p.m. in the basement chambers of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.
Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316