Supporters of Measure I, which calls for putting an urban growth boundary around most of Modesto to protect prime farmland, are inviting the public to learn more about the measure and how they can participate in the campaign. Meaure I will be on the November ballot.
The meeting will will be Wednesday from 7 to 8 p.m. in Wood Colony at the Hart-Ransom School gym, 3930 Shoemake Ave. Attendees can learn about the measure and get yard signs, pamphlets and fliers, said Jake Wenger, a colony farmer, Modesto Irrigation District board member and member of the Measure I campaign, which also is known as Stamp Out Sprawl.
Stamp Out Sprawl calls for drawing an urban growth line around most of Modesto. The line would roughly follow Morse Road on the west, Kiernan Avenue-Claribel Road on the north, and Whitmore Avenue and the Tuolumne River on the south. The line would be C-shaped and push growth to the east of Modesto along Claus Road, where the farmland is of lesser quality.
Any development beyond the line would require a citywide vote first.
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The urban growth line also carves out about 1,000 acres for business and industrial parks, high-density housing and other development in north Modesto in an area bounded by Pirrone Road to the north, Dale Road to the east, Pelandale Avenue to the south, and Sisk Road and Highway 99 to the west. Wenger said development in that area would not require a vote, with the one exception of a typical housing subdivision.
The proposed boundary protects Wood Colony, the unincorporated farming community west of Highway 99.
The SOS campaign is in part a reaction to Modesto’s efforts to amend its general plan, which serves as a blueprint for how the city will grow and develop. A majority of council members voted more than a year ago to include Wood Colony in the plan, to the dismay of a few hundred colony residents and their supporters, who packed meetings in opposition.
The council designated several hundred acres in the colony for big-box retailers and business parks. The general plan amendment is undergoing a review and could come back to the council in 2016 for possible adoption.
The SOS campaign gathered nearly 10,000 signatures of Modesto voters to qualify the initiative for the November election.
Wenger emphasized that Measure I is not an anti-growth. He said it protects prime farmland while allowing for growth on the roughly 1,000 acres in north Modesto and Claus Road. “It’s not a no-growth plan,” he said. “It’s a smart-growth plan.” He added that Measure I is an opportunity for Modesto residents to have a say in how they want their city to grow.
More about the proposal, including a map of the urban growth boundary, is available at www.stampoutsprawl.com.