In 2008, Turlock began updating its general plan, as required by state law. The general plan guides the city’s growth, generally over a 20-year period. Citizen input is required and Turlock citizens were well represented in the three-year process. Two proposals came out of the meetings: that the city retain a compact urban footprint and protect surrounding farmland.
A majority of the City Council ignored the desire for a compact footprint, supporting instead a plan to put residential growth west of the freeway (paving over our best farmland and water recharge areas). By contrast, the Turlock Planning Commission recommended the plan with the smallest expansion onto the best farmland.
Mike Brem chaired the Planning Commission and was steadfast in the commission’s recommendation that the City Council choose the plan that focused on infill while directing growth away from the best soils and recharge areas. Councilman Forrest White, and the Planning Commission, rejected the large plan supported by the majority of the council (by a 3-2 vote). In the end, the council voted for the commission’s plan when Blue Diamond expressed concern over residential growth slowing the flow of goods near its proposed facility west of Turlock.
Turlock continues to be the Valley town that other cities see as a model for growth and long-term protection of farmland. When you vote, vote for candidates who are committed to smart growth. Remember, City Council and mayoral elections are non-partisan.
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Jeani Ferrari, Turlock