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Stanislaus supervisors give Salida growth plan the go-ahead

The Salida Now initiative won’t be going on the Nov. 6 ballot after all - it was adopted as a county ordinance this morning.

The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to adopt the planning document, which calls for development of 5,000 housing units, a business park and commercial areas, a regional park on the Stanislaus River, and funding for an east-west expressway.

Supervisors Jeff Grover, Jim DeMartini and Dick Monteith voted for adopting the ordinance rather than putting it on the November ballot for county residents to decide.

They pointed out the need for jobs in the county, and the need to end the county’s $3 million a year subsidy of municipal services for Salida.

Supervisors Bill O’Brien and Tom Mayfield voted against adopting the plan immediately, but they both voiced support for the plan itself.

Mayfield noted that initiative backers had gathered 25,000 signatures, far more than the Salida population of 14,000. Those who signed the petition from outside Salida won’t get a chance to vote on the initiative, Mayfield said.

Supporters of the plan packed the basement chamber, wearing red Salida Now T-shirts. Most of the speakers at the public hearing urged the supervisors to move forward with the plan, saying it would help Salida residents determine their own future.

The development would provide a tax base to allow residents to choose whether Salida should incorporate as a city, supporters said.

Salida municipal services are currently subsidized by the county at a cost of about $3 million a year.

Opponents of the initiative criticized details of the plan. Marcie Powell of Salida said the proposed regional park on the river would attract the homeless, and the plan calls for high density residential development near a sewage plant.

Mike Garcia of Modesto commented that the residential development would hurt everyone, with added traffic, social service and medical needs. The commercial and industrial portion of the development is needed, he said, but not the housing.

Supervisors commented that adopting the plan does not give a green light to the development. It must go through environmental reviews, planning scrutiny and board approvals. The first house would not be built until 2010, according to the plan.

Bee staff writer Tim Moran can be reached at tmoran@modbee.com or 578-2349.

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