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March 2009

Article Title  
The Staff & Contacts Read Article
Planning Division Updates Read Article
Land Development Engineering Updates Read Article
Infrastructure Financing Program Updates Read Article
Business Development Updates Read Article
Latest Activity Read Article


The Staff & Contacts

Director of Community & Economic Development:
H. Brent Sinclair, AICP

Chief Building Official:
Will Crew

Business Development Manager:
Linda Boston

Planning Manager:
Patrick Kelly

City Engineer:
Bill Sandhu

Development Related Department Contacts

Community & Economic Development

Fire Department

Parks, Recreation & Neighborhoods

Public Works


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Planning Division Updates

Archway Commons Affordable Housing

On October 9, 2007, the Redevelopment Agency adopted an update to the Redevelopment Master Plan. Shortly thereafter, the City received an application to develop a 150-unit affordable housing project in a County island located on the northwest corner of North 9th Street and Carver Road, within the Redevelopment Plan Area. The application included the annexation of the 8.3-acre project site in addition to 23.9 acres necessary to facilitate the logical extension of City boundary lines by including the entire County island on the east side of North Ninth Street and SR99.

The two-story, 150-unit affordable housing development contains two distinct unit-development patterns. The northern portion of the site is the larger of the two and is predominantly comprised of units clustered around common open-space areas, each containing a tot-lot. The design is intended to promote defensibility and a safe play area for the children of the tenants of each respective unit-cluster. The southern portion of the site contains smaller unit-clusters and does not include tot-lots. These units are intended more for tenants without children. To provide the tenants with recreational and social amenities, the development includes a community center, which contains a community building, pool, BBQ area and open-space area. The community center is located between the units designed for families and those designed for tenants without children. A common open-space area is included just to the north of the community building, providing more recreation opportunities for the residents.

The development is proposed to be funded, in part, through Redevelopment Set-Aside and HOME Funds. The project was approved by the City Council on December 2, 2008. The project applicant is preparing to bring the application before the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) for approval of the annexation, the final step in the entitlement process. It is expected that the application will go before the LAFCO within the next 3-4 months.


Urban Growth Review Update

On September 8, 2008, the City Council directed staff to prepare the 2009 Urban Growth Review Update. The purpose of this study is to inventory vacant land and available infrastructure in Modesto to assist in determining the timing and direction of
future growth. As a result, the City Council may determine if any sewer trunk extensions as defined by Measure M are warranted for an advisory election in November 2009. The Economic Development Committee (EDC) is overseeing the Urban Growth Review Update, hosting a series of workshops from January through May 2009. The first public workshop was held on January 12, 2009, to discuss the vacant land survey and absorption rates for residential, commercial and industrial land uses. The second public workshop was held on February 9, 2009, to conclude review of the vacant land survey and absorption analysis, and to review infrastructure constraints and opportunities. The next public workshop will occur at the March 9, 2009, EDC meeting. This workshop will include initial discussions regarding areas for consideration of potential Measure M ballot measures and appropriate sites to facilitate economic development. The study is tentatively scheduled to be considered by the Planning Commission in May 2009 and by the City Council by June 2009.


Housing Element Update:

Work is underway to update the Housing Element for the next five-year cycle. The housing element is one of the seven mandated elements of the local general plan. Housing element law, enacted in 1969, mandates that local governments adequately plan to meet the existing and projected housing needs of all economic segments of the community. The law acknowledges that, in order for the private market to adequately address housing needs and demand, local governments must adopt land use plans and regulatory systems which provide opportunities for, and do not unduly constrain, housing development. The housing element is the mechanism to accomplish this state requirement.


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Land Development Engineering

Standard Specifications

In our ongoing effort to make our process more user-friendly and provide updated information on a continuing basis, the Land Development Engineering division took the Storm Drain Infill Policy to City Council, and it was adopted on September 23, 2008. It is also time for a complete update of the City Standard Specifications.The current standard specifications were updated May 9, 2006. We will be initiating an update to the City Standards beginning late January 2009. We expect this update to be completed by July 2009. The process will involve dividing the standards into different sections and assigning each section to experts in that area. We are actively looking for participation from members of the Development Community and local engineers to serve on these committees. The goal is to make the standards a valuable tool to the Development Community, Construction Industries, and the citizens of Modesto, improve overall user-friendliness, and provide efficiency and consistency in design of public improvements.

If you are interested in being a part of these committees, and participating in the update of the City Standard Specifications, please contact: Dan England in Land Development Engineering via email or 571-5589.


SR 99/Pelandale Inter-change Reconstruction Project

Land Development has been working on the Project Approval and Environmental Document (PA&ED) for SR99/Pelandale Inter-change reconstruction project. The project proposes to reconstruct the SR 99 IC at Pelandale Avenue in and near the City of Modesto in Stanislaus County to reduce congestion.

In 2006, the City of Modesto made a request to Cal Trans for the City to be the lead agency for the PA & ED phase, and Cal Trans granted City of Modesto lead agency status for this phase of the project. Since then, City staff and its consultant have been working with Cal Trans and the County to agree upon viable alternatives to address traffic congestion at the inter-change. This project is a challenging project with very high traffic volumes and right-of-way constraints on both sides of the inter-change. The team studied several alternatives, and two alternatives met the design criteria. The estimated cost for design, right-of-way, and construction for both alternatives are in the vicinity of 50 million dollars. The draft project report is in for Cal Trans review before it can be released for public review and comments in late January or early February 2009. We expect to finalize the PA & ED phase in March of 2009.


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Infrastructure Financing Program

New Payment Option for Single-Family Residential Building Permits

On March 14, 2009, building permit applicants will have an option to pay development
impact fees, also known as Capital Facilities Fees (CFF), for single-family residential units at the time of building permit issuance OR defer payment of CFF until issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy. On January 13, 2009, the City Council approved a change to Modesto Municipal Code Section 8-1.206 to defer the payment of Capital Facilities Fees (CFF) for single family residential permits until issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. The new ordinance will become effective in 60 days and will be in effect for a period of one year.

Property Owners choosing to defer the payment of CFF will be required to enter into a
"CFF Deferral Agreement and Notice of Lien" with the City, provide a recent title report and pay a total of $262.50 in administration and recording fees. The payment of CFF will be due prior to the close of escrow on the property or prior to issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy, whichever occurs first.

If you have any questions, please contact:
Amy Gedney or Tina Rocha at 209-577-5211.


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Business Development Updates

What's the Big Idea? Getting an idea for your business: It's not as hard as you think!
The Business Development Division staff is in the process of creating an "Entrepreneurs' Workshop" to provide information and assistance to new business ventures, inventors and other cutting edge business enterprises to help diversify and expand Modesto's economy. The City staff's objective is to initiate a Workshop to provide business information, advice on financial options, business plans, patents, workforce recruitment, leasing of business space, marketing and other related business issues. Maybe your first question is: "Why focus on entrepreneurs in this economy?" Financial and economic experts confirm that the key to diversifying and expanding our local economy ~~ especially in these difficult times ~~ is to encourage fledgling businesses, including home-based businesses. The goal is to encourage the folks in and around Modesto who have a great idea, a new product or an exciting service to jump into the business world. While not everyone can be a Bill Gates building a computer in his garage, there are many products and services out there that can provide the spark for a new business.

So, what's YOUR big idea? People are overwhelmed by the belief that they have to start from scratch. They think, "What can I do that no one has ever done before?" In other words, they think they have to reinvent the wheel. To help start you on the path to a new business, here's an excerpt from Entrepreneur Magazine on how easy it is to come up with that BIG IDEA:

"Get the Juices Flowing…….. How do you start the idea process?

First, take out a sheet of paper, and list five to seven things you like to do or that you are really good at, such as I am really good with people, I love kids, I love computers and numbers or I'm good at coming up with marketing concepts. Just write down whatever comes to mind; it doesn't have to make sense.

Next, list things that you don't think you are good at or you don't like to do. Maybe you are really good at marketing concepts, but you don't like to do public speaking or you don't want to travel. When you are finished with both lists, ask yourself, "If there were three to five products or services that would make my personal life better, what would they be?" This is your personal life as a man, woman, father, husband, mother, wife, son, daughter, whatever your situation may be. Determine what products or services would make your life easier or happier, make you more productive or efficient, or simply give you more time. Next, on the other side of the paper ask yourself the same questions about your business life. Now, examine what you like and dislike about your work life as well as what traits people like and dislike about you.

Finally, ask yourself why you're seeking to start a business in the first place. Then, when you are done, look for a pattern to emerge (i.e. is there a need for a business doing one of the things you like or that you are good at?)

Here's another way to get that big idea ~~ listen to the frustrations of your friends and families. If your brain is always set in idea mode, then ideas may come to you from just looking around, reading or listening to others. For instance, if you heard your co-workers complaining about how their lunch hour is shrinking down to only 30 minutes ~~ and if you were thinking like an entrepreneur ~~ you would say, "Wow, maybe there is an opportunity there for me to provide a service within a 30-minute timeframe!"

So, do you have a big idea? A great twist on an old product? An exciting new personal service? Then, keep watching this website and the Modesto Bee for the announcement of the Entrepreneurs' Workshop. It might just be your golden opportunity to embark on your great business adventure!



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Latest Activity

Latest Activity Statistics for Oct. - Dec. 2008

Residential Permits
Single-Family: 17
Multi-Family: 0
Remodels: 591

Commercial Permits
New: 5
Remodels: 90
Misc: 72

Total Permits: 775

Inspections: 8280

Zoning Applications: 7

Plan Reviews: 9

Tentative Subdivision/Parcel Maps
# of Maps: 0
# of Lots: 0

Encroachment Permits
Encroachment: 68
Subdivision: 0
Well: 4
Outdoor Dining: 0
Transportation: 41




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