C&ED 2008 Fall Quarterly Newsletter

Neighborhood Compatibility Guidelines

In the last few years, there has been increasing concern expressed by residents in Modesto’s established neighborhoods regarding new homes and home additions within these neighborhoods.  The concerns have focused on the scale, massing, and architectural compatibility of the new home or addition with the existing homes in the area.

These concerns culminated in 2007 with a request by two neighborhood groups that the City pursue regulations or guidelines to address these concerns.  As a result of this request, the City Council directed staff to prepare guidelines or regulations to address three areas of concern:  neighborhood compatibility guidelines to ensure that new homes and additions in established neighborhoods are compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods, multi-family design guidelines to ensure that new multi-family projects in the community have both a high quality of design and are compatible with their surroundings, and a heritage tree ordinance to protect unique or special trees in the community. 

A public workshop with the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Adjustment was held on October 23. 

A second workshop will be held in early 2009.  Drafts of all three efforts are available on the City’s website at http://www.modestogov.com/ced/documents/planning.aspx

For further information, contact the Planning Division at (209) 577-5267.



Naraghi Lakes Commercial Project

A new retail center is being proposed at the southwest corner of Oakdale Road and Sylvan Avenue. The center will sit on 18 acres at the northern end of the Naraghi Lakes development. The proposed center will include 172,600 square feet of retail space. Although most tenants have not yet been identified, one of the major tenants that will be locating in the center is a 58,000-square-foot health club. The project proponents have applied for a General Plan amendment and rezoning to allow for the retail center. The application is currently under review and environmental and traffic studies for the project are underway. It is anticipated that the project will be going to the Planning Commission and City Council for public hearings in the first quarter of 2009.



Affordable Housing Implementation Tools Document

The Affordable Housing Implementation Tools document provides a series of policies and programs that will help facilitate the development of affordable housing. A workshop was held with the City Council on September 30, 2008, at which time the Council took action to approve the affordable housing toolbox. The final version of the approved document will be posted on our website in November.



Kiernan Business Park East

The Kiernan Business Park East project site is located on the east side of Dale Road between Kiernan Avenue and Pelandale Avenue. The Kiernan Business Park Specific Plan is proposed to be amended to include approximately 39 acres of Commercial and Medium High Density Residential development on the east side of Dale Road, with 114 acres remaining for Business Park development. All technical analyses have been concluded for the project, and the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is now under production. The draft Specific Plan and DEIR are expected to be released for 45-day public review in November 2008, followed by final City Council approval by mid-2009.


Shackelford Area Annexation

At its regular meeting on September 9, 2008, the City Council directed staff to recommence work to move this 153-acre, 498-lot County "island" area toward annexation. City sewer service has been available to properties within the area for some time, although not all property owners have yet connected to the system. Issues remain to be resolved between the City and County before annexation will be completed, but staff anticipates that annexation might occur as early as 2009, after which time the full array of City services will be available to the area.



General Plan/Master Environmental Impact Report "Technical Amendment"

On October 14, 2008, the City Council certified the General Plan Master EIR and approved a technical update to the General Plan. The technical update has served to make the General Plan and MEIR more current with respect to City policies and new legislation. The update did not provide for a comprehensive update, or result in a "new" General Plan. Changes to the documents are generally associated with new and revised policies, and the General Plan land use exhibit remains unchanged.

Approval by the City Council results in streamlined application of local and state policies, and a "freshened" Master EIR that will allow subsequent entitlements to take advantage of the tiering provisions of CEQA. These provisions significantly reduce the cost of, and time involved in, preparing environmental documents on a project-by-project basis, which project applicants and City staff have used to their advantage. Additionally, the Master EIR includes a new section on climate change, which will further assist project applicants who are seeking entitlements.



Business Development Update

Business Development – What’s Going On?

Business Prospects
Staff is working with several companies to facilitate site location searches. Recent developments:

• Modesto has been placed on the “Short List” for a national Technical Support Center with 500 full-time jobs and 200 part-time jobs. This well-known company has narrowed their search to four sites in the nation, with Modesto being one of those sites. Staff has been working with this company for more than 4 months and we expect a site decision will be made by mid-August.
• Modest is under consideration for a large health care facility within the City limits.

As soon as final property negotiations are complete, the companies will authorize the publication of their names and we will keep the Council informed.

Kansas-Woodland Business Park (FMC)
The Purchase and Sale Agreement, along with several companion agreements, are being reviewed by both staff and FMC Corporation for final document approval. These are expected to be before the Redevelopment Agency in November.


Comprehensive Developer User Fee Study

The City continues to work with Public Resource Management Group to complete a five-year comprehensive cost analysis to ensure that our developer user fees are set appropriately. The comprehensive study of developer user fees includes:

• Planning Fees
• Engineering Fees
• Landscape Review Fees
• Building Permit Fees
• Fire Prevention Fees

This comprehensive study is not only including a review of the existing fees, but we have been reviewing areas identified by staff as well as the consultant, where we have not been recovering costs at all. The purpose of the study is to ensure that the fees being charged are covering the costs incurred for delivering various services. It is our hope to have the study complete by the end of this calendar year.


Help Make Our Services Better!

If you have worked with City staff in any of the following areas, we want to hear from you:

  • Building Permits
  • Building inspections
  • Planning/Zoning
  • Business Development
  • Sewer Cost Share
  • Utility or Property Line Location
  • Encroachment, grading or transportation Permits
  • Fence Guidelines
  • Agreements
  • Water or Sewer Fees
  • Commercial or Subdivision Plan Check
  • Parcel Map Processing

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