Urban Growth Review

Public Advisory Elections (Measures A & M)

To ensure that Modesto’s growth is handled in a fiscally responsible manner, the Modesto City Council adopted an Urban Growth Policy on March 25, 1974. One goal of the 1974 Urban Growth Policy was to maintain a three- to five-year supply of vacant residential land for future development.

Measures A and M apply indirectly to the annexation of new territory into the City of Modesto, by requiring that an advisory election of the citizens of Modesto be held prior to extending sewer improvements to new areas with five or more dwelling units. Measure M does not apply to non-residential areas.

Measure A

On March 6, 1979, the voters enacted Measure A, the “Citizens’ Advisory Growth Management Act,” which requires the City Council to hold an advisory vote of the citizens of Modesto prior to extending sewer trunk lines to areas outside of the current sewer service area. Measure A allows Modesto’s citizens to voice their opinions on growth before it happens and ensures that City Council members know the public opinion.

Measure M

On November 4, 1997, the voters enacted Measure M, the “Modesto Citizens’ Advisory Growth Management Act of 1995". The purpose of Measure M is to extend the advisory votes required by Measure A to all sewer improvements and to bring the public’s voice into decisions concerning whether or not to allow urban expansion.

Public advisory elections concerning extending sewer service are typically scheduled every other year in odd-numbered years if City Council determines, through the Urban Growth Review, that the City has an inadequate supply of developable land and that the City’s infrastructure can accommodate additional development.

General Plan Policies (Urban Area Growth Policy Review)

The City of Modesto Urban Area General Plan provides for a periodic review of the City’s Urban Area Growth Policy (Review). The primary purpose of the Review is to assure that there is an adequate inventory of vacant and agricultural land served with urban infrastructure to accommodate anticipated economic development during the next five years. If there is not sufficient inventory, there is a deficit in needed land and additional land should be added to the Current Inventory. (Refer to Chapter II, Section C.1 of the Modesto Urban Area General Plan for more information.)

Urban Growth Review is also conducted to assist the City Council in channeling the timing and direction of growth to those areas that can most feasibly be served with urban infrastructure. As an end result of this review, the City Council may determine which, if any, sewer trunk extensions as defined by the Modesto Citizens’ Advisory Growth Management Act of 1995 (Measure M, see below) are needed and schedule those areas for a public advisory election.

Recent Urban Growth Reviews & Public Advisory Elections

On May 12, 2015, the City Council accepted the 2015 Urban Growth Review (UGR) report, In conjunction with that action, the Council confirmed their prior direction for staff to facilitate a Measure M advisory election for all residentially-developed unincorporated areas (aka "unincorporated County islands") within Modesto's sphere-of-influence that have not yet received such a vote. Download a map of these areas (PDF).

Based on the finding of the 2009 UGR report, the City Council scheduled the following areas for a Measure M advisory election in November 2009:
  • The Kiernan Avenue Corridor consists of three different Comprehensive Planning District (CPDs) (Kiernan/Carver CPD, Kiernan/Carver North CPD, and Salida CPD) located along the north and south sides of Kiernan Avenue between Stoddard Road and McHenry Avenue. The total area of the Kiernan Avenue Corridor is approximately 1,310 acres.
  • The “Tivoli North” area is approximately 480-acre located within the Roselle-Claribel CPD, east of Oakdale Road and north of the future extension of Claratina Avenue.
  • The College West CPD is located along the west side of State Highway 99, generally between the Standiford Avenue and Briggsmore Avenue interchanges, and covers approximately 230 acres.
  • The North McHenry Regional Commercial area is located along McHenry Avenue between Claribel Road and Claratina Avenue. This 130-acre area is designated for Regional Commercial land use and is located on the western portion of the Hetch-Hetchy CPD.
  • The Hetch-Hetchy CPD is located along the south side of Claribel Avenue, from approximately .25 miles east of McHenry Avenue to Oakdale Road. This is the east portion of the Hetch Hetchy CPD designated for Village Residential consisting of approximately 830 acres.

Modesto Public Advisory Elections Map

Areas that have received support for expansion of development through Public Advisory Elections have not all been planned, developed, or annexed, but each area is expected to eventually annex to the City and be developed. The map link shows all of those areas that have been the subject of a public advisory election and indicates which areas have received both positive and negative votes. The positive or negative result of a public advisory election is not binding upon the City Council, which may choose to either allow or prohibit growth in these areas. Download the Public Advisory Elections Map (PDF).