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May-June 2009

Focus Group Meeting #1 Summary On May 28 and June 3, 2009, the first of four sets of Focus Group meetings for the San Joaquin County General Plan Update took place. Each meeting began with a greeting from County staff, followed by a short overview presentation by Mintier Harnish, the General Plan Update consultant. The Consultants presented an overview of the Update process and the role of the Focus Group members. Focus Group members then explored, in an open discussion, the issues and opportunities that the General Plan Update should address and be included in the Issues and Opportunities Report. The meetings were open for public observation and several community members also provided comments. Each of the five Focus Groups consists of 12-20 members who provide technical and policy input to County staff and the Consultants. The groups are formed around the following topics: Agriculture; Natural Resources and the Delta; Land Use, Housing, and Economic Development; Transportation and Circulation; and Services, Utilities, and Safety. The Focus Groups will provide input on key General Plan Update documents, including: the Background Report; Issues and Opportunities Report; Alternatives Report; and Draft General Plan. As part of the General Plan Update, County staff and the Consultants will prepare an Issues and Opportunities Report that identifies key physical, environmental, economic, cultural, social, and planning issues and opportunities affecting San Joaquin County. These issues and opportunities will be derived from the Background Report, a series of community workshops, and input from the first Focus Group meeting summarized here. The issues and opportunities generally meet the following criteria: they can be influenced by the General Plan; they are subject to the legal authority of the County; and they can be appropriately addressed through General Plan policy. This summary and the Issues and Opportunities Report are not intended to reach conclusions or suggest the manner in which the County should proceed in the development of the General Plan. Rather, they provide an overview of major discussion issues that are of key importance, and opportunities that could help shape the future.


May and June 2009

Focus Group Members The following agency, organization, and community members volunteered for the Focus Groups. Each Focus Group member participated in discussions to provide insights about the County. Focus Group input is summarized in the following pages. Agriculture Brad Lange, Farmer Joe Petersen, Farmer Mike Darnell, American Farmland Trust Mark Chandler, Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission Jack Hamm, Farm Bureau Katie Patterson, Farm Bureau Scott Hudson, Ag Commissioner Paul Precissi, Flying Services Mike Serpa, Delicato Vineyards/Attorney Mel Lytle, San Joaquin County Public Works/ Water Resources Brandon Nakagawa, San Joaquin County Public Works/Water Resources Gary Barton, Farmer Rudy Mussi, Farmer Richard Wagner, Dairy Farmer Paul Verdegaal, UC Cooperative Extension Natural Resource/Delta David Beadles, San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation Rick Mielbrecht, Sierra Club Mel Lytle, San Joaquin County Public Works/ Water Resources Brandon Nakagawa, San Joaquin County Public Works/Water Resources Dan Gifford, Cal Dept. of Fish & Game Ellen McBride, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Srv. Steve Mayo, San Joaquin COG Dante Nomellini, Jr., Reclamation District Representative/Attorney Mike Brown, Brown Sand Lillie Noble, Teichert Kelly Foote, Citizen Stacy Luthy, UOP Mary Hildebrand, Farm Bureau David Weisenberger, Banta-Carbona Irrigation District Linda Fiak, Delta Protection Commission Chris Neudeck, Kjeldsen, Sinnock, & Neudeck

Land Use/Housing/Economic Development John Beckman, BIA Shelley Burcham, San Joaquin Partnership Mike Locke, San Joaquin Partnership Randy Hatch, Campaign for Common Ground Mike Souza, Realtor/Developer Douglas Wilhoit, Greater Stockton Chamber Mark Plovnick, UOP Howard Seligman, Attorney Bill Cook, Banker Pete Mitracos, Former Tracy Planning Commissioner Bob Hurst, Citizen Don Moyer, Consultant Xochitl Paderes, Citizen Bob Lauchland, Farm Bureau Mel Lytle, San Joaquin County Public Works/Water Resources Brandon Nakagawa, San Joaquin County Public Works/Water Resources Daniel Barber, SJVAPCD Patia Siong, SJVAPCD Joe Sublett, Lockeford MAC Gary Gordon, Lockeford Historical Society Pat Gotelli, Morada MAC William Van Fields, Morada MAC Mike Swearingen, San Joaquin COG Kim Anderson, San Joaquin COG Transportation/Circulation Mike Selling, San Joaquin County Public Works/Transportation Mike Swearingen, San Joaquin COG Stacey Mortensen, San Joaquin Rail Commission


Kathy Selsor, Caltrans Tom Dumas, Caltrans Nathaniel Atherstone, Regional Transit District Susan Palmeri, Stockton Metro Airport Steve Escobar, Port of Stockton James Barbour, Citizen Bob Hurst, Citizen John Beckman, BIA Richard Rodriguez, Farm Bureau Daniel Barber, SJVAPCD Patia Siong, SJVAPCD Joe Sublett, Lockeford MAC Gary Gordon, Lockeford Historical Society Services/Utilities/Safety Alex Chetley, San Joaquin Public Works/ Public Services Mark Connelly, San Joaquin Public Works/Flood Management Mel Lytle San Joaquin Public Works/ Water Resources Brandon Nakagawa, San Joaquin Public Works/Water Resources Donna Heran, San Joaquin County Environmental Health Ron Baldwin, San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services Lt. John Williams, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office Steve Dalton, Fire Karen Soliz, Woodbridge MAC Alex Garcia, Citizen Donald Dunn, Retired Military/Logistics Andrew Estrada, Citizen Ted Leland, UOP Ross Moilan, Cal Water Kevin Kauffman, Stockton East Water District Jeanette Thomas, Stockton East Water District John Green, Stockton East Water District Chris Neudeck, Kjeldsen, Sinnock, & Neudeck William Van Fields, Morada MAC

May and June 2009

FOCUS GROUP MEETING #1 SUMMARY Agriculture Focus Group Summary

Issues • Changing agricultural environment; need policies to allow flexibility/adaptability • Urban expansion • Changing land use designations • Technology works for corporate farms but is not always a solution for family farming • More efficiency in farming equals less land demand; it is a “doubleedged sword” since more land becomes available for development • Expansion of existing and development of new dairies is limited in the County because of land costs and available parcel sizes compared to the amount of land needed • Antiquated subdivisions, parcelization, and agricultural parcel splits remove land from agriculture; parcels below 40 acres become less viable for agriculture • Competition for land and reduction in parcel size to accommodate rural residential development (e.g. ranchettes) • Loss of agricultural land; most ag land conversion is occurring through annexation • Loss of agriculture is causing a loss of tax base • Challenge of diverse agricultural regions throughout the County; need different polices for different regions • Regulations require more time and money to address; making farming less profitable and harder to accomplish • Pressure for Agricultural Commission to be a police force (e.g., State Law says to penalize on first violation (e.g. worker safety, drift)) • Regulations of farm labor housing • Conflicts between organic farming and neighbors (e.g., conflicts between individual grower decisions) • Education of an urban public on the benefits of agriculture • Habitat conservation limits agricultural flexibility and diminishes capacity for production

• Ag-urban edge conflicts (e.g., agricultural crime, garbage dumping); there is a need for public education • Agricultural buffers/greenbelts (e.g., Lodi-Stockton); decision will impacts how similar areas are treated or addressed and could result in pressure going elsewhere • Perception that agriculture contributes to climate change without considering its sequestration of GHG emissions • Cities don’t have the same right-to-farm ordinance as County • Conflicts between Delta recreation and agriculture; need flexibility • Fragmentation of farmland (not as big an issue in San Joaquin County) • Churches in ag zones • Peripheral canal impacts on agriculture and loss of farms • Water availability for agriculture


• Technology advancement (e.g., bio, equipment) and mechanization of operations • Designated ranchette district • Integrate homes with agricultural operations (clustered development) • Agricultural organizations (e.g., Farm Bureau; UC Extension, Agricultural Commission) support and encourage agriculture in the County; increased County support for UC Extension services • Greenbelt separators • Thriving, independent ag operations • Public education regarding the benefits of buying local • Value-added agriculture • Preserving water rights in the Delta and rest of County for agriculture • Create more flexibility for agriculture through General Plan policies • Williamson Act program • Agri-tourism, applying specific approaches to different regions of the County



May and June 2009

Natural Resource/The Delta Focus Group Summary Issues • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The Delta areas within the County are unique Implementation of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) DRMS report (inaccuracies) Conflicts between the working landscapes in the Delta Delta levees: safety and protection Delta species protection and habitat restoration Primary/secondary zones of the Delta Delta secondary zone encroachment Impacts of invasive species Impacts of boating; marinas, abandoned vessels in the Delta Impacts to utilities and infrastructure within the Delta Impact of the Peripheral Canal on the Delta Quality of upstream water entering into the Delta Salt water intrusion in the Delta Delta water rights under attack Urban encroachment into the Delta secondary zone Public access to the Delta and related crime issues Allowing wastewater treatment in the Delta Protection of species and preservation of critical habitat Water supply, storage use, quality, reliability, rights, imports, and recharge Loss of groundwater recharge areas due to development Future urbanization within floodplains Depleted aggregate resources and competition to provide aggregate from other countries Impact of habitat conservation easements on agricultural land – how can they coexist?

• Soil conservation/protection • Ag waiver (i.e., NPDES permitting conditions) • Uncertainty of long-term water supply when entering into agricultural conservation easements • Reduction in public recreation land • Competing interests for water supplies • Flooding (sheet flooding of County roads) • State regulations on septic systems • Impacts of vegetation and animals on levees • Allowing the right kinds of levee vegetation for habitat • Flooding impacts on species (e.g., brush rabbit that relies on vegetation along levees) • Loss of critical habitat and endangered species


May and June 2009

FOCUS GROUP MEETING #1 SUMMARY Natural Resource/The Delta Focus Group Summary (continued)

Opportunities • San Joaquin County Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan • San Joaquin County has three alluvial fans (two of which are depleted, but one is a major resource) – opportunities for aggregate • Support and encourage use of dredged material • Groundwater recharge, recreation, and other opportunities on reclaimed sites • Protecting water resources • Groundwater recharge opportunities • Renewable energy resources • Coordination and consistency with the four other Delta counties currently updating General Plans • Acquisition of land for parks and recreation areas • Finding common ground/mutual agreement on wildlife habitat and agricultural preservation (opportunity to do this through the General Plan) • Develop buffers based on land characteristics – Delta has unique characteristics • Delta Conservancy • Economic development/incentives in the Delta • Wastewater treatment for agriculture within Delta • Habitat preservation on land already out of agricultural production (e.g. channel islands) • Private ownership over public ownership of easements • Cluster development • Direction for home placement on lots to provide for more open space

• Levees are not a “failing system;” however it is a resource/funding issue • Comprehensive approach to recreation and public access to determine Delta road abandonment • Delta-wide policy/program approach • Preserve historic and environmentally-significant sites in the Delta



May and June 2009

Transportation Focus Group Summary Issues Transportation Planning • Need for land use consistency with other long-term planning efforts recently completed or under development • Coordination between city general plan updates and County General Plan Update • Need to reflect the recently adopted Regional Expressway System Study by SJCOG Climate Change • Climate change legislation (AB 32 & SB 375 requirements for planning) • Meeting AB32 Transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions • Linking land use and transportation • Market penetration of alternative fuel vehicles and technological improvements may not offset growth to reduce GHG emissions by 30% as mandated by AB 32 and SB 375 • Currently, on-road mobile sources contribute approximately 50-70 percent of total GHG emissions. • AB 32 and SB 375 are unfunded mandates; no additional funding has been created to cover transit capital or operating funds needed to meet the requirements. • Economic impacts of energy shifts and cost Transit • Accommodating high-speed rail • Lack of accessibility to alternatives modes of transportation in rural areas • Lack of emphasis on alternative modes; specifically lack of connectivity and coordination of modes • Loss of railroad right-of-way (ROW) in the Lockeford Planning Area • Northeast County (Lockeford Planning Area) will be losing transit service – Calaveras Transit will be discontinuing service in northeast San Joaquin County creating a service gap • Transit ridership (Lockeford had a “Hopper” service discontinued years ago due to lack of ridership)

• • • •

Density and land use to support transit Public transit facilities and stops that are centrally located Park and ride locations Class II bike facilities are incompatible with transporting farm equipment • Bicyclists not following traffic laws Roads and Highways • Traffic and safety on rural roads • Cut-through traffic and commuters on rural roads • Commute patterns • Single occupancy vehicle strips • Traffic impacts from adjacent counties (e.g., the new Indian Casino in Amador County) • Traffic impacts on preserved areas between cities • Safety on roadways and emergency services • State highways or regional expressways doubling as community main streets. Rural downtowns are suffering as regional traffic is incompatible with community values and quality of life • Most dangerous road is Mariposa Road • Need an SR-88/SR-12 Bypass and a Lockeford-Clements Bypass • Urban transitional areas should be analyzed in greater detail. If urban-to-urban expressways are congested traffic will divert and potentially impact rural areas. Example – Howard Avenue being used as an alternative parallel route for I-205 traffic.


May and June 2009

FOCUS GROUP MEETING #1 SUMMARY Transportation Focus Group Summary (continued)

Agricultural Conflicts • Conflicts between transport of agricultural equipment and commuters • Moving agricultural equipment. Liability of moving farm equipment has increased, which has raised the cost of custom farming equipment • County needs rural services (Roadside Service Patrols) to more quickly respond to incidents and accidents related to transporting farm equipment • CHP changing roadway designations from non-rural does not support the transportation of farm equipment • New signal at SR-88/Waterloo at Alpine is causing traffic to divert onto rural county roadways which impacts farmers moving farm equipment. Goods Movement • Accommodating separate goods movement by rail and truck (long and short haul) • Efficient goods movement Funding • Lack of consistency in traffic impact fees across jurisdictions • Public transit funding • Financial constraints for transportation projects • Operation cost for transit • Reality of improvements – will it work?

Opportunities • • • •

High speed rail service Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Regional transit systems Investments in alternative transportation and regional transit services • City plans for transportation improvements • Leveraging funds • Connecting transit

• Re-examine the possibility of purchasing the rail right-of-way (ROW) available in the northeast portion of the County • Support transit to address demographic shifts (e.g., aging population) • Regional Transit Systems Plan • County Bikeway Master Plan • Congestion Management Plan • Regional Expressway Plan • BRT Master Plan extension throughout County • Target large employers to work with SJCOG’s Commute Connections to establish employer based trip reduction programs for their work forces • Regulate growth and development to support transit • Limit growth in underserved transit areas • Incentives for telecommuting • Incentives to reduce VMT and increase transit • Make transportation studies available • Changing perspectives/educating change on transportation choices • Prioritizing transportation improvements bi-passes • Expansion of SR-4 serving the Port of Stockton • Move major circulation routes away from communities • Use of bypasses to allow regional traffic to bypass community downtowns – will revitalize communities now inundated with regional traffic and restore rural main streets • Motorized barge at Port of Stockton will greatly reduce truck traffic • Widen shoulders and provide better signage to warn motorists of roadways used to transport farm equipment • Rural roads should be classified as commercial roads to support farming and transport of farming equipment • Stockton Airport for passenger and air cargo services • Air Park 5-99 catalyst • Federal designation of waterway/port



May and June 2009

Utilities, Services, and Safety Focus Group Summary Issues Safety • New flood zone designations; more area of County (especially around Smith Canal) will be impacted by building restrictions • Less opportunity to get Federal funding for infrastructure • Governance regarding flood control • How can the General Plan protect small communities? • High summer fire hazard • Some rural areas don’t have established emergency response times • Air quality • Question of seismic risk in the Delta • Fire response time in rural areas • Subsidence in Morada area and throughout County Facilities/Services • Growth in areas with limited and aging infrastructure • Utilities • Health care access • Wells/small water systems • On-site septic system requirements (AB 885 – 5-year inspection cycle for septic tanks) • Groundwater overdraft and related salt water intrusion • Solar access • Need to consider emergency first responders • Peripheral canal

Opportunities • Low-impact development (LID) • Integrated water plans (surface, groundwater) • Calaveras and Amador County interest in regional approach to septic treatment • Farmington, Escalon, and area west of Lathrop don’t have local area to dispose of septic waste • Resolve septic sludge issues (fertilizer, energy) • Groundwater recharge (Duck Creek reservoir, conjunctive use) • Partner with agriculture to develop wind and solar energy farms • LAFCO fire district study • Renewable and sustainable energy


May and June 2009

FOCUS GROUP MEETING #1 SUMMARY Land Use, Economic Development, and Housing Focus Group Summary (cont’)

Issues Land Use • Where will growth occur? Determining who wants growth, where, and how much? What type? • City expansions • Zoning incompatibilities. Growth-inducing zoning • Traffic impacts on rural downtowns • Consideration of noise and water impacts • No infrastructure for urban development in unincorporated County • Balance between agriculture and non-agricultural land uses • Agricultural productivity; regulatory obstacles to agri-tourism; preserving rights on agricultural land • Crime • Large-scale big box stores being pushed into San Joaquin Valley (based on land values) • Fiscalization of land use • Cities relying more on sales tax; more retail equals more low paying jobs • Non-attainment for many air quality standards • Alluvial fan around Vernalis designated Mineral Resource Zone Economic Development • What is the County’s role in economic development? • Lack of education and higher education opportunities • High school drop outs and difficulty re-entering education system • Obstacles for small business: lack of access to capital, lack of incubators, lack of educated workforce • Obstacles to business development in California (e.g. cost, regulations) • Lack of technological infrastructure to support industrial growth • No comprehensive fiber optic network • Well-being of rural communities • Lack of economic growth • No jobs to retain skilled workers – no skilled workers to attract jobs

Impacts from neighboring Counties (e.g. Casino in Amador County) and impacts of San Joaquin County on other jurisdictions – regional partnerships Other • Historic preservation; losing historic buildings • Preserving oak groves • Climate change; reducing greenhouse gas emissions • Water supply • Impacts of peripheral canal

Opportunities Land Use • Enhance agriculture • Promoting growth in cities; more efficient land use (County can act as release valve) • Use of ranchettes as community separators • Re-examine emphasis on growth within cities • Available land and cheaper labor • Community separators Economic Development • Advanced education and research and development • Renewable energy (e.g. solar farms) and clean industries • Expand value-added agriculture and agri-tourism beyond wine industry • Reuse of quarries (south of Tracy) • Expansion of green industries • Work with school districts regarding dropout rates • Small community enterprise zones • Airpark 5/99 – high value component assembly industries • Market driven planning-what are prospective employers looking for? • 8-county broadband project (stimulus money) • Redevelopment around Tracy airport • Increased technical education • Build executive housing to attract jobs Other • Climate change adaptation • Cultural heritage/oak groves


San Joaquin County Focus Group 1 Summary  
San Joaquin County Focus Group 1 Summary  

San Joaquin County Focus Group 1 Summary