Time to seek new options for Crows Landing
Aug 23, 2012 | 1192 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After five years, Stanislaus County supervisors are still waiting for environmental studies for Gerry Kamilos’ proposed PCCP West Park project. The county has given Kamilos plenty of grace, despite economic and legal challenges, and it is time to seek other options.

Supervisors did the right thing Tuesday by voting against a plan proposed by Supervisor Dick Monteith in which Kamilos would provide an overdue $2.75 million deposit this week and the developer would have until late April to complete environmental studies. Too often, supervisors have chased after carrots Kamilos has waved in front of them, only to see his promises fall apart.

Board Chairman Bill O’Brien is wise to desire that any project presented to the county meet the same stringent requirements as West Park. However, county leaders also need to ensure that the process to develop the former Crows Landing naval airbase is fair to all. The county’s formal Request for Proposal should be written in a way that prevents Kamilos from gaining a competitive advantage because of the adjacent property he controls outside the airbase’s footprint. Instead, it should be based on development of the 1,528-acre airbase alone.

Whoever ultimately develops that property also must do a better job of communicating with West Side residents and leaders.

We also hope to see supervisors move beyond the nasty political battles that have raged over development of the air facility. Too many dirty tricks have been played in recent years — from an anonymous online video attacking Supervisor Jim DeMartini a few years ago to a recent email, falsely claiming to be from former supervisor candidate Bill Lyons, that alleged a conflict of interest with Supervisor Terry Withrow.

The decision about the airbase needs to be objective, based on the project’s own merits. Development of the Crows Landing Air Facility has enormous potential to benefit the entire county, and a cooler-headed approach would be good for everyone.
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