LAFCo staff recommended that the panel deny the project on grounds that it would impact water tables in the area and there was no agricultural mitigation to help offset the loss of farmland in the area. The panel, sided however, with project studies that indicated the loss of farmland would actually help or keep the water table the same stating industrial and commercial businesses use less water than agricultural land uses.
The expansion has two main park components, the Arambel Park and the KDN Business Center. The project will eventually increase the land size of the city by more than 30 percent.
The 948-acre Arambel Park would focus on light industrial businesses, similar to those already in the West Patterson Business Park, including CVS and Kohl’s distribution centers. The 104-acre KDN center is planned for retail uses.
The expansion in west Patterson would encompass the Arambel Business Park and KDN Retail Center, projects proposed for land west of Rogers Road, east of Interstate 5, south of Zacharias Road and north of Sperry Avenue. Most of the area is farmland and would continue to be farmed until developed even after annexation.
Developer and farmer Jeff Arambel said the project and an estimated 10,000 jobs with $3.1 million in net revenue to the county and another $3.5 million annually to the city Patterson.
All told, the developers will pay close to $80 million in impact fees to the city, county, schools and hospital district, he said.
A disagreement between the developers and Stanislaus County was recently settled over road impacts on county roads that may increase as businesses locate to the annexed portion of Patterson.
LAFCo Commissioner Brad Hawn said it’s all about trying to lower the jobless rate in Stanislaus County.
“We’ve got to do something with this 15 to 20 percent unemployment,” he said.
Commission Chairman Bill O’Brian agreed.
“We all know we need more jobs,” he said. “We’ve been told we don’t have enough shovel ready land for the last 15 to 20 years. Patterson has picked the best site for this.
Developer J.P. Smith, however, wrote a letter asking for denial. Smith represents different commercial sites in Patterson including land near the corner of West Las Palmas and Ward Avenues. He said developers injected their opinion at every turn and corrupted the environmental report process that the city engaged in.
Commissioners were not dissuaded.
“I want to applauld the city of Patterson for having smart growth and a 20 year plan, they’ve done a great job,” Commissioner Amy Bublak said.