A ballot initiative was recently submitted to the Stanislaus County Elections office for certification of a measure that would establish urban limit lines for the City of Modesto. There are good reasons to establish urban limits.
The City of Modesto Planning Department has a map showing proposals for development of parts of Wood Colony. One of the designations is for a shopping center on the northwest corner of Maze Boulevard and Carpenter Road. Behind the shopping center, the map shows houses are to be built.
Terhesa Gamboa, head of the Woodland West Neighborhood Association and Chairperson for the Citizens’ Advisory Committee of the Stanislaus Council of Governments, said that she noticed the designations when she looked at a planning map of the city.
If the shopping center is built, it will be across the street from the Gallo estate, a beautiful green area on the west side of Modesto.
Various shopping centers in and around the City of Modesto have vacant store fronts and are becoming blighted. Rather than wait until existing centers are healthy, local government continues to rubber stamp new shopping center proposals regardless of the detrimental effect on existing business.
Potential Tenants for a New Shopping Center?
The Crossroads Shopping Center is located on the northwest corner of Kansas Avenue and Carpenter Road, less than a mile from the land designated for the new shopping center. The Crossroads Center usually has at least one vacant storefront and has had up to 5 vacant spaces in recent years.
Construction of a new shopping center at nearby Maze Boulevard would undoubtedly result in more vacancies at Crossroads. According to a store manager employed with CVS Pharmacy, the company would strongly consider relocation to the proposed Maze Boulevard shopping center.
The present CVS store in the Crossroads Center has too much floor space for the company’s needs. The company wants to build a drive through window at a new smaller location. The idling engines of cars at a drive through would add to air pollution, which would further degrade the health of citizens in the community.
The CVS location in the Crossroads Center was previously occupied by Long’s Drug Stores. CVS bought out the entire Long’s chain. The former Long’s at McHenry and Granger Avenues has been vacant for years and is a major eyesore. A new CVS was built at McHenry and Briggsmore Avenues, only a block away from the closed store. Rather than rebuild, CVS created urban blight with no opposition from the city. If CVS moved out of the Crossroads Shopping Center, the company would give the community another blighted storefront.
If a shopping center were built at Maze and Carpenter Roads, area residents could expect at least one or more drive through fast food restaurants, maybe a gas station, and a few small businesses. Perhaps, the center would have a few permanent vacancies after the new 132 West Expressway/Freeway takes traffic off of Maze Boulevard.
A bank could move in. Another large grocery store could be built, either to house new competition or steal away the Cost Less Food store from the Crossroads Center.
Why Citizens Should Support Urban Limits
Whatever businesses would move into a shopping center at Maze Boulevard and Carpenter Road, the shopping center would become more of the same type of development that is found elsewhere in town, adding to the relentless sprawl of a community becoming increasingly blighted as it grows.
Absent better land use planning by local governments and a coherent General Plan that the politicians will adhere to, citizens should use the ballot box to establish urban limit lines.