Why Now? Its “Salida Now”

WHY NOW???  Why is the annexation of Salida by Modesto even a topic right now?  It’s not like there are any Salidans over here jumping up and down yelling, “Hey Modesto, annex us!”

There are lots of reasons “why”; some are known, and there’s likely some that will never be publicly known.
But the biggest and most prevalent reason “WHY?” is Modesto wants Salida’s land. Namely, the land surrounding Hammett and Freeway 99 which borders the Stanislaus River.  Modesto has been slowly “cherry-picking” land away from Salida for years now; the land that Costco and Kaiser Hospital were built on used to be part of Salida.  These land grabs were easy pickings for Modesto because its easy for them to justify adding land to their northernmost border with the carrot of “water and infrastructure”.  With its unincorporated status, Salida has no municipality; and essentially no voice, to defend itself against these smaller annexations.

Which brings us to why Modesto is now looking at a full-scale annexation of Salida.  The land that Modesto politicians are after is namely the land contained in the Salida Community Plan. Since that land borders the Stanislaus River and is part of Salida, Modesto can’t justify the leap over their city limits and to the river and Highway 99 otherwise.  The jewel in the crown for them would be the freeway access.  Its our convenient freeway access that put Salida in Modesto’s cross hairs to begin with.  Think about it, this is the second annexation attempt on Salida by Modesto in the last twenty years.  You don’t ever see Modesto trying to annex Empire, an unincorporated community on their southeastern border which is not anywhere near the freeway.

Now if you read my previous post, “August 7, 2007 – A momentous day in the history of Barry Bonds and Salida“, you’ll know that in 2007, I didn’t support and was planning to vote against an initiative called “Salida Now” which calls for the development of the land surrounding my home stretching north to the river.  On August 7, 2007, the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors pulled “Salida Now” from our ballots and passed it with a 3-2 vote.  The passage of the initiative replaced a previous development plan that had been in place for Salida, and thus, “Salida Now” became the new “Salida Community Plan“.

There are still things about the Salida Community Plan that I’m not crazy about; like paving over prime farmland.  However, I’m no longer against the plan because I’ve accepted that its inevitable.  Whether that land stays in Salida or its annexed by Modesto, it WILL be developed.  The landowners have signed agreements with developers.  TheyWANT to sell their land; they are NOT fighting the development of it.  They are just waiting for the economy to turn around for the developers to begin building.  Mr. Emerson Drake of Modesto has shared a public information request he made to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors regarding the developer agreements and to whom the land guarantees were made to.  You can read the document here via his Eye on Modesto blog.

Where I especially support the Salida Community Plan is that $150,000 of the plan is earmarked for the incorporation of Salida.  This money, and the future development, could give Salida the needed tax base providing the ability to become a municipality and not have to thwart annexation attempts by Modesto every decade.  Salida just needs a chance.

After all, it is called the SALIDA COMMUNITY PLAN – and NOT – the Modesto Community Plan!