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Housing Element Update Due Before Planners
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Escalon Planning Commission members are scheduled to meet in special session tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 17 with the main order of business a presentation of the General Plan Housing Element Update. The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Escalon Branch Library at 1540 Second Street.

The housing element is something that the city is looking to adopt, said interim City Manager Doug Dunford, as it can help pave the way for future development.

"I don't know how contentious it's going to be," Dunford said, noting that the city planners and city council appear ready to move forward with the housing element, but he's not quite sure what concerns there may be from the public or developers.

There will be time for public comment at the Feb. 17 special meeting and the housing element is expected to be on the Escalon City Council agenda for its regular March 1 meeting.

With a certified housing element in place, the city could be eligible for additional funding and specific programs not afforded to communities that haven't gone through the extensive process to put a housing element in place.

"The county is happy with it," Dunford said of the city's plan. "The state can't force us to do it, but the state would like us to have one."

Based on benefits to the city, Dunford said it seems to make good sense to put the plan formally into place.

In addition to the special meeting tonight, Escalon City Council members met in regular session Tuesday, Feb. 16 after The Times went to press and a couple of noteworthy items on that agenda included the fiscal year 2008-2009 audit report and consideration of adopting an ordinance amending a section in the Escalon Municipal Code prohibiting the establishment and operation of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and other business prohibited by state or federal law. Dunford said the city is aiming for a lifetime ban on the medicinal marijuana dispensaries.