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Supervisors, Planners Consider County's Future
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What San Joaquin County should look like in the future will be on display this week, as the San Joaquin County Planning Commission hosts a public hearing on Thursday night.

"There is a staff recommendation for a preferred alternative," Senior Planner Raymond Hoo said, noting that the recommendation will be going to the county Board of Supervisors for review and possible approval.

Locally, the main concern is on the future of Farmington, which is part of the plan.

"The recommendation is for Farmington to remain the same, keep it at status quo, with no change basically," said Hoo, with the community to remain in its rural state.

Other topics covered in the preferred alternative deal with preservation of agricultural and open space, compact, city-centered growth, dealing with appropriate unincorporated community growth, making sure that there is adequate infrastructure and services, and encouraging employment and commercial centers.

"We're looking to direct urban growth into the incorporated cities," Hoo said.

The goal is to not overwhelm the rural areas with an influx of residents that there isn't sufficient infrastructure to serve.

Hoo said through a series of focus group meetings, community workshops, a survey and study sessions between the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, the county planners were able to develop the recommendation for the preferred alternative. It's all part of the update to the county General Plan, which should help steer the growth and development of the county through 2030.

"We'll have a discussion about the preferred alternative," Hoo said of the hearing. San Joaquin County's incorporated cities of Stockton, Lodi, Lathrop, Manteca, Tracy, Ripon and Escalon are all part of the plan, while specific corridors such as Highways 99, 12 and 4 are also listed with some recommendations for employment and residential growth.

Hoo said maintaining productive farmland and open space in the unincorporated areas is recommended, while seeking to integrate the residential and employment growth in mixed use neighborhoods.

In a prepared report, planners note that the "Staff Recommended Alternative would likely result in a similar or slightly more positive fiscal outlook for the County" as development of additional commercial and industrial uses could help increase the county's property and sales tax bases.

The Thursday night meeting will be at 6:30 p.m., June 21, in the auditorium of the San Joaquin County Department of Public Health Services, 1601 East Hazelton Ave., Stockton.