General Plan Comments and Petitions Summary







Summary of comments and petitions received in response to the Public Draft General Plan Update





This post is an attempt to condense over 126 pages of comments, petitions, charts, and maps. It is a general and


summary of comments petitions included in the City of Livingston Planning Commission Staff Report Dated November 8, 2007.


It attempts to capture the essence of each letter or petition and is provided to provoke discussion


and is not necessarily a “word for word” transcript of the entirety of each letter or petition.


Comments, corrections, and additional information are encouraged and welcome





General Plan Update comment Letters and Petitions



Main Points of Letter


Native American Heritage Commission

*An Archaeological Record Search must be made. *An archaeological Inventory may 


need to be made.*A Sacred Lands File Check must be made. *Lack of surface evidence of archaeological resources


does not preclude their subsurface existence





Richard Harriman: Attorney for Albert Arkelian Family

*The Arkelian Family strongly objects to the complete lack of notice provided to them of the City’s


plans to expand the Wastewater Treatment Facility on the Arakelian property tto the west of the facility.



*The land use map does not include any representation of the area which was identified in the



Wastewater Treatment Facility Master Plan (2006). *The Wastewater Treatment Facility should be



expanded away from the Merced River, outside the river flood plane and in locations which do not



violate the Public Trust Doctrine values of the Merced River. *The Draft EIR should disclose, consider



discuss, and analyze feasible alternatives for expansion of the Waste Water Treatment Facility



and their cost to the City ratepayers, who will be paying increased monthly utility charges for the



proposed expansion of the Wastewater Treatment Facility





Merced County Farm Bureau

*As of 2004, (Livingston’s) population is 13,000. In 2009 it is projected to be 19,756, a 52% increase.



In 2012, it is projected to be 39,659, which would be in excess of a 200% increase. *Why such large



growth rates? *The document states “This study does not include an analysis of the groundwater



aquifer yield, however, the 2005 UWMP study assumes that future water supply capacity will continue to be extracted from groundwater wells.”



*Currently, the Merced Groundwater Basin is in a condition of overdraft. *A water study is long overdue.



*Will the City of Livingston be discharging storm water runoff into Merced Irrigation



District Canals or other agricultural waterways? If so, the East San Joaquin Water Quality



Coalition will need to be notified. *There are conservation easements, lands in



Williamson Act Contracts, to be considered.





Department of Water Resources

*The project may be an encroachment on the State Adopted Plan of Flood Control. *An encroachment permit from the Reclamation Board may need to be obtained



before any work is initiated.





Florie Olson

*The expansion of the waste water treatment facility will displace several farmers. *The Olsen farm



would be destroyed just to put waste water expansion in its place.





Merced Irrigation District

*Subject property is located within the Merced Irrigation Drainage Improvement District No. 1. *Any



future development wishing to utilize MID facilities for storm drainage will have to enter into a



“Subdivision Drainage Agreement” with MIDDID No. 1 and pay all applicable fees plus any storm



drainage capacity enhancement costs associated with storm drainage discharge requirements. *Other options are direct discharge into the Merced River (with permits)



or discharge into a percolation basin.





Colette Alvarez

*Why was a 42′ sewer trunk line installed? *Why would Livingston need a trunk line the same size as



Fresno, Bakersfield and Davis? *According to the City of Davis Project Manager, a 42′ line has a



capacity of 17 million gallons per day and needs to flow at 50% full and 2 feet/second or greater to



scour the bottom and keep it clean. *That means a 42′ line would need 8.5 million gallons per day.



*What is the full intended use for this 42′ line?





Colette Alvarez

*Livingston is the “Sweet Potato Capitol of the West”. *Agriculture is an industry that pumps millions



of dollars into the local economy. *Why destroy the most solid industry in the area by planning



homes on viable farms and packing sheds?





Geraldine Martin

*The city purchased the Horta Property, 56 acres of farmland that is outside of the City’s current and



future sphere of influence. *According to records provided, this was not discussed in a public forum



until the city council voted to spend 1,408,543 for this property as a consent item, even though the



city was negotiating with the seller as early as March 2006. **The Phase 1 Environmental Report



and Engineering Review were not provided upon request. *The money to purchase this land will come from future Development Impact Fees .



 *In essence, Ranchwood and River Ranch developers are going to give the city money



to purchase agricultural land outside the cities sphere of influence.





Colette Alvarez

*In the Merced County Grand Jury investigation of the 42′ sewer trunk line, the Grand Jury stated



“The City of Livingston must…conduct extensive public hearings on the updated plan and how the



sewer trunk line fits into the future plans.: *The 42′ sewer trunk line was not a one mile project: it was



a six mile project. *The City of Livingston violated CEQUA with a dubious interpretation of Public



Resource Code. *Adjacent landowners were not notified that the line was being installed.





Joann Wells

A 3rd generation farmer against expanding the sewer system beyond Washington Ave.*We have a



right to maintain our livelihood.





Geraldine Martin

*The City Manager stated that the percolation ponds did not have to be in the exact place shown on



the map. They could be East or West. *I am asking the City direct the engineers to map these



alternatives before the Wastewater Master Plan is adopted. *The map of the Wastewater system



Master Plan is outside the city’s 50 year planning area. *The city needs to plan for it’s sewer needs



inside it’s own planning area.





Judith and Frank Dutra

There is an ideal location for the wastewater expansion east of the current facility.





Paul Farajian

I would like to have 5-10 acres of my property annexed for commercial use, starting from Lincoln Ave. and going East.








Richard Harriman: Attorney for Albert Arkelian Family

*A formal request of a thirty (30) day extension of the time within which to submit comments


regarding the Notice of Preparation. *Documentation to be made available at the Livingston Public



Library or other public facility open evening and weekends. *Documents to include the City’s



applications to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board for all permits to expand



the City’s Wastewater Treatment Facility, including the eastside and westside facilities. *The General



plan Update process should be re-initiated in order to provide documents in Spanish translation and



the location where they may be accessed and reviewed during non-working hours. *Specific



identification of the environmentally superior project location should be done. *The alternative analysis should focus on a long-term sustainable rate of growth.



*The cost of development should include a credit for the capital expenditures already paid



for by the existing residents. *Consideration of assessment districts and/or other



financing should be included. *Alternatives to the “zone of benefit” proposed Sphere of Influence



expansions should include consideration of no expansion to the south,



*The EIR should discuss, analyze, and consider the following:



     >reasonable and feasible alternative of locating wastewater percolation ponds east of the existing






     >the cumulative energy demand for proposed expansions of the Foster Farms Industrial WWTF



     >the cumulative energy demand for proposed expansions of the Municipal & Industrial WWTF



              located on the West side of SR 99, and the pumping stations which will be required to



              pump the treated effluent uphill to the West of the existing WWTF



     >the cumulative energy resources which will be utilized for public utilities/transportation of



               residents current and future



     >consider requiring all new residential and commercial construction to use solar energy as a



               primary source



     >the cumulative impacts to the groundwater basin underlying the City of Livingston



     >the consideration of the use of treated effluent for agricultural use in the undeveloped areas



     >the potential development of a permanent Farmers Market or Markets



     >the cumulative Green House Gas emissions…and mitigation measures to be implemented



     >an analysis of the financial feasibility of utilizing solar and alternative fuel vehicles for



               public services.



     >the feasibility of requiring alternative fueled vehicles be used by all City and other public agencies



     >quantification of the cumulative impact on air quality. and the cost to purchase Emission



               Reduction Credits and Emission Offsets



*Special written notice is requested for any and all public hearings, meetings, workshops, or joint



meetings with the City Council and Planning Commission for any and all of the Development



Projects/Plans in the Project Area…….and for any and all applications for Waste Discharge



Requirements filed with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board





Nancy Cartwright

Concerned about Livingston losing its small town America Lifestyle. *Many homes are (now) left



vacant: yards unkempt, for sale signs falling to pieces, rental units left unoccupied for years.



Livingston does not need to become a Mecca of small, transient businesses and a flood of cheaply



throw up housing.





Geraldine Martin

*Ranchwood and River Ranch Development to not meet the criteria of being 35% contiguous to



existing development. *The General Plan does not address Livingston’s going outside its 50 year



planning area. *The DWWTP goes outside the general plan boundaries. *The City of Livingston



has purchased land outside general plan boundaries for sewer treatment facilities–the general plan



states the City does not have land use authority over land areas outside of the City and the planning



area includes enough land to meet the City’s development needs. *Why is the city purchasing land



now, outside its planning area, to meet the wastewater needs of FUTURE development?



*This General plan accommodates a significant increase in low-density residential development



which does not address affordable housing needs.



*The wastwater system Master Plan targets 100 acres of farmland for sewer ponds.



*The City should incorporate the ability to provide recycled water into its wastewater treatment



update plans.



*The Plan replaces thousands of acres of productive farmland with residential housing.



*Sewer treatment facilities are being developed in the City’s planning area.



*The City should plan for sewer expansion in its own planning area, not infringe on County agricultural zoning, especially those lands covered by the Williamson Act.






*Increased growth, and increased discharges by the wastewater treatment plant will damage the



water quality of the Merced River.



*The City is assuming adequate water exists for future growth.



*Merced County Grand Jury Recommendation–The City of Livingston must conduct extensive



public hearings on the updated general plan and how the sewer trunk line fits into the picture.



*The Plan emphasizes larger single-unit homes, and devours agricultural and open space alike



without providing for workforce housing.



The General Plan is inconsistent in its own statements about maintaining the existing downtown as



the center of the community.



Development does not pay its own way–Goodwin Consulting Firm found that each new home in



Modesto drains the City $769.00 per year for police, fire and streets alone.





Rodolfo Contreras on Behalf of Robert and Shirley Olsen

The Municipal Wastewater Facility expansion will affect the property of Mr. and Mrs. Olsen.


The Environmental Document that has to be prepared by competent professionals must identify,



amongst other things, three viable alternatives to come up with the least costly and least impact



alternative. Has such a document been prepared?





Judith and Frank Dutra

A wastewater treatment plant along Vinewood Circle in Livingston takes away prime agricultural



farmland to support a huge housing development.



The property east and south of the existing treatment plant should be used for the expansion if needed.



Expanding a Wastwater Treatment Plant across a main rod (Vinewood), traveling west up a hill, onto



prime agricultural land does not make any sense.





Gianelli and Associates: Attorneys for Mr. & Mrs. Pirus Abraham and family

*The Abraham family is opposed to the light industrial and commercial pre-zone designation that the


City of Livingston has placed on their property.



*The Abraham family requests, instead, that the Property be reserved for residential development.



*Such annexation will allow for an increase in the City’s size and population, and thus indirectly raises the City’s level of political influence, its prestige, and its ability to attract desirable industry.






*Development of the Property for residential purposes more nearly supports the true and existing



physical boundaries of the City.



*The Abraham family has received viable interest for the Property from residential Developers. We



offer this information so that the City will understand what third party developers have envisioned



and desired for the Property.





Bonnie Key

*We chose to live in Livingston because it was a charming, small, agricultural town. *Our town is known as an agricultural town. We need to keep it that way…



I feel the developers are deciding the town’s future.



*We need to go very slowly in our building of subdivisions and consider the consequences of



each development.





Jerry and Janet Martin

*Both an Environmental Impact and Economic Impact Report should be prepared.



This new 20 year/50 year General Plan is in direct conflict with the City’s goal to “preserve prime



farmland.”* In your new General Plan, Sultana Dr. will become four lanes and will be two feet inside



my living room.* We ask you to answer our questions BEFORE you approve the new General Plan.



*We request a written response to this letter.





Babs Ratzlaff

*Developers pay a large part of the General Plan, but in doing so have the opportunity to use the



General Plan as a stepping stone for the growth to meet their needs.



*Do we really need a 20 year plan?





Daphne Ritchie

*The proposed general plan (is) the ultimate usurping of farmland to satisfy the needs of two



developers, one of whom is apparently after farmland in this county from one end to the other.



*Why, when there are many more pressing matters within the confines of the current city, you deem



it appropriate to expand the sewer farm at this time totally perplexes me and make me question



just who, in fact, all of you are answerable to.



*I am opposed to any expansion of the sewer farm and the taking of farmland to do so and to the



inclusion of developers by name and nature of their businesses in the general plan over all.





Fred and Julene Bigler

*We heard less than a month ago about the General Plan designating our land as a site for additional



waste water treatment ponds. (A) development of this magnitude ought to al least entail letting



property owners that it will directly affect know.



*Who wants Livingston to grow so much, even over 40 years?



*Could the current population’s desire be put to as vote?



*Livingston’s best asset is being a small agricultural community; too much growth will kill that and



make it just another hot smoggy valley city.



*Livingston growth should be capped at the population the existing water treatment ponds would



accommodate, roughly 40,000. That’s big enough.



*How is this plan getting away with over-riding the Williamson Act and Central Valley Farmland Trust?



*Ranchwood development says that agriculture’s contribution to the Livingston economy is declining.



*What is there in black and white to back this up, or is this just an excuse to justify their plans?



*What kind of study are we using to decide what kind of housing is most needed?



*How much do we really know about the two developers the City is doing business with?



*Has an outside impartial planner been consulted as to the best location for waste water ponds,



based on natural topography?



*If this plan goes forward in its present form and we and many neighbors are forced to sell our farms,



shouldn’t all the land necessary to complete this would plan be treated equally?



*We do not believe our local government (or any govt!) has the right to play monopoly with our lives



and assets.





Merced County Farm Bureau

*The Livingston Draft General Plan and Master Plans have not adequately addressed impacts on



the regions water supply, wastewater, storm water drainage, air quality, agricultural land conversion



and impacts on existing agricultural operations.



*Last year concerns were raised when a 42′ pipeline was installed by a private developer outside of the sphere of influence of Livingston.



The city of Livingston does not own the pipeline. Merced County



did not issue any permits for installation of the pipeline.



*Population figures are inconsistent in the various Master Plans and Draft General Plans.



*It appears that your expansion of the City’s sphere, re-doing the Master Plan and the Draft General



Plan are using inflated population growth figures to justify the use of the 42′ privately owned pipeline.



*Without a regional water study the city of Livingston cannot justify a water supply for the growth



rates used in your Plans.



*There has been no analysis in your documents that address the impacts of expanding your sphere



and city limits into the Williamson Act Preserve or the impacts of lands that are currently in the



Williamson Act.



*The Central Valley Farmland Trust hold(s) easements in the proposed study area and that was not



addressed in the Draft General Plan or Master Plans.



*Objectives (seem to be) making the assumption that agriculture will end without any discussion or



study on the impacts to the city, the economy, the residents or the region,



*the Ranchwood Special Planning Area is not contiguous with Livingston and is in fact is driving the



development to the south with their privately owned pipeline that was not properly permitted.



*Sub-division growth is not the answer for efficient use of water and land or impacting out air quality.



*How can the city identify properties that are outside of their proposed new sphere as potential



growth areas?



*The Merced County Farm Bureau requests that the City of Livingston pull back from the current



process they are engaged in and re-evaluate the growth scenarios and population figures that will



give the planning commissioners and city council members an accurate picture of how and when



the city will grow.



Included is a letter from Ruben E. Castillo, County Counsel to Thomas Hallman Jr. City Attorney



For Livingston regarding the Sewer Line Trunk Extension, which includes the following quote:



      It is the County’s reasoned opinion that the approval of this project by the City does not comport



      with the City’s jurisdictional authority. Furthermore, it appears to run afoul of the Cortese-Knox



      Local Government Reorganization Act, The California Environmental Quality Act, and general



      land use and planning law.





Bob and Carol Alvarnez

*The first phase sphere of influence would separate our family’s property by taking Hunter Road, north through Walnut.






*There is no real water capacity study in your general plan. The city planners need to take a real hard



look and be realistic about our water situation.



*What makes the city planners think that the residents would want more growth?



*There are many more concerns we have, including the traffic pollution and congestion, electricity



consumption, sewer polluting more nitrates into our groundwater and the Merced River, using more



valuable farmland to expand ,etc.





Colette Alvarez

*Compared to the California Department of Finance Population estimates, the population estimates



stated in the City’s proposed Master Plans and General Plan are grossly exaggerated.



*The City is ignoring the fact some of the land for proposed development is in the Williamson Act



and the Central Valley Farmland Trust.



*The General Plan has no Plan for Agriculture, just the “timely” elimination of it.



*The city of Livingston’s General Plan emphasizes larger single-family homes, devours agricultural



and open space alike without providing for workforce housing.



*General Plan does not address the serious groundwater shortage in our Valley.



*The backbone of the Wastewater Master Plan that is sited in the General Plan is an illegal 42′ inch



sewer trunk line that the City may or may not accept.



*Developers should not have their plans in the City’s General Plan. It undermines the purpose of the



general plan and gives these two developers an unfair advantage over other developers in the area.



*The city in this proposed General Plan fails to acknowledge the slump in the housing market.



*This proposed General Plan is detrimental to the surrounding agricultural industry, especially



the sweet potato industry.



*The City violates its own goal of contiguous planning with the inclusion of Ranchwood Special



Planning Area in its proposed General Plan. The Ranchwood Planning Special Planning Area is not



contiguous planning.



*This proposed General Plan violates all to the Cortese/Knox/Hetzberg Act.



*San Joaquin Valley blueprint quotes a projected triple in the population by the year 2050 according



to the California Department of Finance. The City of Livingston projects a nine times increase in



population by the year 2044.



*The expansion of the existing roads..will impact many current residents in the city and surrounding



community (county). The proposed Right-of-Ways will take peoples yards and homes.



*City of Livingston’s plan for water supply is drill new wells. What will that do to the underground






*The City ignores the State of California Williamson Act Land Conservation and the fact that the 



Central Valley Farmland Trust holds easements in and around Livingston. The City is proposing



planning urban development on this land.



*The Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion planned on Vinewood/Vinewood Circle



is outside the City’s proposed 20 to 50 year sphere of influence.



*The city is assuming the MID is going to allow the city to use its canal system.



*The City requires existing businesses, industries and residences to connect to the City’s sewer



and water system. The City has no provision for the agricultural industry and the sheds that



process the agricultural products. This is a conflict with the Right to Farm.





Roberta Avilla

*I believe that the enlargement of your sewer facilities is in part due to the fact that the City of



Livingston wishes to become a regional sewer treatment facility.



Enclosed with this letter are population figures for the proposed Stevinson Ranch/Gallo Lakes



Development and other related information





Brandon Friesen Former Mayor of Livingston

*The Hunter overcrossing should be put back in the plan and the Sultana overcrossing should be


reduced to its original size, thus saving over $40,000,000 in development cost and improving the



traffic circulation as proposed by the traffic consultants and city staff.



*As the city develops there will be a great need for the Hunter overcrossing.



*The extra money needed to do an eight land overcrossing at Sultana is not a necessary expense.



*The problem with omitting Hunter and making Sultana eight lanes is that it does not help



Livingston‘s traffic circulation. This over crossing actually points drivers back towards Atwater.






***How did Mr. Espinoza come to the conclusion that the Hunter overpass should be taken



out of the plan when two weeks prior he said that Livingston needed all three over crossings?



Why did the council go along with this idea and agree to spend money to the tune of



$16,500 to rework the plan?



***Why was the Circulation Master Plan given so much attention and consideration while the



Waste Water Master Plan was approved without notice to the farmers that it will affect



personally? Why was the council so eager to spend $16,500 to rework the Circulation



Master Plan to accommodate one farmer and his concerns but completely dismissed a group



of farmers concerns about the Waste Water Master Plan? Why is one farmer on the south



side of town more important to the council than a group of farmers on the west side of town?



These farmers should have the right to give input as to what happens to their land and



they deserve a response.



***The Sphere of Influence was expanded in April 2007. I do not see that it was ever



presented to the public for comment. How was this proposed and changed outside of a



public setting? (Please see attached maps showing maps prior to November 2006 and the



expansion in April 2007)





Newman-Romano: attorney for Ranchwood Homes

*..It appears that neither the River Ranch Special Planning Area nor the Ranchwood Special Planning


Area would meet the requirement of 35% adjacency. The policy should be omitted, or modified to



provide that 35% is a goal…



*I would recommend that the area north of Magnolia be crosshatched and identified as an area that



could be developed and annexed to the City independently, or could be integrated into the larger



Ranchwood Special Planning area bounded by Magnolia Avenue, Robin Avenue, Westside Blvd.,



and Lincoln Blvd.



*It would appear that Policy/Standard (4) is crafted to allow single-family residences to be constructed



under 7,000 square feet and less than 70 feet wide. If this is the case, Policy/Standard (3) should



be modified to provide that single-family residential lots “should” be a minimum of 7,000 square feet



in width, except as otherwise approved as provided in Policy/Standard (4) below.





Doug Wells

Water Distribution System Master Plan Section 2.2.2…variation of flow is due to runoff, irrigation



AND pulse flows designed to meet the needs of fisheries (salmon & delta smelt)



Section 2.2.5 underestimates the impact of development on wildlife and overstates the impact of



farming has on wildlife.



*The last paragraph states Livingston is not habitat for migratory birds. Morning Doves are a migratory species.






*The City of Livingston does not participate in the Regional Transportation impact fee system. The



impact of development on county transportations systems is not addressed by the General Plan



and/or development fees.



*Section2.51 states that Livingston is underserved in auto sales. I think there is enough used car



lots in Livingston…



*Section 2.7.1 has no supporting data to justify the conclusion that “…adequate long term ground



water supply exist for the buildout of Livingston.”



*It is my understanding that Livingston is experiencing problems with 2 of its 5 wells. How do you



plan on developing the underground basin so as to supply water for 80,000 people.



*The statement that the River Ranch Special Planning Area shall conform with the general layout



of land use shown in figure 3-2 needs to be removed. It restricts and limits any expansion of the



sewer site to the east. The area to the east is the most logical and economical expansion





Gary Boesch

*I am worried about the widening of the roads and removal of street parking on my street.



*I am also concerned about hour home becoming too close to a busy roadway because of its



resale value.





Gerald martin

*The Basis of the General plan is an average sale of 180 permits annually and buildout of the City’s



existing residential lands is eminent.



*The City of Livingston budget states due to the slowdown in the construction industry and housing



market the General Fund will require careful management.



*The General Plan is not reflecting current market conditions.



The population growth figures need to be revised.





Gerri Martin

*There are inconsistencies in General Plan Statements regarding downtown.



      >The plan states as a goal maintaining the existing downtown as the center of the community



       however also states that the downtown will continue to decrease its primary role as a



       neighborhood shopping area.



*Widening Vinewood will take part of the sewer ponds.



*Residential Development does not pay its own way. Goodwin Consulting Firm found that each new



home in Modesto drains the City $769.00 per year for police, fire and streets alone.



*The City is assuming adequate water exists.



*The Merced County Grand Jury recommended that the City of Livingston conduct extensive public



hearings on the updated general plan and how the sewer trunk line fits into future plans.








Terry and C.J Mc Sweeney

General Plan “Sewer Line Trunk Extension”. This is not fair, it has developer footprints all over it.









Main Point of Petition





General Citizens

4-letters Comments/concerns include



      >I Disagree with Livingston’s General Plan Update because it will lower my quality of life.



      >Is the City going to take part of our front yard and shade trees?



      >I live on Main St. on Main St.. I am concerned about losing my parking space and my loss



          of my front yard.



      >I do not want a bigger city if I did I would move to a bigger city.



      >If we wanted to live in a bigger city, we wouldn’t have chosen Livingston.



      >The General Plan is devaluing my home as of today!





Save Livingston (15 signatures)

>The current draft GPU is a “big growth” plan that put the interests of the developers ahead of the



interests of the public. This needs to be corrected, before final adoption.



>More growth means more traffic, more pressure on our scarce affordable housing supply, more



damage to our natural resources, more loss of irreplaceable farmland, and more water overdraft.



>Unless we effectively target growth, our quality of life will worsen. Traffic congestion, Water quality



and air quality will continue to deteriorate. We need a better General Plan Update.



>Vote no on the 2007 City of Livingston General Plan update.


Save Livingston (48 signatures)

(Same as Above)





Olive Area (5 signatures)

>As property owners, we would like to ask you to consider to include on the Master Plan, the North



side of Olive Ave. and the West Side of Livingston Cressy known as Bird St., as shown on



included map.