13 people per acre!! NO THANK YOU

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Lt. Wombat, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

    Jul 3, 2003
    This is where we moved FROM. Looks like we got out just in time


    Last Updated: February 10, 2005, 05:24:01 AM PST

    The San Joaquin Valley's population is expected to more than double during the next 35 years, but where those newcomers will live is up for debate.
    A new computerized mapping system forecasts four dramatically different scenarios for urban growth in the valley:

    Continue letting builders scatter development throughout the valley, which could triple the urbanized area of Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties and consume more than a quarter of the valley's farmland.

    Forbid development on prime agricultural land, which could force residents to crowd onto less-fertile land and double the population density of Stanislaus County's cities.

    Route a high-speed rail system through the valley, which would encourage development in rings around train stations in Modesto, Merced, Los Banos and Stockton.

    Build a new north-south highway skirting the foothills on the valley's eastern edge, which could spark development along connecting Highways 132, 120 and 4.

    Those options are explored in the report released today by the Public Policy Institute of California. The alternatives are based on forecasts that the valley's population will double to more than 7 million by 2040.

    "This is the equivalent of adding 10 new Fresnos or putting the current population of Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa counties into the eight-county San Joaquin Valley," the report explains.

    Its authors use computerized growth models to show how different the valley could look if development were diverted off prime farmland, steered toward new highways or ringed around train stations.

    "We're looking at possible worlds here," said Michael Teitz, who wrote "Urban Development Futures in the San Joaquin Valley" with Charles Dietzel and William Fulton.

    Teitz said the authors aren't advocating one plan over another, "just providing information to stimulate discussions on growth and development."

    "People in the valley are becoming more aware as to the consequences of growth, but they're ambivalent as to what to do about it," Teitz said in a phone interview Tuesday.

    If developers are allowed to urbanize the valley in patterns similar to what has happened the last 60 years, the report predicts cities could merge into each other along Highway 99 as urban sprawl coalesces.

    26% of ag land could be lost

    Such unchecked development could triple the urbanized acreage in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties.

    "Because farming communities were created in prime farmland areas — along what is now the Highway 99 corridor — the urbanization of land immediately adjacent to these population centers results in a major farmland loss," the report warns.

    It calculates that more than 26 percent of the valley's ag land could be lost if San Joaquin's eight counties and 62 cities continue their historic urbanization patterns — acting independently to authorize new developments.

    "I honestly don't think anybody wants that," said Carol Whiteside, president of the Great Valley Center, a Modesto-based nonprofit research group.

    Whiteside said the urban development report "reinforces the fact we have choices in (guiding the valley's future), but what we do depends on the public's interest and their political will."

    As an alternative to a heavily urbanized future, the report's authors programmed computers to map what the valley could look like if prime farmland were protected.

    There are 3.2 million acres of prime ag land in the valley, much of it along the Highway 99 corridor.

    Prime farmland all that's left

    In Stanislaus County, "virtually all the remaining undeveloped land is prime farmland," according to the report.

    If that land were protected, newcomers would have to be squeezed onto the less-fertile soil. Assuming population growth continues as projected, Stanislaus County's developed areas would have to accommodate 13 people per acre, which is double the present density.

    "The regulation of development at this scale is unlikely, but the scenario reflects the widely felt concern for farmland preservation and illustrates its likely results," the report states.

    Two more plausible growth scenarios were programmed into the authors' mapping software.

    One shows where growth likely would occur if a proposed high-speed rail system were built through the valley. That plan would connect the valley by rail to the Bay Area, Sacramento and Los Angeles, and it would include train stops in Los Banos, Merced, Modesto and Stockton.

    The report assumes the rail lines would focus growth within a 20-mile radius of the train stations. That scenario would concentrate development around existing cities along Highway 99 — especially in Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

    The final growth scenario — which the report labels "probably the most likely" — creates automobile-oriented managed urbanization.

    Rather than cram more cars on Highway 99 or Interstate 5, the report explores what could happen if a new north-south freeway — an expansion of Highway 65 — were built along the valley's eastern edge.

    "The resulting urbanization pattern concentrates development along these transportation improvements, most particularly along the east-west … Routes 4, 120 and 132," the report predicts. "This scenario creates linear cities in some areas where urban growth connected previously unconnected areas. This pattern is especially apparent in San Joaquin County, where urban growth connects Stockton with Tracy, Lodi, Manteca, Ripon and Escalon."

    That development scenario could pave over about 14.6 percent of the valley's farmland, but that's less than the 19.1 percent consumed by the high-speed rail model.

    Through geographer's eyes

    Teitz said the 115-page report represents a geographer's way of looking at potential growth in the valley, rather than a prediction as to what will happen.

    Teitz will give a multimedia presentation about his findings during a noon luncheon Monday in the Great Valley Center's community room, 201 Needham St., Modesto. The public is invited to the free event.
  2. MichelleB

    MichelleB Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    That's frightening. I used to live in the Bay Area, and my sisters and I have a cabin on USFS lease land in the Sierra Foothills that's been with us for generations--we've seen so much growth out there, it's frightening. So many of the family orchards and farms between Manteca, Oakdale and Escalon are being sold and developed. Worse, they don't have the water to support all these new developments.

    The small lake by our cabin is owned by PG&E and generates power and water for the small, low-key resort area (where a lot of folks have lived full-time for years), but is ALSO used for swimming, boating and fishing...the developers in Sonora want to ban all recreation so that they can use the water for their new projects. That would cause our cabin's value to absolutely plummet.

    I suppose people have to go somewhere. But that's another huge topic of discussion.

  3. Sandhills

    Sandhills Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    I grew up in the south valley in the farming industry. When we visited family a little over a year ago we took a trip to the coast. We were amazed at how much farm ground was not being utilized on the west side of the valley because the farmer could make more off the sale of the water to southern CA. It was really sad. The small rural area I grew up in was pretty much the same but so many other areas were nearly unrecognizable. It's pretty scary to think the population could double.
  4. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

    Jul 3, 2003
    We bought a house in Escalon in 1992 for $129k. Tract house, nothing special, 2nd largest in the tract, 70x100 lot, 1545sf. Nothing special.

    Sold it in 2001 for $669k

    It sold again in 2004 for $849k.

  5. Breezie

    Breezie Active Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Giles County, VA
    Dang, I get claustrophobic just thinking about this. I have a neighbor who'se house is only a couple hundred feet away from ours with no other neighbors around and I feel stifled.

    Lord, keep this place underdeveloped and safe! Amen! :p
  6. Mastiff

    Mastiff Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Northern California Mountains
    Yes and it still has Counties like we live where there are no traffic lights or parking meters and the population density is less than four people per square mile...
  7. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2003
    The average home price in No. Cal. is $402,000.000. Eighty percent of people can't afford to buy homes! If you're familiar with the area, the land east of the airport is slated for 80,000 new homes in the next ten years. Not 8,000...80,000 homes in what used to be rice paddies. Roseville (a city with about 85,000 people, so mid sized) is building vehicle tunnels now to accomodate the influx of traffic on I-80. They also just annexed several thousands of acres of land.

    It's disgusting that in Roseville and most other areas, a studio apartment starts at $700.000, and most families (three or four) are only making the low $30,000's each year. Three bedroom apartments (and homes for that matter) range from $1,200 a month to about $2,000 a month. The only saving grace is that developers are starting to build townhomes and sell them for $200,000. They're sold before construction is even started!
  8. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    SE PA, zone 6b
    The original article in this post alarms me for a far greater reason. That area of the country grows a huge percentage of the food for this whole nation!! We haven't started eating people yet, so we'd better start protecting our food producing counties in a similar fashion to the National Parks.
  9. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

    Oct 18, 2004
    NW Pa./NY Border.
    I have a friend that is a youth pastor out there in "the O.C.", he makes around 40K or so. I was complaining :eek: (I shouldn't have been, because I am very thankful) about the place we just bought 12.5 acres in ohio with house and outbuildings for 173K, until he told me (and showed me on the net) that a 800 sf house on a 50x75 lot started at 300K. He and his soon to be bride won't bring in more than 80K a year between the two of them and they just aren't sure what to do to buy a home....