Protecting the agricultural lands in Modesto is an important challenge when balancing population growth and development. However, the Mayor has asked the Council take-up the issue and decide how far they are willing to go to protect the farming tradition and industry in the City.

The Council will have essentially two options to choose between. The first, is a policy adopted by the LAFCo, which requires one acre of farmland be set aside for each acre of residentially developed land. The second option was developed as part of an EIR for a proposed development that stalled during the housing burst. It would require that for each acre of prime agriculture land developed, one acre of agricultural land be preserved.

While the LAFCo standard does not differentiate between prime agricultural lands and other property of different quality, it doesn’t extend the 1:1 protection ratio to other forms of development. The EIR-based policy would also affect lands developed for industrial or commercial uses.

Any proposed policy will go before residents for their input, likely in a series of study sessions. The mayor also said he hopes the issue will come before the Council in April.

Read the full story at the Modesto Bee.