Standard Environmental Reference

The following example language was taken from a Community Impact Assessment for the Oakdale Bypass:

Land use and planning

Existing land use

The study area is located in Stanislaus County, California. The western portion of the project area includes the City of Oakdale, while the north and eastern portions of the project study area are located in Stanislaus County. The Stanislaus River transverses the southern portion of the project study area.

The majority of land in Stanislaus County is zoned for agricultural production. According to the Stanislaus County General Plan Land Use Element, "Over 92 percent of the area in Stanislaus County is zoned A- 2 or Exclusive Agriculture. More than two- thirds of this agricultural area is zoned for 16.2 hectares (40 acres) or larger parcels" (Stanislaus, 1994a). An additional six percent of the county is designated as urban- land use. Of the nine incorporated cities in the county, only four contain more than 10,000 residents, including Modesto, Turlock, Ceres, and Oakdale.

Field visits and reviews of 1998 aerial photography were used to determine existing land in the vicinity of the Oakdale Expressway project. The main land uses along the alternative alignments are urban residential, rural residential, agriculture, and ranching. Rural residential includes parcels averaging 0.40 to 1.21 hectares (one to three acres), as shown in Figure 2- 1. Land use in the project study area is urban within the City of Oakdale, rural residential to the northeast of Oakdale along Alternative 1, and agricultural and ranching in the areas of the Alternative 2 variations.

Regulatory Setting

Stanislaus County General Plan

Stanislaus County experienced a growth rate of 12 to 18 percent every five years over the past 25 years (Stanislaus, 1994a). Most growth occurred in the incorporated portions of the county in areas that the City of Oakdale could annex. Development also occurred in the unincorporated region of the project area where lot sizes are typical of urban settings. The approval of residential developments between Steams Road and Orange Blossom Road (e.g., Sunset Oaks, Gibbs Ranch, Orange Blossom Hills and Sierra Sunset Grand Estates) indicates a trend of urbanization along the SR 120/108 corridor, even though the Stanislaus County General Plan designates agriculture for this area. Figure 2- 2 details zoning designations for Stanislaus County.

Development projects in Stanislaus, San Joaquin, and Tuolumne Counties that may impact traffic flow in Oakdale include:

Village One Specific Plan - City of Modesto

Adopted by the City of Modesto in 1990 and located between Modesto and Riverbank, the Village One Specific plan is a mixed- use development that includes 7,850 housing units. The approved project also includes 3.3 hectares (8 acres) of commercial floor area, which would generate 5,570 jobs at the project buildout. The project is expected to house families with approximately 20,000 school- aged children (kindergarten through 12th grade). Therefore, the project includes a high school and community park site. The development of housing and commercial units, a school, and a park would result in the loss of nearly 271 hectares (670 acres) of Prime Farmland and 231 hectares (570 acres) of farmlands of Unique Importance. Based on the 1990 project EIR, environmental impacts include increases in traffic (totaling 131,050 daily trips or 13,450 peak hour trips), and increases in solid waste and wastewater flow (20 million gallons per day). Major roads affected by increased traffic include Sylvan Avenue, Floyd Avenue, Briggsmore Avenue, Oakdale Road, Roselle Avenue and Claus Road (personal communication with Steve Mitchell, Modesto Planning Department by Lisa Cathcart- Randall on September 3, 1998).

SR 120 Escalon Bypass

Caltrans, San Joaquin County and the City of Escalon are proposing to construct the Escalon Bypass along an adopted alignment between Sexton and Harold Roads south of Escalon. This project would remove the SR 120 through traffic from the City of Escalon. Funding for the bypass is identified in San Joaquin County Measure "K" sales tax transportation plan. Ultimately, the goal is to construct the adopted SR 120 route between the Manteca Bypass and the Oakdale Expressway in San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties, respectively. The target date for construction of the Escalon Bypass is 2003.

Currently, construction on a Measure "K" project at the western edge of Escalon, between AT&SF railroad crossing and San Joaquin Street, was initiated in 1998. The purpose of the project is to ease congestion and improve operations until the Escalon Bypass is constructed.

SR 108 East Sonora Bypass

In 1988, construction of a two- lane bypass around the south of Sonora was completed. The next phase of construction, an initial two- lane expressway in four- lane right of way traveling east to Standard Road, is programmed in the 1998/99 fiscal year and the 1990 ten- year Interregional Road System Plan. Right of way between Standard Road and west of Soulsbyville Road is also programmed. It is expected that this project would be fully programmed within the current 20- year period. Construction of this bypass would provide safe and efficient interregional travel for people and goods on Route 108, and ease congestion in East Sonora (FHWA & Caltrans, 1995).

SR 219 Freeway Project

The proposed conversion of SR 219 from the existing two- lane conventional highway, into a four- lane conventional highway with a continuous left turn lane from SR 99 in Modesto to SR 108 outside of Riverbank, would ease commercial and local congestion. The project would improve safety and the level of service.

SR 108 Freeway Project

The conversion of the existing two- lane conventional highway into a four- lane conventional highway with a continuous left turn lane on SR 108 from SR 219 in Modesto to SR 120 in Oakdale in Stanislaus County, would ease congestion and increase safety.

SR 132 Freeway Project

The realignment and construction of a four- lane freeway along the proposed SR 132 between Interstate 580 and SR 99 would ease congestion and decrease accidents in and near Modesto. The project would provide an alternative route improving the safety along existing SR 132 (Maze Boulevard), and the level of service for current and projected levels of traffic on SR 132 and SR 99.

1994 City of Oakdale General Plan

The 1994 Oakdale General Plan and associated Environmental Impact Report were developed to accommodate a 20- year projected population of 29,000 persons. The 1994 Oakdale General Plan establishes a Primary Sphere of Influence Boundary (PSIB) whose 11purpose is to: enclose the growth area boundary of the city; recognize areas which should not be subdivided or developed in estate or smaller lot sizes except in existing established Estate areas; and identify areas which should be allowed to form independent urban service type districts, but would be required to connect with the City services." The PSIB is surrounded by the Primary and Secondary Study Areas, which are reflected in evaluations of impacts by the SR 120 Expressway alternatives. The 1994 Oakdale General Plan also identifies transportation needs, recognizes the SR 120 Expressway alternatives under study by the State, and provides some type of contingency if the expressway is not built.

North Oakdale Specific Plan

The 1997 North Oakdale Specific Plan is located adjacent to the Stanislaus River, extending along existing SR 120 to just north of Burnett Lateral. The 283 hectares (700 acres) project provides for wetland preserves, recreational facilities, housing units, open space, bicycle and pedestrian safety, and commercial industries. The North Oakdale Specific Plan is expected to generate one- third of the t4jevenues for Oakdale from the future commercial industries. Land use in this section includes rural residential, estate residential, and agriculture. The West Interchange for the Oakdale Expressway lies within this area. Accordingly, the plan accommodates any alternative selected for the Oakdale Expressway (See Figure 2- 3, Case Study Area B).

Burchell Hill Specific Plan

The 1997 proposed Burchell Hill Specific Plan is located in Northeast Oakdale, adjacent to the south bank of the Stanislaus River and extends south to "0" Street. The project extends from Valley View Drive, east toward the city limits. The Burchell Hill Specific Plan includes 31.2 hectares (77.1 acres) of low density residential - (approximately 5 development units per acre), 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) park, 0.9 hectare (2.1 acres) detention basin, 2.1 hectares (5.2 acres) open space, 5.7 hectares (14.1 acres) city park, and I hectare (2.4 acres) utility easement.

Land use is designated Estate and Public/Semi- Public in the Country Club neighborhood (Figure 2- 3, Case Study Area Q. This neighborhood includes a city park, private golf course and country club, and an Army Corps of Engineers recreation area. Alternative I may impact agricultural lands adjacent to the country club.

Bridle Ridge Specific Plan

The 1998 draft proposed Bridle Ridge Specific Plan is located in Southwest Oakdale, adjacent to SR 108, extending south to the Crane Lateral, and then east from Crane Road to Kaufman Road. The 359 hectares (886.4 acres) proposed project includes 47 estate residential units, 1444 low- density residential units, 104 - 182 medium density residential units, and 100 - 280 high density residential units (approximately 4.7 development units per 0.4 hectare [one acre]). The proposed plan is designed to accommodate a fire station, elementary school, parks, trails, and commercial properties.

The proposed Bridle Ridge Specific Plan would not be impacted by any of the Oakdale- 3, Expressway alternatives, but would affect traffic congestion in the project area (Figure 2 Case Study Area A).

Steams and Sierra Neighborhoods

The Steams and Sierra neighborhoods (Figure 2- 3, Case Study Area D) are designated rural residential and agricultural, with a proposal to designate the area as single family low density residential, low density residential, and office. The Steams neighborhood would also include a portion of the Steams Road interchange that would be surrounded by offices and low density residential as designated in the 1994 Oakdale General Plan. Currently neither schools, parks, nor public service facilities are in the neighborhoods; however, there is a proposal for four schools and two parks (Oakdale, 1992c).

The 1994 Oakdale General Plan incorporates all five expressway build alternatives in its long range vision of the city, including dual land use plans for the Steams Road Interchange area which anticipate either the Alternative I or the Alternative 2 alignments. The 1994 Oakdale General Plan addresses the potential for change in the nature of the area, and anticipates a larger amount of commercial and multi- family land uses in the vicinity of the proposed Steams Road Interchange.

Potential Impacts

All build alternatives impact land use outside Oakdale city limits. Alternative I and the portion of Alternatives 2A, 2B, 2C, and 2D between the West Interchange and TwentyEight Mile Road area are evaluated against proposed land use designations of the 1994 Oakdale General Plan, specifically those portions of the plan that include the 2015 Area and Primary Study Area.

Alternative 1

Alternative 1, beginning at Valley Home Road and existing SR 120 (West Interchange), traverses agricultural land for approximately 2.4 krn (1.5 miles). The alignment then travels through a rural residential area for an additional 0.6 km (0.4 mile) before traversing northeast Oakdale. After approximately 1.5 km (0.9 mile), the alignment exits the City and travels through rural residential land (north of the alignment), and agricultural/ranching (south of the alignment).

Alternative I traverses land outside the Oakdale city limits, but within the 2015 Primary Study Area. Land uses encountered along Alternative I are: vacant fields, pastures for grazing, cattle and horse ranches, residential, orchards, ranchette parcels, a veterinary hospital, a commercial apple and gift facility with picnic grounds, the Stanislaus River, a dairy, a golf course, and a commercial nursery. Detailed land use at the proposed West, Steams, and Wamble Road Interchanges is shown in Figures 2- 4, 2- 5, and 2- 6, respectively.

Alternative I is generally consistent with the goals and policies of the 1994 Oakdale General Plan within the 2015 Area and Primary Study Areas. However, east of Dillwood Road at the Wamble Road Interchange, the dual frontage road could lead to development that is inconsistent with growth plans. Alternative I is also inconsistent with the County's designation of agricultural land uses in the area of the Wamble Road Interchange.

Alternatives 2A and 2B

The portions of Alternatives 2A and 2B within the 2015 Area begins at the West Interchange. As Alternative 2A travels north from the West Interchange through agricultural and ranching lands for its entire 13.9 km (8.6 miles) length, it crosses into the Primary Study Area. Alternative 2A crosses the North Main Canal 8 km (5 miles) east of the West Interchange, then Coyote Creek after 2.4 km (1.5 miles), and the Stanislaus River after 2.9 km (1.8 miles). Areas east of the West Interchange are in the Secondary Study Area. Parcels in the ranching areas along the North Main Canal are large (hundreds of hectares), while parcel size decreases further east in the agricultural areas bordering the Stanislaus River.

Alternative 2B would traverse the Secondary Study Area as it traveled easterly approximately 1.2 km (0.8 mile) south of Alternative 2A between Twenty- Eight Mile Road and Lesnini Creek. After Lesnini Creek, both Alternatives share the same alignment, crossing the Stanislaus River north of the Honolulu Bar Public Access Area. Alternatives 2A and 2B would cross the existing SR 120/108 east of Lancaster Road. Consequently, Alternative 2B traverses the same land use areas as Alternative 2A. Land use after Lesnini Creek is in the jurisdiction of Stanislaus County.

Land uses encountered along Alternatives 2A and 2B are: cattle ranches and ranchette parcels, a dairy, orchards, pasture for grazing, farms, Army Corps of Engineers' parks, and an inactive construction aggregate quarry site. The aggregate deposits at the eastern end of the 2A and 2B alignments are large, but are not currently classified as Mineral Resource Zones (MRZ) by the State of California (personal communication with Roger Henderson, Stanislaus County Planning Department by Parsons Brinkerhoff Douglas and Quade, Inc., 1992).

Alternatives 2A and 2B are consistent with the general policies for the 2015 Area and the Primary Study Area. However, at Twenty- Eight Mile Road, land is designated for Single­ Family Low Density Residential (SFIDR) inside the Primary Study Area, while land is designated Agriculture and Rural Estate outside the boundary. These conflicting designations and the frontage road system could lead to unplanned growth. While Alternatives 2A and 2B are inconsistent with County's agricultural land use designations, impacts would be minimal since intermediate interchanges are not planned.

2.3.3  Alternatives 2C and 2D

Alternative 2C separates from Alternative 2A after 7 km (4 miles) from the West Interchange, and travels south converging with existing SR 120/108 at the Orange Blossom Interchange. Land use along Alternative 2C transitions from ranching to agriculture at the Stanislaus River. Parcels along the Orange Blossom Interchange are rural residential.

Alternative 2D and Alternative 2B share the same alignment until they separate at Eaton Road. Alternative 2D then turns south, converging with Alternative 2C until Orange Blossom Interchange where Alternatives 2C and 2D join existing SR 120/108 (Figure 2- 7 identifies existing land use at the Orange Blossom Interchange).

Alternatives 2C and 2D traverse the Primary and Secondary Study Areas identified in the 1994 Oakdale General Plan. Land uses encountered along Alternatives 2C and 2D are: cattle ranches and ranchette parcels, a dairy (same as in Alternatives 2A and 2B), orchards, pasture for grazing, horse ranches (one of which includes, it training racetrack), and Army Corps of Engineers recreational area.

Alternatives 2C and 2D are consistent with the general policies for the 2015 Area and the Primary Study Area. However, at Twenty- Eight Mile Road, land is designated for Single­Family Low Density Residential (SFLDR) inside the Primary Study Area, while land is designated Agriculture and Rural Estate outside the boundary. These conflicting designations and the frontage road system could lead to unplanned growth. Unplanned growth could also occur at the Stems Road Interchange. Alternatives 2C and 2D are inconsistent with the County's agricultural land use designations, however, impacts would be minimal since intermediate interchanges are not planned.

No Action Alternative

The No Action alternative, which would maintain existing SR 108 along commercial portions of the study area in Oakdale, would not impact the existing land uses of retail, service, and other businesses along Yosemite and "F" Streets (Figure 2- 8).