After more than six years and 40 public meetings, Cloverdale has adopted a new general plan.
The City Council voted 4-0 late Wednesday night to approve the blueprint for growth although it still remains controversial because it allows Cloverdale to stretch more than two miles south to take in the small community of Asti.
Critics said it will open up Cloverdale to sprawl, but council members agreed that it will enable the city to extend services to Asti Winery and to other businesses to help create jobs.
Mayor Joe Palla said it makes sense to make Asti part of Cloverdale.
“I feel Asti is an important landmark within our community and I feel it is part of the Cloverdale community,” he said.
The former Italian Swiss Colony site now is occupied by Asti Winery, a major employer city officials want to keep.
“If at some point in the future they needed to expand the business operation and they needed water and sewer to make that happen and we weren’t in a position to provide it, we may lose them. They may be in a position where they have to move,” Palla said.
Karen Davis, a resident of Palomino Lakes, presented a petition with 100 signatures from those opposed to the city stretching to Asti.
She said she and her neighbors are “horrified” at the prospect of urban development encroaching on their rural lifestyle.
“Where water and sewer pipes exist, development will follow,” she said.
City Planner Bruce Kibby said the general plan will allow for the city to annex Asti, but the vineyard lands in between will remain in agricultural use.
Members of the Greenbelt Alliance have also opposed the city taking in Asti saying that the general plan allows for more than twice the amount of commercial and industrial development needed for Cloverdale to achieve its desired one-to-one, jobs-to-housing ratio.
The general plan is intended to guide growth over the next two decades and foresees Cloverdale’s population of 8,600 growing to 12,000 by 2025.
The plan is intended to provide for a balance of land uses for housing, jobs, economic development and destination commercial sites.
The council also agreed Wednesday to give a group of property owners just outside city limits more flexibility to develop their lands beyond the industrial designation proposed.
The Southwest Gateway Property Owners Group, which owns a half-dozen properties totaling 135 acres west of Dutcher Creek Road and south of Sandholm Lane, were granted the potential to develop the property differently after more detailed studies are conducted.
The property owners want to explore the possibility of building mixed use, including commercial, residential and recreation commercial, including a potential site for a relocated Citrus Fair.