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Lathrop planners look to overhaul General Plan
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The City of Lathrop is currently in the process of updating its General Plan — the first major overhaul since it was implemented in 1989. 

But that doesn’t mean that Lathrop planners don’t have a little bit of flexibility to move things around before the official update is completed. 

Earlier this week, the Lathrop City Council approved a resolution submitted by the community development department for a new interpretation regarding a number of parcels inside of the Central Lathrop Specific Plan that are creating issues with current development. 

For example, the Lathrop Generations Center — constructed in late 2013 and opened to the community in 2014 — is currently zoned for residential mixed use, while a number of other parcels within the plan are zoned as community park property. 

As the staff report for the resolution details, the Master Builder for the majority of the Central Lathrop Specific Plan, Saybrook LLC, has already exceeded the required park space for developments of its size. While Saybrook does not directly control the four parcels that the resolution reassigns — two of which are being transferred from community park to residential mixed use while one is transferred from community park to variable density residential — their work in exceeding the required park space allows for some flexibility to take the zoned community park parcels out of that designation without dropping below acceptable development standards. This move will also not create additional park space for dedication that Saybrook can claim. 

The move will also prevent headaches for future homeowners who have purchased property on the lots that were designated something other than residential. 

According to the staff report, construction could have continued despite legal conforming standing because it “grandfathered” in from a previous plan — the failed Richland development that Saybrook largely salvaged — but such a move doesn’t come without creating problems. For one, there could be difficulty in selling the homes because lenders and insurance companies see the nonconforming status as a risk, the largest being that “there is a potential for loss of the use of the home, compounded by the fact that the land would only be of value to the city itself or a developer in need of park land needed to make their park land dedication requirements.”

The Central Lathrop Specific Plan is a 1,521-acre, 6,790 dwelling unit project with a 5-million square-foot commercial and office development included. 

While the city’s move on Monday will remove 6.36-acres of community park from the specific plan area, a surplus of 9.44-acres will remain. In addition to the 45 acres of neighborhood park and 70 acres of community park, the development will include 94-acres of levee trail, open space and river area for recreational and visual amenities. Only the neighborhood park space and the community park space are required for the development. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.