When the Lathrop City Council listened to a presentation earlier this month about the upcoming general plan update, many saw it as an informal introduction to the first overhaul of the city’s master planning guidelines.
But Adriana Lopez, the outspoken Lathrop Road property owner who challenged the city over the safety elements and the legality of the Lathrop Road widening that was just recently completed, saw it as an opportunity for the city to go back and change the existing planning documents to make sure that the finished product lines up with existing codes and guidelines.
Lopez was the lone property owner contacted with an offer from the city to purchase a small piece of her property in order to acquire the easement to construct the project that refused to sell. As the council considered the second reading and adoption of an ordinance that will formally ban on-street parking along the section of Lathrop Road that fronts her home, Lopez again spoke out about what sees as a lack of essential notification on the part of the city to the council before they made their decision and the project was ultimately built.
And it could end up being a matter decided by the courts.
In her comments to the council – which included listing specific ways in which she feels the city’s plan is non-conforming with the existing general plan and other essential planning regulations – Lopez asked “why should a citizens group have to file a lawsuit, a written mandate, to ensure that the city officials protect the residents as you are sworn to do?” It was the second time in as many months that Lathrop Road property owner directly affected by the roadway widening has mentioned the word lawsuit in remarks to the council after Sharon Lamb broached the subject in February.
According to Lopez’ comments, the citizens feel that the city’s project is illegal because it doesn’t fit the existing planning regulations, and added that she believes that ordinances like the one that bans on-street parking – which passed the council unanimously – are coming before the governing body for their consideration after the fact.
Lopez said she wanted to know what the parking ordinance will mean for residents who have to stop their vehicles to get out and unlock the gate that allows access to their driveways – whether doing so in the traffic lane will open them up for citations from Lathrop Police Services. Her question about what the homeowners were supposed to do in that instance – park and stop traffic or drive up to Avon Street, park, and walk back to open the gate only to circle the block and then pull into their driveways – was not addressed by the council or city staff.
Prior to the council approval of the Lathrop Road widening, Lathrop city staff informed residents that the project was always part of the city’s long-term strategic plan, and the city was legally able to exercise its right to build within its existing right-of-way as well as any right-of-way that was acquired legally without utilizing the eminent domain process.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.