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Ripon bounces back quicker from recession due to standards
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All signs indicate that the City of Ripon has recovered from the Recession.

The bounce back from those dire economic times was discussed last week as the city looks at future growth.

It wasn’t one particular project but rather the direction that staff received by elected leaders, from 2007 to 2009, according to City Administrator Kevin Werner at the Feb. 18 Ripon City Council meeting.

“The City of Ripon was not impacted by the recession (like other cities) and recovered faster,” he said during the staff report.

The general fund, Werner pointed out, has received a boost from improved property and sales taxes.

“In the beginning of the Recession, there was a decline in property. But in 2012, the values began to increase. Any time a city grows – growth has impacts,” said Werner.

As an example, Ripon, Lodi and Escalon were hit by a 9 percent drop in property value compared to communities in San Joaquin County, where the average was a 15 percent tumble.

When it comes to sales tax, the city benefits most from fuel sales (64 percent) – along Jack Tone Road and Highway 99 – followed by manufacturing (13 percent) and commercial (12 percent).

How did Ripon weather the Recession?

Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart explained that the General Plan established years earlier set the tone for development.

“We have well thought-out standards,” he said. “Our community is pedestrian oriented with wide sidewalks and landscaped parkways.

“In newer developments, we have pavers instead of asphalt (roads).”

Permeable pavers are not only aesthetically pleasing but can cut the long-term maintenance cost on roads, Zuidervaart noted. 

The wide parkways, he said, serves as a buffer between pedestrians and traffic while the homes are set back further from the street than in other communities.

As a buffer, structures are set back further from the street. Because of that, the Ripon subdivisions have an open feel, said Zuidervaart.

The open feel also means very limited use of masonry block walls, thus, eliminating graffiti and cutting down on maintenance.

“Because of our standards, our property values have held up,” said Zuidervaart. “The fact that our values have bounced back is not just by chance.”

He added that even affordable housing fits into the Ripon standards, with development agreements and monitoring of the master plan and fee structure also being necessary.

“We have to be sure that we’re collecting the right amount of fees,” Zuidervaart said.