Ripon is a town with a population of slightly over 15,000.
The city’s master plan includes growth on the east side of Highway 99, specifically, the area around Jack Tone Road and River Road.
The six candidates – incumbents Mark Winchell, Leo Zuber, and Jake Parks, along with challengers John Mangelos, Mario Gonzales and Daniel deGraaf – vying for three seats on the Ripon City Council were asked to address the following question: Growth will soon take place with developments such as the mixed use (residential / commercial) in the Mistlin Sports Park area. Is this good or bad for Ripon?
uWINCHELL: “The North Pointe Specific Plan addresses 310 acres of planned growth. When a city decides to develop, this an example of a well thought out that will support our local economy. The mixed-used plan would accommodate retail development, business offices, as well as commercial uses. Also, housing options will include multi-family apartments, condominiums housing, and single-family residential homes ranging in different densities. There will be a variety of parks and open spaces for recreation and public gatherings. I strongly support his plan because it is an example of smart planning. It ensures that Ripon will grow in a positive manner, providing a benchmark for future development.
uZUBER: “Growth in any community is inevitable. The goal needs to be to ensure that growth in Ripon is quality growth. Residential growth needs to maintain community standards that are a critical part of what makes the community what it is. But that residential growth also needs to accommodate a wide range of potential buyers, so young people can remain part of the community and those wishing to downsize or move to a larger residence have those options. Growth must also incorporate quality commercial development into the community. Sales tax is a primary source of revenue for the city. The addition of quality businesses will generate more sales tax and allow city government to provide the services most desired by the residents. This can and should be done without compromising on community standards.”
uPARKS: “As we look at communities such as Modesto and Manteca, we realize that growth is going to be inevitable. Even if Ripon decides to stop growing completely other towns around us will continue to grow. If this is the path we choose then we will eventually lose our quality of life, and become similar to Salida and Wood Colony. Growth especially in Mistlin Park, will allow Ripon to diversify its tax base and not be as heavily reliant on gas tax. Through growing Ripon, in pragmatic and responsible manor, we can insure the integrity of town for the foreseeable future. Where cities have gotten into trouble is when growth runs unchecked, and out paces the infrastructure, public safety (Fire and Police Department), and public works ability to maintain its residents quality of life. As a councilmember this is something I have fought to maintain, our ability to grow without sacrificing our quality of life.”
uMANGELOS: “Growth is inevitable – the key to growth is attracting businesses that share our values, offering unique products and services that our community will embrace. Any growth in housing needs to be consistent with Ripon’s past, both in spirit and in quality, retaining the character that we have built over the years.”
uGONZALES: “I think (growth) would be good for the city. Not only will those residential / commercial developments create jobs but also create ways of bringing money into city (coffers).”
uDEGRAAF: “Growth that includes attracting businesses to Ripon is a good thing. Out of control growth and continuing to build houses without bringing in businesses will ultimately be a burden on our police department, our fire department, our utilities and our schools.”