Community News

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October 2003

Cemetery Commentary
by Tom Burns

It has been said that two things in life are certain: death and taxes. Taxes can (sometimes) be avoided; death can’t. Western Society custom is to bury our departed loved ones. Hence, we have set aside land, called cemeteries, for this purpose.

Yes, cemeteries are a fact of life; they need to be located close enough to be a comfort to families yet far enough away so as not to interfere with our daily lives. Sometimes these interests conflict.

The role of the County Planning Commission is to determine the appropriate location for proposed development, including cemeteries. The County Board of Supervisors has the final say whether to approve or deny such projects. The Board also sets policy for locations of development.

Several years ago, when considering the South Salida Project, the Board of Supervisors stated its policy was to disallow all development south of Murphy/Bacon Rd. Within the last two years, the Board of Supervisors reaffirmed that policy when they denied the Fire District’s application to develop a fire station on 1.5 acres on the south side of Murphy. At the Board of Supervisors meeting on 10/21/03, the Board confirmed that policy remains in effect.

The proposed cemetery in Salida is situated south of Bacon, within the area in which the Board has stated there will be no development.

For those opposed to the proposed cemetery, this is the best argument – the proposed project is contrary to the Board’s stated policy for development in Salida. To allow the project would be to abdicate the policy. Additionally, the project is inconsistent with the Salida Community Plan, as that land is designated agricultural.

I understand the land on which the project is proposed is under Williamson Act contract. Under such contract, the owner promises to keep the land in agriculture for 10 years. In turn, the owner receives a tax break. The contract will be renewed unless the owner files notice of non-renewal. The land remains under contract until the contract term expires. The owner may petition the Board of Supervisors to remove the land from contract early, if the request is granted, the owner pays tax penalties. The Board of Supervisors has been reluctant to remove land from Williamson Act contracts for development.

When reviewing proposed projects, the Board of Supervisors often hears that residents do not want development "in my backyard," or that property values will be affected. The problem is that necessary projects (remember death and taxes) must be located somewhere and are always in someone’s "backyard." Thus, such arguments are rarely effective.

In this case, the proposed project is incompatible with the County’s stated policy for development in Salida. While there is a need for this cemetery in Stanislaus County, there are valid reasons why it should be located elsewhere.

July 2003

Total of 915 ballots were turned in for the special Salida Lighting District ballot. Voters agreed to the terms of the ballot and approved the new formula with a simple majority. The last time a ballot was sent out, the majority denied the formula which put the Salida Lighting District in the red and threatened to turn lights off in our community. With a larger effort on public outreach through cable access, this website and other avenues, the word got out that in order to keep the light on, the community needed to approve the new asessment formula.

Quiet 4th of July for the Salida Fire District. The Fire department reported no major or significant incidents and that it was a very slow holiday.

CSA 10 (Landscaping for parks and developments)
Don't miss the last community meeting about the streetscapes and park landscaping issues for the CSA 10 area. Click here for more info.

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Past news articles can be seen by clicking on the archive links.

September-December 1998           June-August 1998               April- July 1999                 January-March 1999  

September-December 1999              January-March 2000           April-June 2000      June-September 2000

January-May 2001         2002

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