2,400-plus housing development that would expand Riverbank to undergo public briefing

The Riverbank City Council will get a briefing on 2,400-plus homes proposed just west of town.

It will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, at the Riverbank Community Center, 3600 Santa Fe St. The council moved its meeting from the City Hall chambers because a large crowd could turn out.

The annexation, dubbed River Walk, has drawn protest from farmland preservationists.

The western city limit is now roughly halfway between Coffee and Oakdale roads. The proposal would bring it to McHenry Avenue, north of Modesto.

The public has until March 18 to comment on the draft report on the project’s environmental impacts. They could include traffic, water, loss of farmland and other issues.

Tuesday’s meeting is a presentation by the study team. It is not part of the formal comment process, but interested people still can speak.

The study team will revise the report to address the formal comments. The final document would be part of the review process by the Riverbank Planning Commission and the City Council. The final step would be the Stanislaus Local Agency Formation Commission, which rules on annexations.

River Walk would take up about two-thirds of a 1,522-acre annexation bounded by McHenry, Patterson Road and the Stanislaus River. The rest would be deferred for future development decisions.

Supporters have said River Walk would provide a mix of housing for young families, seniors and other groups. The plan includes:

  • 1,550 low-density homes, up to eight per acre, on a total of 467 acres

  • 702 medium-density homes, up to 16 per acre, on a total of 79 acres

  • 180 high-density homes, averaging 18 per acre, on a total of 10 acres

  • 72 acres of “mixed use,” including retail, services and housing in close proximity

  • 69 acres of open space along the bluff overlooking the river, which would have habitat protections and trails

  • 177 acres of parkland and other open space.

Critics have said the soil is well-suited to farming as well as groundwater recharge from storms. They argue that Riverbank has enough vacant lots in already-annexed areas.

A ballot measure targeting River Walk failed to get enough signatures last month. It would have required voter approval of this and most other housing projects west of the city limit.