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Stearns Area Residents Eager For Session
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In a letter from Stanislaus County dated Aug. 24, Department of Public Works Director Matt Machado offered an apology to those Stearns Road area residents who were not notified of prior meetings regarding the North County Corridor Project.

He also let them know that the next group meeting for the Stearns Area will be on Wednesday, Sept. 12 – today – at 6 p.m. in the City of Oakdale Council Chambers at 280 N. Third Ave.

“It has recently come to our attention that some, but not all property owners near the vicinity of the North County Corridor (NCC) Project within the Stearns Road area were not properly notified of the project,” Machado wrote. “We sincerely apologize and are making efforts to rectify this situation.”

Machado provided an overview of the project and where it stands today in the letter as well, noting that the North County Corridor has been active since April of 2008. That’s when a JPA, Joint Powers Authority, was formed between Stanislaus County and the cities of Modesto, Riverbank and Oakdale, the North County Corridor Transportation Expressway Authority, NCC TEA.

The Stearns Road route for a bypass is one of several alternatives developed since June of 2011. Others would impact Wamble Road and Lancaster Road if utilized.

“The notices to property owners to request access to their properties to perform environmental studies and surveys last March was the first time many of the Stearns Road area residents were first individually sent notice of the project,” Machado wrote in his three-plus page letter.

In addition to the session scheduled today for Stearns Road area residents, the NCC TEA Board continues regular meetings, every other month. Their next meeting will be on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 4:30 p.m. in the County/City Building at 1010 Tenth St.., downtown Modesto.

Many residents in the Stearns Road area have expressed concern about the project and its likely devastating impact on their homes and property value. Machado said the Stearns option was incorporated into the county plan for study based on public comment at September 2010 public scoping meetings held in Oakdale and Riverbank.

The Lancaster Road option has since been rejected by the county, leaving Alternative 1A, 2A (Stearns Road) and 1B, 2B (Wamble Road) still under study for potential use as a bypass route.

And Machado said there is still ample time for input on the Stearns, Wamble and other potential alternatives.

“At this point, a tentative release date of the draft environmental document tis targeted for spring of 2015,” he wrote in his letter. “…Public comment and participation is encouraged throughout the project development phase.”