Modesto Farmers Rally to Save Wood Colony

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A plan to develop coveted farmland into coveted real estate is being met with heavy resistance from Wood Colony-area farmers.

Jake Wenger, a fourth generation farmer, says people were settling in Wood Colony – a “green paradise” of farmland – before Modesto.

The state’s largest oak tree sits in Wood Colony. Wenger says that’s indicative of the area’s rich soil.

Settlers came for that prime farmland more than a hundred years ago, but the City of Modesto sees a better fit for it in 2014.

“[Wood Colony’s] proximity to Highway 99, its proximity to the confluence of Highway 99 and the future 132 alignment makes it prime for industrial business park,” Modesto’s Community and Economic Development Director Brent Sinclair said. “It happens to be very rich in terms of its possibilities for industry and business parks, too.”

Sinclair says Modesto is in desperate need of jobs and the annexation will create them.

Meanwhile, Wenger is concerned that if one Wood Colony property owner sells, it could create a domino effect. He and other farmers are rallying to keep that from happening.

The Modesto City Council is set to discuss the plan Tuesday evening at 5:30.

Nicole Comstock filed this report.

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