On Tuesday, Nov. 20, the council voted unanimously to change the name of the road for about a half-mile stretch north from Grant Line Road to city limits at West Larch Road. The idea behind the change is to boost the visibility of the Tracy Auto Mall.
Development and Engineering Services Director Andrew Malik said changing the name of the road would let the city change several Caltrans signs on Interstate 205 to, in effect, advertise the car dealership center — which is home to about 10 dealerships.
Future signs for that exit off I-205 would read Grant Line Road-West Valley Auto Mall Road, Malik said.
“We believe, as do the mall and the auto mall, that all of those businesses can derive benefit from increased traffic off the freeway,” he said.
The signs will cost the city $450,000 from its residential specific plan account that was originally sourced from various developer fees, leaving a $250,000 balance. The RSP account is money from fees that were collected during a development project in the 1980s. The money can be used at the council’s discretion.
Before voting, Mayor Brent Ives said the city had numerous discussions with Caltrans about other ways to erect signs touting the auto mall.
“We tried every way we could with Caltrans … but this is the only way they will deal now, at this juncture,” he said.
Some business owners told the council in verbal and written form that changing their addresses would be a burden.
One letter from Anthony Parisek, a dentist with an office at 2750 Naglee Road, stated that the change would create “undue hardship.”
“…It could take years for the Internet to catch up with that change,” Parisek wrote in a letter dated March 27. “Right now, Google shows my office on Naglee Road, and all of my reviews and online identity are tied to that. Changing a few signposts is not going to make me and my business’ online identity suddenly show up on a different road.”
But West Valley Mall General Manager Mike Donaghy and Tracy Toyota dealership President Eric Strickland spoke in support of the plan.
“Signage is just critical and crucial for retail,” Donaghy said. “Tracy’s a town that has a lot of folks that commute out of town for work and commute into town for work, and signage is critical in (directing them to retail outlets).”
Strickland added that automotive corporations not yet in town would look “more favorably” on locating in Tracy if the name were changed to include the auto mall.
Several Naglee Road-area residents, however, spoke against the proposal and were concerned that people living in the county north of city limits were not informed of the possible change as Naglee Road businesses were. They doubted a sign would increase traffic to auto dealerships or the mall.
Naglee Road resident Leonard Allegre, president of the Naglee Burk Irrigation District, which serves land north and west of Tracy, said he was “extremely” opposed to the proposed change. He cited the historical value of the road’s namesake, Henry M. Naglee, who was one of the founders of that water district and part of the city’s bedrock history.
“The name might not mean as much to council members or the staff, but to us out there, it means an awful lot,” Allegre said.
Other council business included:
• Voting unanimously to have staff look into selling 108 acres of city-owned land on the northeast corner of Chrisman Road and 11th Street. Staff members will send out a request for proposal to potential industrial, commercial and agricultural developers to see how much money the city might net in a sale.
• Passing a unanimous vote to spend $473,000 from the general fund for a building and fire safety plan review and inspection services for the Development Services Department.
The review will allow the city to be “nimble” and “meet the timeline” of potential developers, Malik said.
The money will be returned to the general fund in the form of developer and permit fees.
At a glance
WHAT: City Council regular meeting
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20
WHERE: City Hall, 333 Civic Center Plaza
DETAILS: Mayor Brent Ives, Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel and councilmen Steve Abercrombie, Bob Elliott and Robert Rickman were present.
• Contact Jon Mendelson at 830-4231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.