Reporting Nick Janes
LODI (CBS13) – A developer wants to bring 300 new jobs to Lodi, but says the city denied his plan.
It’s nothing more than an empty patch of land, but the developer says work should be happening and is blaming the city council for blocking his project, going as far as calling them “job killers.”
“We need jobs really bad, and you vote no? There’s no excuse. There’s none,” said developer John Giannoni.
Long-time developer Giannoni is on the attack, and that’s putting it mildly.
“Do everybody a favor and resign right now, because you’re not working for the people,” said Giannoni.
The Lodi city council’s 3-2 vote limits his development to nine townhomes. An incensed Giannoni explains that effectively kills the project, claiming it won’t work for him financially unless he can build a dozen townhomes.
“If you want to kill people, you just killed people. That’s why I called you job killers, because I cannot build this project without 12 units,” Giannoni said.
It’s a project, he says, that would put hundreds back to work in a city facing double-digit unemployment.
“It’s about a balance and a fairness,” said Lodi Mayor Joanne Mounce.
But Mounce says it isn’t that simple. She says the lot was originally slated for nine townhomes. It’s what neighbors were promised when they bought their homes and they protested 12 units would bring too much traffic.
“He needs to work within the parameters that were set,” said Mounce.
As far as stepping down goes, “it’ll be up to the voters in November,” Mounce said.
The mayor says the council’s difficult, split decision was based on what’s best for the entire community.
“Every job is very important, and I don’t discount that,” said Mounce. “It’s just a matter of what’s a good fit for a neighborhood.”
“Don’t sit there and say, ‘oh we want jobs,” said Giannoni. “Come on man, don’t lie to me. I’ll get right in your face.”
Clearly taking a no-holds-barred approach, Giannoni promises to fight the city tooth and nail.
He’s not letting it go, that’s for sure. He says the city should expect to hear from his real estate lawyer.
More than 30 neighbors sent the city council a petition opposing the project. The mayor says, for now, the ball is in the developer’s court.