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County approves produce warehouse project for Avila and Sons
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After seven years of planning, Avila and Sons finally received approval to build a produce warehouse facility just west of Turlock.

Dan Avila has been seeking for permission to construct a 180,000 square foot warehouse facility spanning across his 26-acre property off N. Washington Road south of Fulkerth Road. The facility would be used in order to conduct receiving, storing, packaging and shipping of various types of produce including watermelons, wheat and squash.

On Thursday, the Stanislaus County Planning Commission gave Avila the approval to move forward with the project.

“It’s been slow and this project will help so much,” said Avila. “It will really be great place for us all to work and that’s more important than just about anything.”

Perhaps one of the biggest roadblocks for Avila has been the requests and subsequent amendments to the construction plans of the facility from the City of Turlock. With the city border including both lanes on N. Washington, the City of Turlock requested a number of stipulations to the project.  These conditions included any significant deviation in the facility operation to be amended to this use permit, employee and property residence driveway entrances be limited to right-in, right-out only along Washington Road and finally that all produce processed at the site be limited to produce grown by the applicant.

After voting to approve Avila’s application, the planning commission made the decision to retract Turlock’s proposed amendment about requiring all produce going through the facility to be from Avila’s farms.

“This process has been going on for a long period of time, Mr. Avila submitted his first application back in 2009,” said Debbie Whitmore, Deputy Director of Development Services in Turlock. “We’ve worked through so many issues with Mr. Avila and reaching an agreement on what we consider to be really the most important issues which is how do we look at the impact on city roads (…) we don’t really care about that aspect of the operation.”

With this approval, Avila and Sons can now begin to build their new facility and finally conclude this seven year journey.

“I know this has been a lot of work for us all to move through all this and with us bordering close to the city there’s been some issues, I’m very thankful we’ve made this much progress,” said Avila. 

Also on Thursday, the county planning commission approved the expansion of an already existing walnut shelling, processing and storage facility for Growers Direct Nut Co. The expansion will add on over 180,000 square feet that will be located off Geer Road between E. Whitmore and Fox Road.