City of Turlock Planning Commissioners will consider amending the East Tuolumne Master Plan on Thursday which would increase the number of units built on what is currently farm land near the city’s eastern border.
The two adjacent parcels of land being considered for development—located where North Daubenberger Road intersects at East Tuolumne Road—currently bear several large election campaign posters as well as one City of Turlock sign notifying residents that the large plot of farmland behind it may very well become the homes of future Turlockers, or so the Planning Commission will consider on Thursday.
Residents within a 500 foot radius of the Daubenberger and Tuolumne intersection were recently notified through a letter from the City of Turlock that two adjacent parcels of land between North Quincy Road and Waring Road could potentially be developed. However, development of the acres has been possible though never acted upon for nearly a decade.
The City approved the East Tuolumne Master Plan in 2005, and shortly thereafter subdivision maps were filed in order to develop the two parcels with a total of 123 lots across the 100 acres. For reasons unknown no further steps were taken, though the downturn in the economy likely played a role.
“Subdivision maps were filed in 2006 and these are still active,” explained Associate Planner Katie Quintero. “If the developer wanted they could come in today and build according to that plan approved in 2005.”
However, the developer is now looking to increase the number of lots on each parcel to include roughly 69 additional lots on the same 100 acres thus changing the land designation from Very Low Residential land use to Low Residential Land Use.
While according to Quintero amendments to master plans are “pretty rare,” on Thursday Planning Department staff will recommend approval of the private application that requests an amendment of the East Tuolumne Master Plan due in part to its alliance with the mission of the City’s General Plan. The General Plan, a document that lays out the framework for the city in the next 20 years, identifies the evaluation of the East Tuolumne Master Plan as a “high priority.”
“In 2012 there was a big emphasis on the preservation of farm land and the promotion of increased density city wide in order to use the land more efficiently,” explained Quintero.
The General Plan describes the purpose of the East Tuolumne Master Plan area as “creating a smooth transition from urban to rural land uses along the City’s eastern border, while creating a distinct boundary between Turlock and Denair.”
While the mission of providing a boundary between Turlock and Denair is still the intent, if approved the amended master plan would provide a more distinct, literal border: a wall.
“This offers less conflict with the properties that don’t fall under the City of Turlock’s jurisdiction,” said Quintero.
Initially larger “ranchette” type homes were slated to be built on the properties some of which would face Waring Road. However, should the amendment be approved a wall will be constructed along Waring Road with a 15 foot landscape bed adjacent to the wall to help enhance the buffer area. A sidewalk would also be constructed and the homes would be less agricultural, ranch properties and instead the size of the nearby Bristol Park residences which stand between 7,000 and 10,000 feet.
Thus far Quintero has received three calls of concern regarding the amendment to the East Tuolumne Master Plan though no written letters have been received. Any written complaints or concerns are forwarded to commissioners prior to the meeting. According to the city, if approved the item will go to the Turlock City Council for a vote and those unsatisfied with the Planning Commission’s action may file a written appeal within 10 days of the decision for $125 fee and a public hearing will be scheduled by the City Council to consider the appeal.
Concerned residents can voice their thoughts at the special Planning Commission meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.