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Homeless day center planned for youth center
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A day-time resource and assistance center for Turlock's homeless may soon open its doors at the city-owned Turlock Youth Center, located at 1030 East Ave.
On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council will consider approving a two-year lease of the building to local non-profit Turlock Gospel Mission to operate that center.
The center would be opened seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., giving the homeless a place to reconnect with their community - and a place to go during the day. The center is also said to close a gap in the continuum of care; Turlock currently has only evening shelters, and those are open only in the winter months.
The Gospel Mission expects to partner with other local agencies to provide a "full spectrum" of support services to the homeless at the site.
Turlock would receive $1,080 per month in rent. Some of that rent may be foregone, per the agreement, if the Turlock Gospel Mission completes improvements to the building and landscaping; the fair market value of those improvements would be offset against rent and utilities.
Per the staff report on the issue, the Turlock Gospel Mission has contacted nearby residents and businesses and received a favorable response to the project.
The City of Turlock expects to relocate recreation classes previously taught in the Youth Center - including dance programs - to other sites, should the lease be approved. The city does not expect to lose significant rental revenues, as the Youth Center has experienced "consistently low rental use."

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
• In a special joint meeting with the Turlock Planning Commission, consider the draft General Plan, approving release of the document for environmental review and public comment.
The General Plan, a document describing how and where Turlock will grow over the next 20 years, has been in development for two years.
The special meeting will occur before the regular meeting, beginning at 5 p.m.
• Update the Municipal Code to increase the minimum height of trees overhanging public streets, alleys, and sidewalks.
Currently the code requires property owners clear a space of at least 7 feet between the lowest limb or foliage of trees and the public street. City staff is recommending that figure be changed to at least 16 feet but no more than 20 feet, so as to accommodate tall city vehicles. Sidewalks would require a clearance of at least 7 feet and no more than 10 feet.
All property owners and tenants would be required to maintain trees on their property to meet these standards, per city code.
• Consider approving Turlock's boundaries in the year 2050, for the Stanislaus County Mayors' Group's Agricultural Preservation Plan 2050. The plan asks cities to establish the extent of their growth by 2050, so all land outside those boundaries is preserved for farmland.
Currently, the plan is eventually expected to go before voters for final approval.
The Turlock Planning Commission took issue with the plan at their Oct. 6 meeting, arguing that Turlock's existing General Plan process was adequate to protect agricultural land, and, indeed, was more thorough than the process proposed by the Mayors' Group.
• Consider expending $104,600 in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds to rehabilitate and renovate a home on Amberwood Lane. NSP funds are intended to purchase foreclosed homes and rehab those homes, improving property values in the area, but this home would cost more than usual to rehab. The cost would come on top of the home's $104,465 purchase price.
Once rehab is completed, the home would be sold to an income-eligible family.
Similarly, the council will consider expending a further $117,975 to rehabilitate a home on Bel Air Court. The home cost $133,424.50 to purchase.
• Issue a proclamation in honor of donations to the Veterans Plaza Memorial, to be built outside the new Public Safety Facility. The memorial will be funded by the Turlock Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5059 and Ladies Auxiliary, Turlock American Legion Rex Ish Post 88, and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 74.
• Finalize an ordinance which gives Turlock the option of retaining its redevelopment agency by paying the State of California a large fee, pursuant to the 2011-2012 state budget. The move does not require Turlock to retain its agency, given a pending Supreme Court decision on the legality of the state's move, but will allow the council to decide whether or not to do so at a later date.
The ordinance change was introduced at the council's Oct. 25 meeting.

The Turlock City Council's regular meeting is scheduled to commence at 7 p.m. in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway. A special, joint meeting between the Council and the city Planning Commission will precede the regular meeting, beginning at 5 p.m.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.