The Turlock Planning Commission unanimously approved amending the City’s General Plan Thursday night to permit the construction of three four-story buildings roughly 50 feet in height to house student apartments, which will be the highest buildings in Turlock.
Originally zoned as Community Commercial, the land has now been approved for High Density Residential development and will host roughly180 units, 600 beds and 618 parking spaces. Since 2005, several developers received approval to develop the land, including the Ten Pin Fun Center bowling alley, though none of the projects came to fruition. This time the land will be developed, however, according to David Moon, president of Coleraine Capital Group which is partnering with AMCAL Equities for the project.
“In terms of our motivation and our commitment to the project, we’re100 percent committed and we’d like to get this product to market in 2017,” said Moon, who recently completed a similar apartment design for California State University, Monterey Bay.
The student-only complex aims to provide those students living off-campus an opportunity to live as if they had the inclusive on-campus experience said Moon. The complex would include community assistants on each floor, study rooms, a computer lab, basketball courts and a shuttle that goes to and from the campus as well as locations within the community. The three four-story apartment buildings will also include a recreation center with a roughly 6,000 square foot club house, basketball and volleyball courts, as well as a pool.
“More and more student housing is being built by private developers because most universities don’t have the land or the funds to accommodate all of the students,” added Moon. “This is student build housing intended to help them succeed.”
Earlier this year Moon held community outreach meetings to gather public input. One person opposing the project was Patrick Jensen, owner of Paul’s Glass, who has family that would be impacted by the construction of the apartments. He voiced his concerns at the community workshop and also posted a sign on the wall bordering the property proposed for development that states “No 4 Story Apt Here! Call 209-620-4741”.
“Our whole deal is that it needs to be conducive with the area, even if that’s two-story single family dwellings,” said Jensen in February. “We have to be open to allowing a certain something going in there, but not the tallest buildings in Turlock looking down into these people's best yard.”
Many neighbors attended the meeting Thursday night and reflected the same sentiment as Jensen, vocalizing concerns about privacy, traffic safety, and noise.
“You will have 600 kids crossing the street and we’re going to have a real problem,” said Nanette Snoke, one of the residents who lives in the eight houses that directly face the property.
Residents of nearby Seaborg Street also vocalized concerns about not only parking, but the safety of the height of the complex.
“Do we even have fire equipment that can deal with a four-story building?” asked Kathy Halsey.
Leonard Van Elderen, president and CEO of Yosemite Farm Credit which is adjacent to the development, also questioned how the complex will fit in with the surrounding business community.
“We’re going to have people come to our offices and look right into a swimming pool,” said Van Elderen.
While the complex did prove cause for concern for many neighbors, one local resident vocalized her support for the project.
“This city, one of its pride and joys, is the university and we have to accommodate that,” said Brittany Bunch.
The Planning Commission took into consideration the residents’ concerns and ultimately settled upon creating a concrete wall to block the pool area from Yosemite Farm Credit. The hours of the recreation center were also reduced to end at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Originally the developers intended to charge students to park their cars at the complex, a fee which was removed to accommodate the neighbors so that students would not seek free parking on nearby streets.
The project is slated to come before the Turlock City Council for approval at the first meeting in September.