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Planning approves new gated housing community
mission ranch
Mission Ranch is a planned development that will bring six single-family homes to 1.79 acres at 2220 and 2230 N Berkeley Ave., just south of Tuolumne Road on Turlock’s east side. - photo by KRISITNA HACKER / The Journal

Berkeley Avenue could soon be home to a new gated housing community, following a recommendation from the Turlock Planning Commission.

Mission Ranch is a planned development that will bring six single-family homes to 1.79 acres at 2220 and 2230 N Berkeley Ave., just south of Tuolumne Road on Turlock’s east side. While the development is consistent with the Low Density Residential zoning for the area, the project came before the Turlock Planning Commission on May 3 due to the request for a gate to encircle the cul-de-sac with a private entrance.

The developers also wanted a reduction in the required corner side yard setbacks for the lots adjacent to the gate entrance and the ability to reduce the 20-feet required driveway to 15 feet for side loaded garages and for additional RV parking.

The City of Turlock General Plan discourages single-family gated communities as “they do not further the City’s goals of improving access and connectivity amongst residents and neighborhoods.”

City staff recommended approving the project, however, because the location of the proposed subdivision limits the connectivity to the surrounding neighborhoods.

The City’s General Plan also prohibits gated communities on lots that exceed 20 acres in size and where they could impede current or future development of a collector, arterial or expressway or where they would disrupt an existing or future planned public pathway, trail or park.

The total acreage of Mission Ranch is well under the 20-acre threshold. There will be sidewalks installed within the public right-of-way along N. Berkeley Avenue allowing pedestrian access. Also, there are no planned trails or parks for the project site.

The private street that will be created with the project, with an already approved name of Scenic Court, will be maintained by a Homeowners Association or Assessment District, as required by the Turlock General Plan.

The General Plan also establishes standards for walls in gated communities, including a 15-foot minimum planter strip in front of any wall. The landscaping along N. Berkeley Avenue adjacent to the wall will be maintained by the City of Turlock and funded through the assessment district formed for the community and paid for by the home owners in the development.

Residents adjacent to the project brought up concerns about the height of the houses and the setback from the houses to the neighboring single-story homes and the type of wall that will be installed. The project developers have not yet submitted specific housing plans, so it’s unclear how many of the homes will be single story or have two stories, according to City of Turlock Principal Planner Katie Quintero. The developers also did not answer what type of wall will be constructed.

Attorney Mike Warda, representing project developers Nick Hackler and Jim Pallios, said he would get into contact with the neighbors to answer their questions.

The Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the project, with Commissioner Hackler recusing himself from the vote and Commissioners Geoff Powers and Constance Anderson absent.

“For me, I just like that it’s an infill project. I think that’s always been the goal, to try and get things filled in and get the city in that direction before we expand anywhere else. I think six homes is better than just two homes, so I love that it’s going with that density in that direction,” said Commission Chair Elvis Dias.

The project next will go before the Turlock City Council for consideration of final approval.