A recently approved housing project near the edge of town is set to add even more new homes to the city’s growing number of parcels.
The Balisha Ranch subdivision was approved by the Turlock Planning Commission on Sept. 2, giving the go-ahead to Woodward Partners LLC for the construction of 50 new single-family homes at 2930 E. Tuolumne Road near Denair. The 17.4-acre site is currently home to a walnut orchard right along City limits.
Katie Quintero, the City of Turlock’s Deputy Director of Development Services and Planning Manager, said the Balisha Ranch subdivision is one of 16 housing projects currently underway throughout town. In total, these housing and apartment complex developments will add 1,105 new dwelling units once completed.
Two of those projects are the Le Chateaux by KB Homes and Fairbanks Ranch subdivisions, which are under construction across the street from the Balisha Ranch site on Tuolumne. Originally approved in 2015, the sites will consist of over 100 single family lots when completed and were the subject of a boundary dispute between Turlock Unified School District and Denair Unified School District in recent years.
Developers wanted to redraw the district boundary line so that students living in the new homes could attend TUSD schools, but a unanimous decision from the California State Board of Education in 2019 sided with DUSD and determined the boundary line would remain the same.
The new homes in the Balisha Ranch project will be constructed within DUSD boundaries as well, meaning developer fees from the project as well as state funding per pupil will follow students to Denair schools.
The project will consist of three- and four-bedroom homes averaging 2,500 square feet in size. Construction is expected to begin next November and be completed by March 2024.
Other projects either under construction or in the process of beginning construction include subdivisions on 5th Street, Colorado Avenue and East Hawkeye Avenue, along with apartment complexes in the works on 20th Century Boulevard, Atherstone Road, Pedras Road, Olive Avenue and West Monte Vista Avenue.
These projects are much-needed. In 2018, California ranked 49th in the nation for housing units per resident. A study by the McKinsey Global Institute found California has a housing shortage of around 2 million units and will need to build 3.5 million by 2025 to meet the growing population.
Just like the state, Turlock is experiencing an affordable housing shortage and it has hit seniors, low-income residents and college students particularly hard.
A study completed in 2019 by the Concord Group, which spearheaded the phase II of the affordable housing project Avena Bella, found that the problem is significant for the region, which includes the communities along Highway 99 — Turlock, Ceres, Modesto and Salida. From 2019 to 2023, the primary market area is expected to grow by 1,040 households each year.