The Turlock Planning Commission approved a Fitzpatrick Homes project on Thursday to build 20 single-family homes on the southeast corner of North Johnson Road and East Tuolumne Road, despite numerous complaints from neighboring residents.
The protests focused mainly on the density of the project, 20 homes on a 4.9-acre property, and the design of the subdivision.
“We’re excited to see the economy’s well enough for the development to happen,” said neighborhood resident Neill Callis at Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting. “I’m concerned that there’s too many lots. No subdivision in the neighborhood has this many lots. It doesn’t seem that this plan fits.”
While the Fitzpatrick Homes project meets all the specifications in the City of Turlock’s General Plan and Zoning regulations for Low-Density housing, Callis noted that the same sized parcel off Nordic Way has 12 lots instead of 20, and surrounding subdivisions have an average of 12 to 16 lots.
The plan calls for 20 lots, ranging in size from 7,016 square feet to 10,369 square feet, with 10 on each side of the subdivision’s single road, ending with a cul-de-sac. Surrounding subdivisions all have homes at the end of their cul-de-sacs, where this one will dead end to a sidewalk and fence line.
Connie Alldrin, whose house will abut the dead-end cul-de-sac, said she was concerned about headlights from vehicle traffic shining straight into her bedroom window.
“There’s a lot of sentiment among the people for the plan not to go ahead as it is,” said Gordon Alldrin, who presented the Planning Commission a petition against the project signed by 26 neighboring residents.
“It just doesn’t go with this part of town at all…it will stand out like a sore thumb,” he continued.
Jeff Spinardi, another neighboring resident, said that as a contractor he can tell that the development’s design did not take into consideration the surrounding neighborhood.
“Of course, it meets the minimum specifications, it wouldn’t be before if it didn’t,” said Spinardi to the Commission. “These are aesthetic concerns.”
He asked the Commission to consider how much character Turlock has compared to surrounding communities.
“You really shape what Turlock’s going to look like in 20 to 30 years,” Spinardi said.
Former Planning commissioner and the other resident whose home will abut the end of the cul-de-sac, Mike Brem, said that while he is concerned about having neighbors right next to his back yard, he also supports Fitzpatrick Homes.
“From when I was a Planning commissioner, I can tell you that infill development is important,” he said.
Planning commissioners Victor Pedroza, Elvis Dias and Jim Reape all expressed concerns about the dead-end cul-de-sac and the density compared to other subdivisions in the area.
“When we look at an aerial view of this project and compare it to other projects in the area, lot sizes are not the same, the project shape is not the same,” said Commissioner Reape.
Fitzpatrick Homes president Dennis Fitzpatrick also addressed the Commission on Thursday, and answered questions about the project.
“I know there’s been some concern… we do meet the Zoning here in the City and in some areas we exceed it,” he said. “We’ve built a couple hundred homes here in Turlock… the projects have been successful.”
In response to some of the neighbors’ and commissioners’ concerns, Fitzpatrick agreed to install a 7-foot double-sided wood fence with steel post and pickets on both sides on the north side of the property, which abuts the Turlock Free Methodist Church, and 6-foot fencing on the other property lines. He also agreed to build only single-story homes on the first two houses entering the subdivision and the two homes at the end of the cul-de-sac; and install enhanced landscaping at the end of the cul-de-sac high enough and thick enough to block light from oncoming traffic.
In the end, the Commission voted to approve the project, 5-1, with Commissioner Dias opposing.
Director of Planning Debbie Whitmore informed the public that they could appeal the Commission’s ruling to the City Council within 10 days. She also encouraged anyone who needed help with the process of filing an appeal to contact the Planning Department at 209-668-5640.