Amid safety concerns, The Salvation Army will construct a six-foot tall perimeter fence around their property following approval from the Turlock City Planning Commission Thursday night.
According to Major Debi Shrum, the area surrounding the organization’s building is often riddled with needles, pipes and other paraphernalia, and property theft has been an issue for the non-profit in the past.
“We have to clean it up almost every day,” said Shrum. “Our flag ropes got stolen, and our sign letters have been ripped off.”
The new fencing around the multipurpose building and chapel/auditorium building will be constructed of wrought iron and will have swinging automobile gates at the Lander Avenue and South Avenue entrances, two pedestrian gates on Lander Avenue and one pedestrian gate on South Avenue. The Lander Avenue automobile gate will close nightly at 8 p.m., while the South Avenue automobile gate will remain open until 10 p.m. to accommodate evening programs. All pedestrian gates will remain closed at all times and will be equipped with inside panic bar hardware and key access.
The fence will be similar to the existing wrought iron fencing already in place at Silvercrest Apartments, and currently, poles are already in place to begin construction.
“I drove by the other day, and seeing the fence by the residence already and continuing the fence all the way around – it makes sense,” said Planning Commission Chair Victor Pedroza. “I understand the safety impact it will have and the visual impact, but to me it makes a lot of sense to put it in.”
Residentially-zoned buildings are prohibited from constructing fences taller than three feet for a solid fence, or four feet for nonsolid fences. In order to meet the fencing requirements for the High Density Residential District, The Salvation Army’s six-foot perimeter fence would have to maintain a 20-foot setback from the Lander Avenue and South Avenue property lines. The 20-foot setback would have negative effects for the organization, said Shrum.
In order to receive state licensing for their after school program, the non-profit needs at least 75 square feet of outdoor space per child. With the fence 20 feet back from the roadway, the organization would not be able to receive state licensing and would be forced to reduce their child tutoring program to just three days a week.
“We really need this,” said Shrum.
With approval of a variance to the Turlock Municipal Code, the Planning Commission granted permission for The Salvation Army to construct their fence within the 20-foot setback area, at the back of the sidewalk.
As the only residentially-zoned building that fronts Lander Avenue, Associate City Planner Adrienne Werner pointed out that the Salvation Army is at a disadvantage.
“Maintaining a strict and literal interpretation of the residential development standards would prohibit the Salvation Army from taking advantage of the development standards that adjacent property owners are able to use to provide additional security to their properties,” she said.
Following the variance’s approval, Turlock residents opposed to the fencing’s construction now have ten days to submit an appeal to the City Clerk.
At Thursday night’s meeting, the Planning Commission also approved an amendment to the development schedule for construction of up to 13,000 square feet of medical office space at 1801 Colorado Avenue, and postponed discussion of façade modifications to 2962 Geer Road for See’s Candies until their next meeting on Jan. 19.