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Turlock sees return of new housing development
Construction is expected to begin soon on the Fairbanks Ranch subdivision, which will bring 129 new homes to a 40.6-acre site on Tuolumne Road east of Quincy Road. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal

Over 200 single-family homes are currently under construction, or soon will be, in northeast Turlock, bringing a resurgence in new housing development for the city.

The Turlock Planning Commission approved a time extension last week for two developments within the East Tuolumne Master Plan Area —Fairbanks Ranch and Les Chateaux — that will see a total of 189 new single-family homes built within the next three years; and construction is well underway by Fitzpatrick Homes on a 20-home development on the southeast corner of North Johnson and East Tuolumne roads.

These projects are the biggest new housing development Turlock has had since the Great Recession.

“There does seem to be an uptick in interest in residential development,” said Turlock Interim Principal Planner Katie Quintero.

The Fairbanks Ranch and Les Chateaux subdivisions were originally approved by the Planning Commission in March 2015.

Fairbanks Ranch is a 40.6-acre site located north of Tuolumne Road, west of Waring road and east of Quincy Road. It will be bounded on the east by the Les Chateaux subdivision, being built by the same developers. Fairbanks Ranch will include 129 single-family homes on residential lots ranging in size from 7,855 square feet to 17,030 square feet. The project also includes a 2.33-acre storm basin. To address concerns raised by Stanislaus County, the developer will be required to widen and resurface Quincy Road from Tuolumne Road to Monte Vista Avenue.

Les Chateaux is a 19.7-acre site located north of Tuolumne Road, west of Waring Road and is bounded by the west by the Fairbanks Ranch subdivision. The project includes 60 single-family homes on residential lots ranging in size from 7,103 square feet to 21,196 square feet. Les Chateaux and Fairbanks Ranch will share the same storm basin area. To address concerns by the County, the developer will be required to widen and resurface N. Waring Road from the project’s northern boundary to East Monte Vista Avenue and install a four-way stop at Waring Road and E. Monte Vista Avenue.

Both Fairbanks Ranch and Les Chateaux will be annexed into the Community Facilities District 2 (a special tax district) to mitigate ongoing costs of public services — police, fire and park maintenance.

While the Planning Commission approved a time extension for Fairbanks Ranch and Les Chateaux, a representative of the projects’ developers informed the Commission that work on the subdivisions is expected to begin within the next month.

Framing has already begun on the 20 new homes being built by Fitzpatrick Homes on the southeast corner of North Johnson and East Tuolumne roads. This infill subdivision was approved by the Planning Commission in March 2017, 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. While the Fitzpatrick Homes project meets all the specifications in the City of Turlock’s General Plan and Zoning regulations for Low-Density housing, neighbors 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.

In response to some of the neighbors’ and commissioners’ concerns, Fitzpatrick Homes president Dennis 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.

Across town, construction has begun on Florsheim Homes’ Rose Verde – a 107-unit subdivision located at the northeast corner of Countryside Drive and Tuolumne Road, just south of Home Depot.

The Turlock City Council approved Rose Verde, called Monte Verde at the time, in April 2014, and according to Florsheim Homes President Randy Bling, the organization was simply waiting for the right time to build.

Bling said that work on the subdivision’s infrastructure, such as paving the streets, is expected to be completed in late spring, with home construction starting in early summer. The subdivision will include 107 homes ranging from 1,500 to over 2,400 square feet with five different floor plans.

While developers are starting to once again build out areas of north and east Turlock, there hasn’t been much interest in the City’s Morgan Ranch Master Plan located in the city’s southeast area.

In June 2015, the City Council approved the Morgan Ranch Master Plan — a document that had been more than a decade in the making — and also adopted the project as part of the City's General Plan.

The housing component of the Morgan Ranch project is a concept driven by the development community that is looking to offer a smaller product that would be available for entry-level housing, something that is consistent with the City's General Plan.

The Morgan Ranch Master Plan is roughly 170 acres of land in the southwest corner of Glenwood Avenue and Golf Link Road, which is bound by Highway 99, located just to the south of the community of homes on 5th Avenue, Amberwood Lane and Baywood Lane. Of the 170 acres, 11 are zoned for a public school to accommodate 300 students; 15 acres are zoned high density residential; eight acres are slated to be devoted to city parks including a four-acre drainage ditch with a raised portion of land for jungle gym equipment; one and a half acres for office buildings; and nearly nine acres for community commercial use. A hallmark of the plan is the smaller sized lots, less than 6,000 square feet, many of which may be more affordable than median home prices and ideal for single families.

“There is infrastructure that needs to be installed in this area before development can occur.  I think it’s a matter of getting the financing together to do the infrastructure work needed to move the area forward,” said Quintero about the Morgan Ranch Master Plan area.