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Council approves zoning change for multi-family residential project
Darrell Ledbetter eyes Cherry Hollow project of 20 units
Darrell Ledbetter's project east of Blaker Road and north of Kinser Road. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Members of the Ceres City Council voted 4-0 to approve amendments to the General Plan and rezoning of three properties in the 2800 block of Blaker Road south of Heavenly Way so that Darrell Ledbetter can build duplexes of up to 20 dwelling units on two of the three properties.

The council also approved a Planned Community Development Plan for the Cherry Hollow project.

The council action changes the general plan designation of Low Density Residential (LDR) to Medium Density Residential (MDR) for three properties that total about two acres; and rezones the parcels from Single-Family Residential (R-1) to Planned Community - 62.

In 2006 Ledbetter built a duplex and five homes to the south, leaving the northern most lot undeveloped. Following the construction of those units, Ledbetter received approval in 2009 to adjust the property lines of both properties to their current configurations. As the undeveloped parcel increased its size, it also remained with a dual zoning of both R-1 and PC-62 zone districts, until such time when City staff planned to complete an ordinance amendment and change the zoning of the entire property to the PC-62 zoning designation; however, that did not occur until now.

In July the Ceres Planning Commission approved the changes in a 4-1 vote with CouperCondit voted against the changes.

"The proposal would provide some needed multi-family development," said Tom Westbrook, director of Community Development for the city of Ceres. "These lots are kind of unique in that they're long and kind of skinnier; they're held over from subdivisions from years past and so this is a very good way to develop those lots."

Westbrook said Ledbetter has a reputation for well maintaining his projects.

Thirty-year McCord Way resident Barbara Hall voiced her opposition of the project.

"If the zoning changes from low density to medium density there are units Ledbetter wants to build but it opens up the rest of that area for additional units of medium density," said Hall. She added fears about a drop in their property values, an intrusion of privacy, and increase in crime and noise and traffic. Hall said the city gave insufficient notice since letters notifying the area were in English when many who live there speaking Spanish.

Councilman Bret Durossette said Ledbetter holds high standards with his projects.

"I think this is something Ceres needs," said Durossette.

Mayor Chris Vierra agreed, saying Ledbetter "has been a model landlord," who would come down hard on tenants who didn't put garbage cans out of view.

"I would be surprised if you wouldn't see an increase to your property values, not an increase," Vierra told Hall.

Westbrook said the action does not open up for more multi-family residential development, saying "this is the only lot that's kind of large enough to see any type of development."