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Land around interchange will be annexed to city
Annexation map
This map shows the affected areas to be annexed out of the county and into the city of Ceres. The parcels are outlined by a grey border and hatched area and include lands north of Service Road as well as between Service/99 and Mitchell/99. - photo by Courtesy of the city of Ceres

Multiple properties along Highway 99 around the Service Road overpass are in the process of being annexed out of the county and into the city as the Ceres officials plan for a new interchange.

The Ceres Planning Commission met on March 21 and approved by a vote of 3-1 to bring the county islands into the city boundaries in an effort to "clean up" the chopped up area. Commissioner Couper Condit voted against the annexation.

The 17 properties include a triangle shaped area east of Highway 99 east of Moffet Road down to Service. They also include properties west of freeway south of Don Pedro and north of Service Road.

The annexed properties are 56.7 acres in size in total.

The city is also prezoning six parcels from county zoning to C-2 Community Commercial.

All of the parcels east of the freeway have been zoned for industrial uses.

Residents in the area showed up to ask questions but nobody opposed the action, said city of Ceres Community Development Director Tom Westbrook.

According to Westbrook, the annexation is proposed to help streamline the diverging diamond interchange if and when it is built. The city felt that cutting the county out of the planning phase would make things easier. The city and Caltrans will be the only agencies overseeing the project.

The annexation must be approved by the Ceres City Council and the Stanislaus Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).

As part of the LAFCO application process, the city will be required to include a Plan for Services which will declare that the city will be able to serve a proposed annexation area and evaluates the need for water, sewer, storm drain, Police/Fire services, etc. Although there is no development proposed within the annexation area, said Westbrook, services will be evaluated with respect to impacts for the services.

The prezoning and subsequent annexation of the parcels would allow for the potential of future commercial developments. Several parcels have already been prezoned as industrial M-1, Light Industrial and IP, Industrial Park. Residential uses are not allowed in those zones.

Older single-family and multi-family residences and various industrial uses exist within the project area. The proposed changes in land use designations will not displace the existing housing units, nor necessitate the construction of replacement housing elsewhere, as no commercial or industrial development is being proposed in conjunction with this project. If and when development is proposed in the future, any impacts related to the displacement of people and existing housing for that project will be evaluated, and if necessary mitigated.