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18-home Hatch Road subdivision receives 3-1 approval
• 18 homes proposed for what was supposed to be half of Olive Wood professional park
This map, superimposed over an aerial photo of the Olive Woods business park, shows where the 18 homes are being proposed.

The Ceres Planning Commission approved a plan to build 18 single-family homes north of Hatch Road between Moffet Road and Wallin Way.

In a 3-1 vote the commissioners approved vesting tentative subdivision map, and Planned Community Development Plan (PCDP) to subdivide 1.67 acres on Hatch Road for 18 homes ranging in size from 1,390 to 1,630 square feet. Commissioner Dave Johnson did not vote because of a conflict of interest.

The Olive Villas project is proposed by Gary Rogers of Madera.

In 2001 the general plan was amended to allow for the continuation of the business park or a senior housing facility.

Originally the Olive Wood/Hatch Road Professional park site was intended to be built as a 20,452 square foot professional office complex consisting of seven buildings on seven lots with parking and access easements. Although the seven lots were created, only three of the seven buildings were constructed to date. The original plans were to tear down a house on the site – now vacant and recently burned in afire – and build a 17,852-square-foot expansion of the office complex, consisting of six additional buildings or developing a senior housing project, consisting of 13 detached dwellings. The second phase never came to pass.

When the city was approved about changing the plan to develop 30 townhome dwelling units within six buildings, city staff foresaw significant problems with not enough space for amenities, guest parking and emergency vehicle access. The developer reworked the project for 18 single-family homes – a project the city could support at the staff level.

Proposed are 10 single-story single-family, three-bedroom, two-bath homes; and eight three-bedroom townhomes which are two-story and sized at 1,630 square feet. The development would be subject to a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) and CC & R’s (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions).

Upon the demolition of the burned out home, the developer will be removing the two existing driveways along Hatch Road and replacing it with a deceleration lane along Hatch Road leading to a private roadway to serve the subdivision. A 12-foot wide stamped concrete median island at the Hatch Road entrance will restrict turning movements to right in, right out, and left in only from the subdivision. The project will also be accessible through the existing Olive Woods office complex parking lot. A total of 66 parking spaces will serve the project. Restrictions will dictate that garages must be used for vehicle parking.

As a buffer zone between Hatch Road and the homes closest to Hatch Road will be a park strip with a children’s play area and barbecue area and guest parking area just west of the new entrance and landscaping and a dog park on the east side.

All of the units will have a 10-foot deep backyard, Rogers told the commission.

“These things are going to look really nice,” said Rogers. “They’re going to fit in with the neighborhood.”

Despite the commission’s approval, the Ceres City Council must approve the master plan amendment.

Commissioner Gary Del Nero expressed concerns that traffic will be allowed to turn into the neighborhood from eastbound Hatch by making a left turn. He mentioned two fatal crashes that occurred in the area in recent months.

Benjamin Penfield of JMP Homes said projects he’s built have requirements that homeowners maintain their homes.

“We will make a strict HOA policy that they have to keep it up to a certain thing, they can’t let it run down,” said Penfield. “I do a lot of these projects up and down the Valley. I’ve probably done 20 or 30 of these and so every project that we’ve done … 10 years, 20 years down the road it still looks the same as it was day one and I set it up that way on purpose.”

Commissioner Laurie Smith commented that the single-story homes look simple and wondered why they weren’t designed to look more visually interesting.

Neighbor Zach Zamaroni asked if the block wall separating the project from the existing houses could be constructed at seven-foot tall instead of six foot. Rogers said he would go seven feet.

The homes may sell between $275,000 and $325,000.

Smith said she had concerns about the project’s effect on traffic and traffic safety, and she expressed concerns about the looks of the homes and how they may look decades later. She cast the lone vote against the project.