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Apartment complex, AM/PM OK’d at Service & Morgan
• Expects building within 4-5 months
Service/Morgan apartments
The Ceres Planning Commission gave its blessings to the design of these apartments at Service and Morgan roads.

A proposal to build a 58-unit apartment complex and a 4,000-square-foot AM/PM Arco convenience store with gas station at the northwest corner of Morgan and Service Road was approved by the Ceres Planning Commission on Monday.

The Raja Chandi Group, Inc., is proposing to build the project.

The commission voted 4-0 to approve the Vesting Tentative Parcel Map, Site Plan Approval and a Conditional Use Permit to give the project a green light. Commissioner Johnson was absent.

Planners approved splitting a 4.85-acre site into four different parcels; three will be used for the apartment complex and one for the store.

The proposal was originally approved with more apartments and an 8,000-square-foot retail building but the project was not realized. A representative of the project said the new owners purchased it in the middle of the pandemic and faced challenges trying to snag a tenant for the 8,000-square-foot retail space.

A Site Plan Approval allows for the architectural review, use, and placement of the 58-unit apartment complex that will consist of two- to three-bedroom units situated in 18 two-story buildings containing two to four units each. The complex proposes an attached one-car garage for each unit and one 640-square-foot office building.

The city has a formula to require two parking spaces for each two-bedroom unit and 2.5 spaces per each three-bedroom unit. That means the developer must provide 127 parking spaces to serve the tenants and the guests. Additionally, the management will be required to have tenants sign a rental agreement that forbids them to use the garage for anything but the parking of a vehicle.

The Conditional Use Permit allowed the city to review the architecture being proposed and the placement of the 4,000 square foot convenience store building with a gas station.

The site has a General Plan designation of “HDR, High Density Residential” for four acres (on the north and west halves) and a designation of “CC, Community Commercial” for the remaining 0.85 acres (on the southeast portion) of the site.

The number of 58 dwelling units is lower than the 80 to 120 units that the zoning would allow. The smaller units will range from 1,292 square feet to 1,438 square feet of living space; while the three-bedroom units will be 1,584 to 1,662 square feet.

The apartments would primarily be accessed from Tranquil Lane and Morgan Road while one on Service Road will be reserved as emergency vehicle access only. Because of city planning staff concerns about traffic flow in and out of the site, all turning movements from the entrances at Service Road and Morgan Road would be limited to “right-in” and “right-out” only, accomplished with the construction of concrete medians on Morgan and Service roads.

The AM/PM will include diesel as well as regular gas. It will also include two electric vehicle charging stations.

Acting Public Works Director Sam Royal questioned if the proposed trash enclosures will be adequate to serve the residents in the apartments. But he was told that city of Ceres Public Works Administrative Analyst Toni Cordell felt what is proposed is adequate.

The proponents are hopeful to be under construction in four to five months.