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Circle K, 76 station breaks ground near Hatch overpass
• Construction taking place at 1212 Joyce Avenue
Circle K groundbreaking
As a symbol of good luck for their project, Dr. Devan Dalla (left) and others smash coconuts on a heavy equipment shovel at the construction site where a new Circle K will be constructed west of Highway 99 just north of the Hatch Road overpass. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Next February a new Circle K market selling Union 76 gas will occupy a highly-visible parcel shouldering northbound lanes of Highway 99 just outside of the Ceres city limits.

Elk Grove dentist Devan Dalla gathered with family members and company officials to participate in a Friday groundbreaking ceremony that featured a traditional Indian ritual of breaking open coconuts as a good omen.

The new 5,300 square foot store on Joyce Avenue west of Herndon Court will also include Jamba Juice and Pizza Hut counters. Plans are to also build a 1,530-square-foot Express Car Wash on the premises in a separate building.

Ceres Mayor Javier Lopez said he welcomes the new business, noting that it will help in Ceres’ beautification effort as the old vacant lot which has been riddled with homeless squatters for years. Lopez said he’s happy that view will disappear for those motorists who’ve seen it while waiting for the light to change atop the Hatch Road overpass.

The property at 1212 Joyce Avenue, is located in the unincorporated part of Stanislaus County but within the Ceres sphere of influence. Ultimately, the property will be annexed to the city of Ceres.

The project did not require county approval since gas stations, car washes, convenience stores, and drive-thru restaurants are a permitted use in the C-1 zoning district. However, in November 2020, Harman Grewal doing business as D&G Group, LLC, sought and was granted a variance to escape a requirement to build an eight-foot-tall masonry wall on the eastern property line. The reason is due to an existing 20-foot county maintained alleyway (Herndon Court) that gives access to homes east of the new store site. The developer proposed to build the masonry wall not right on the eastern property line but along the east side of the alleyway to utilize the space for a drive-thru lane which otherwise wouldn’t be possible due to the size and shape of the parcel. In doing so, the developer dedicated a 10 extra feet from his property to make the “alleyway” 30 feet wide.

The store site will be accessible from Joyce Avenue and the county-maintained Herndon Court to the southeast.

In 2020 Marsiela Cardenas, a resident of  Herndon Court voiced her support of the project as it will result in eliminating the homeless who used it as a camp from time to time.

Lopez at ground breaking
Mayor Javier Lopez and others gathered to break ground Friday for the Circle K project just outside Ceres city limits. - photo by Jeff Benziger