A 28-unit apartment complex for a 1.2-acre site at 2125 Moffet Road just north of the Richland Shopping Center was approved on Monday.
Despite concerns about traffic congestion, the council voted 3-1 to approve the project. The vote mirrored a 3-1 vote of the Ceres Planning Commission affirming the project in August. Only Councilwoman Linda Ryno voted against the project, which received the support of Mayor Javier Lopez, Vice Mayor Bret Silveira and Councilman James Casey.
Ryno agreed Ceres has a housing shortage but noted her “greater concern” about traffic that will come from the complex and the lack of onsite visitor parking and its impact on street parking.
Architect Ernie Yoshino noted the project meets the city’s minimum parking requirements.
“The city is in need of some apartments,” said Yoshino.
Silveira said parking is not an issue and that intermittent traffic out of an apartment complex would not be as steady as if the property remained commercial.
The council was asked to approve a General Plan amendment to change the property’s designation from Community Commercial to High Density Residential and rezoning from Community Commercial to High Density Multiple-Family Residential (R5).
The council also reviewed the site plan and its architectural drawings of the four two-story units. Each unit will consist of two bedrooms and two bathrooms of approximately 875 square feet.
A total of 56 parking spaces will serve the complex that will be accessed along the north property line. A gated emergency access will consist of a 25-foot-wide path on the south end. A six-foot-tall perimeter block wall will shoulder the west and south property lines.
Harinder Toor, owner of applicant Interjit S. Toor Construction, Inc., said he feels his project was designed appropriately and will help fill a housing void in Ceres.
The project will be offered at market rates, not Section 8.
Senior Planner James Michaels said that Toor is proposing a lower density than the 36 units that he could be allowed to build.
Renee Ledbetter of EXIT Realty Consultants voiced her support of the project.
“We definitely need a lot of introductory housing for people who are just moving out, young people,” said Ledbetter. “We need apartment housing for people who are downsizing and I don’t think that Ceres has built a new apartment complex in possibly over a decade and so we definitely need this type of housing in our community, especially with all of the potential business that is coming.”
She suggested the land would generate more traffic if developed as commercial as opposed to multiple-family housing.
John Warren said it was a good project but suggested that the access road isn’t wide enough to allow a passenger and delivery vehicles to make a U-turn to exit the way they came in. He also expressed concern about the lack of visitor parking, saying “Grandma’s going to come to visit …and she shouldn’t have to park in the Richland Shopping Center and walk that great distance to the apartment complex.”
The property was marketed for commercial development but there was no interest due to it being setback so far from Whitmore Avenue. Michaels said commercial use would produce more traffic than residential uses.
Toor said to maximize parking, reorienting the buildings would not be prudent.
Silveira said there are no issues with fire truck access and said the project will have adequate parking stalls.
“This is an easy one for me and I support this project wholeheartedly,” said Silveira.