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East Ceres annexation eyed
Developer signals interest in 100-acre development
Whitmore Ranch Annexation area is being proposed by the Alvernaz family to bring 100 acres east of Moore Road and south of Whitmore Avenue (shaded in pink) into the Ceres city limits.

A father-son team of developers has started the process to move forward with the annexation of 100 acres in east Ceres south of Whitmore Avenue for the development of housing.

The city requires that development be master planned rather than piecemealed so the project proposed will be examined to determine the best design. The city is presently seeking Requests For Proposals (RFPs) from firms to do the environmental and complete the Specific Plan and Annexation.

The Whitmore Ranch Annexation is proposed by the Alvernaz family east of Moore Road and north of Roeding Road. The project goes as far east as the eastern boundary of La Rosa Elementary School.

"The master plan won't be as big or as intensive as the West Landing Specific Plan was - because that was 1,000 acres and this is only 100," said Director of Community Development Tom Westbrook, "but it follows along the same steps in terms of the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report, the preparation of a Specific Plan, which will show where the roads are going to be, any parks, residential, etcetera, and so it's going to go through a similar process as West Landing but albeit a much smaller scale."

Firms have until Feb. 20 to submit RFPs. Westbrook expects the process of reaching annexation will take anywhere from a year to a year and a half.

The slow economic recovery is resulting in renewed interest to build new houses in Ceres.

"We've seen some things pick up but those are only on those lots that were created eight or nine years ago. Not a lot of folks looking to start from scratch and get those projects up and running."

West Landing was annexed to the city on Ceres' west side but no activity has occurred to develop it. Westbrook said because of the costs of installing the infrastructure upfront, he believes the developer is waiting for better times "before they start putting those dollars in the ground and trying to get houses sold."