Despite concerns about traffic congestion, the Ceres Planning Commission voted 3-1 Monday evening to approve a 28-unit apartment complex for a 1.2-acre site at 2125 Moffet Road just north of the Richland Shopping Center.
The commission was asked to consider 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 commission 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.
Interjit S. Toor Construction, Inc. is the applicant. Harinder Toor, owner of the company and Ceres resident, said he feels his project is a great one which will help fill a housing void in Ceres. Toor stated that 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.
Dave Eubelt said he had multiple concerns, including traffic already being impacted by nearby Carroll Fowler Elementary and Mae Hensley Junior High schools. He also cited the parking shortage at the present neighboring complex with its 100 parking spaces for 50 apartment units which causes people to park on Moffet Road. Eubelt also expressed fears of increased crime and impacts on the water system.
John Warren expressed concerns about the ability of ambulances and fire trucks being able to navigate the access roads. It was later explained that fire trucks could roll onto the property and be able to exit out an exclusive gate so there would be no need to turn around.
Allen Tucker suggested a mixed use with commercial spaces on the ground floor and apartments on the second floor to cut down on traffic. City Manager Tom Westbrook said that the property was marketed for commercial development but there was no interest due to it being setback so far from Whitmore Avenue. He said commercial use would produce more traffic than residential uses.
Melissa Molina said she lives on the street and is concerned about the impacts of water runoff into the streets which floods in wet months.
Toor said to maximize parking, reorienting the buildings would not be prudent.
Westbrook spent time addressing the citizens’ concerns.
Commission Chairwoman Laurie Smith acknowledged that traffic are among the issues that cannot “be addressed to the satisfaction of everyone” but said “housing is an important thing.”
“Everybody knows we have a housing shortage and this will provide 28 new units in an area that desperately needs it and I’m in favor of this project,” added Smith.
Commissioner Bob Kachel said the parking requirements are the same as a single-family home and visitors often have to find street parking. “Is it a good situation?” asked Kachel. “Is it ideal? No but that’s the way we all live in our residential communities up and down California and elsewhere.”
He said traffic is already congested on Moffet and he wasn’t “100 percent sure” that it’s a good idea to put in more apartments but noted commercial uses would generate more traffic than residential.
“You kind of have to balance these things out in making a decision,” noted Kachel.
Commissioner Gary Del Nero said it was a tough call and agrees the complex will add to traffic woes.
Commissioner Dave Johnson, the only member who voted against the project, said it was a “pretty congested little property.”
The project was approved with Smith, Kachel and Del Nero approving.