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New Mitchell Road shopping center OK’d
• SamBella Plaza subdivision approved for Sam Khacho
This conceptual site plan, which was approved on Monday by the Ceres Planning Commission, shows how commercial developments will go on both sides of Rhode Road as it connects to Mitchell Road. This map is oriented with the top being to the west.

The subdividing of commercial property for Mitchell Road near Highway 99 sailed through the Ceres Planning Commission on Monday, laying the groundwork for actions leading to a new shopping center.

Members approved a Vesting Tentative Parcel Map (VTPM) so that businessman Sam Khacho may subdivide 11.9 acres into six separate commercially zoned parcels and a storm drainage basin parcel at the southeast corner of Mitchell and Rhode Road.

The site is located between Mitchell Road and the TID Ceres Main Canal, north and south of Rohde Road, and is approximately 400 feet south of the Mitchell Road/Service Road intersection.

In April 2015 Khacho began speaking to the city about constructing a commercial center consisting of six commercial buildings (involving a combination of retail, restaurant, and hotel uses) on six separate parcels. Khacho sat on his plans until now but has been marketing and obtaining commercial users for the center.

“Although the applicant does not yet have specific commercial users, a conceptual site plan has been developed for marketing the sites, and the site plan indicates a mix of uses that can complement each other for a well-planned commercial center,” noted a staff report to the commission.

Under the new configuration, the parcels would range in size from 0.7 acres to 2.3 acres.

“It will provide future economic opportunities that may not otherwise exist if the property remains vacant,” said Senior Planner James Michaels.

While Khacho’s center would generate more traffic, those impacts were studied under the previously approved Ceres Gateway Center and the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center projects. City staff also noted that the improvements to Rohde Road and the Mitchell Road/Rohde Road intersection will be sufficient to accommodate the future project traffic.

Commission Chairwoman Laurie Smith asked about a storm drainage basin lot which is on the southern city limits. Specifically she wanted to know about its aesthetics and was told a block wall will be surrounding it “making it more aesthetically pleasing,” said City Engineer Daniel Padilla. “With the block wall it wouldn’t look as bad – it might actually be nice,” he added.

When SamBella Plaza proceeds, it will be the third such commercial project in the area of Mitchell and Highway 99. The Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center project is under construction at the northwest corner of Mitchell and Service roads. The 13.75-acre Ceres Southern Gateway was approved last year for the triangle piece bounded by the freeway, and Mitchell and Service roads. In-N-Out Burger, Chipotle, Panda Express and Circle K are among the businesses interested in the Ceres Gateway Center commercial project. Plans call for the construction of nine commercial buildings totaling 53,863 square feet, a convenience store with a gas station and carwash and an 85-foot tall freestanding pylon sign.