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TID plans for downtown office OK'd
Turlock Irrigation District received permission last week to build a 3,375 square foot building on Third Street.

TID went to the Ceres Planning Commission and won approval July 21 for an architectural and site plan.

The building site is across the street from Whitmore Park that once housed the Chew-N-Chat restaurant and most recently Silva's Family Restaurant.

TID currently operates a pay station office within the Richland Shopping Center and will switch to the new office once constructed and open.

The city planning staff encouraged TID to bring the proposed building closer to the sidewalk in keeping with the historical tradition to place buildings right next to the sidewalk. The proposed setback of nine feet behind the sidewalk was against the historical trend in downtown and staff members recommended placing the building at the property line. But in order to do that, the city would have to intiate a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendmen since the code calls for a minimum five-foot front yard setback. Ultimately TID decided against the city suggestion.

The city also hoped to get TID to build a two-story building since the general plan calls for the use of two-story buildings as a means of defining the downtown core. TID responded in February that a two-story building would not work in their scheme of serving the public.

The two-story concept was endorsed by DC&E, the consultant producing the downtown master plan, which praised the TID design but also noted that two stories would be a better fit as downtown intensifies its uses in the near future. The consultant commented specifically: "In comparison to one-story buildings, two-story buildings are much better at providing an intimate, pedestrian-oriented character to downtown streets."

"The commission said with the architectural elements and height of the building that it gives that appearance of two story," said planner James Michaels.

However, the city had great praise of the architecture of the proposed building. The city's staff report noted that: "The architecture of the building demonstrates general consistency with the city's vision of redevelopment for the downtown area. The unique design, articulation and historic-like theme of the new building, coupled with the plaza/streetscape features and paving improvements, will set precedence in regard to architectural hardscape and landscape features for the downtown core while enhancing the area's overall aesthetics and community feel."

The commission approved a specific color scheme for the building as cargo, Oxford Brown and Spanish Sand. The exterior will consist of cement plaster finish, brick veneer and decorative metal canopy overhands for certain windows.

The commission voted 5-0 to approve the project.