MODESTO -- A northeast Modesto shopping center proposal that has rankled nearby homeowners is set for a public hearing Tuesday before the City Council.
Berberian Holdings is asking approval for The Marketplace center at the southwest corner of Sylvan Avenue and Oakdale Road, which would feature a 53,000-square-foot grocery store, a potential drugstore, shops and restaurants.
Neighbors who own custom homes just to the west have hired an attorney, who is asking city officials to continue the hearing for two weeks, so he can prepare.
Brent Sinclair, director of economic and community development, said the council will decide whether to continue the hearing or make a decision Tuesday.
Residents of the Naraghi Lakes subdivision opposed the rezone at Planning Commission hearings in August and September. The commission told the developers to redesign the 18-acre project, with no vehicle access on Hashem Drive, and then approved the redesign Sept. 17, sending the project to the council.
Nearby residents have asked city officials to deny the rezone or require the developers to downsize or rework the plan so it doesn't clash with the neighborhood. The current zoning would allow a small commercial area and condominiums.
Essentially, the fight is over an eight-acre piece adjacent to Naraghi Lakes that was added to a 10-acre parcel at Sylvan and Oakdale, which expanded the shopping center site. Staying with a 10-acre project would put a buffer between the retail center and the custom homes, residents said.
Paula Morris of Naraghi Lakes noted that the supermarket and drugstore are plotted directly across from homes on the corner of Canyon Lake Drive, Hashem and Pleasant Bay Circle, instead of being placed closer to Oakdale Road away from the homes.
She said delivery trucks will run just inside the wall planned along Hashem Drive, creating a noise nuisance for neighbors.
"As far as quality of life, it's going to have a huge impact and (it will affect) the resale value of our homes," said Brad Pitts, a nearby homeowner. "Who is going to want to live with a giant store staring down on your residence?"
Councilman Dave Cogdill Jr., Mayor Garrad Marsh and Berberian project engineer Dave Romano did not return calls seeking comment on the land-use dispute.
City planners have praised the developers for the project's design guidelines, which call for commercial buildings with pitched roofs, decorative awnings, stained-wood accents and trellises with climbing vines.
In the 1980s, the City Council twice rezoned the site for smaller shopping centers that never were built. Save Mart has expressed serious interest in anchoring The Marketplace center and presumably would vacate its store on Oakdale Road at Floyd Avenue.
The City Council will deal with a full agenda at its meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, in the basement chamber of Tenth Street Place, at 1010 10th St.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2321.
MODESTO COUNCIL WATCH
The Modesto City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the basement chamber of Tenth Street Place, at 1010 10th St. The following items will be considered:
Revising the plans for the second and third phases of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to allow for 29 units of senior and special-needs housing. The demise of redevelopment agencies removed funding from the Downey Avenue and Bennett Place housing projects, but staff want to use unspent NSP funding to push them forward.
Continued discussion of possibly using taxpayer funds for the Modesto arch restoration until fund raising is completed for the $120,000 project. (Note: Item pulled from meeting on Monday, Oct. 22.)
Approving a labor agreement with the Modesto City Employees Association, requiring workers to pick up their share of payments for retirement benefits. The contract with public works, parks and other employees includes a 1.5 percent wage increase and mandatory furloughs.