Modesto homes plan up for review

kvaline@modbee.comMay 4, 2013 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate text Kevin Valine
    Title: Reporter
    Coverage areas: City of Modesto and nonprofits
    Bio: Kevin Valine has been a copy editor and reporter at The Bee since January 2006. He's worked at the Reno Gazette-Journal, Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune and Paradise Post as a reporter and copy editor. He's a graduate of San Jose State.
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— A home builder soon will discuss its plans for 353 houses and 180 units of multifamily housing, such as apartments and condos, on 72 acres in northwest Modesto. The city hasn't seen this kind of large development in at least five years, since the real estate bubble burst.

Fitzpatrick Homes officials will be at Monday's Planning Commission meeting for a study session on their Woodglen development.

Fitzpatrick Homes President Dennis Fitzpatrick said the first phase of home building could start in 2014 and the project could take a several years to complete.

New home sales and construction have nearly died in Modesto since 2008. The city issued eight permits for building single-family homes in 2012, the fewest in more than 50 years. Modesto issued 1,787 single-family permits in 2000.

Fitzpatrick said Woodglen will be a success.

"We're totally confident in it," he said. "It's a great project, a great area. There is a need for housing in Modesto. We've gone through five years of recession when very few homes were built. There really is a need for new homes in the Modesto area."

Modesto Planning Manager Patrick Kelly said new housing construction may be showing signs of life. The city has received several inquiries from developers in the past few months. It's been years since the city has received this much interest, Kelly said.

Woodglen would be bounded by Pelandale Avenue, Tully Road, Bangs Avenue and Carver Road. It would feature nine acres of open space in the center of the development. The 353 single-family homes would range from 1,700 to 3,500 square feet and be built on 55 acres. The 180 units of multifamily housing would be built on eight acres along Tully Road.

Fitzpatrick Homes is determining the mix of apartments, condos and town houses that would be built.

Fitzpatrick said his company also is determining the selling price for the homes. They will be comparable to other homes built in northwest Modesto in the 2000s, he said.

He expects the buyers will be local residents, such as homeowners who want to move up to a better home, renters and first-time homeowners.

Monday's meeting will be an informational session for planning commissioners and the public. The commission will take no action on the project.

The Planning Commission has scheduled a June 17 public hearing for the project. The City Council could take up the project in July. Council members will need to determine that the development is consistent with the city's general plan — its blueprint for growth and development — and that the city should annex the 72 acres.

If the city approves Wood-glen, Fitzpatrick said, the project could go before the Local Agency Formation Commission in fall. LAFCo approves annexation requests.

Fitzpatrick Homes has been working on Woodglen for about a decade. The home builder put the project on hold in 2007 because of the recession and housing crash. Fitzpatrick Homes restarted the project with the city in 2010.

Woodglen is just north of a residential growth limit line proposed by former Modesto Councilman Denny Jackman. Under the proposal, voters would have to approve housing developments beyond the limit line.

But the City Council has referred Jackman's proposal for review. Jackman has asked the council to place his proposal on the November ballot, but it does not appear that will happen.

Fitzgerald said Woodglen complies with the city's current general plan. And in 2002 city voters approved bringing sewers to the development. The Measure M advisory votes are critical for developments that need to be annexed into the city.

The Planning Commission study session is 6 p.m. Monday in the basement chamber, Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or (209) 578-2316.

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