The developer of Diablo Grande has approval for what it calls a new “right-sized” plan for the golf resort in western Stanislaus County.
The revised plan, approved by county supervisors Tuesday, allows for 1,000 additional single-family homes by reducing the number of condos and townhouses and eliminating apartments.
Instead of building homes spread along the hillsides, residential areas will be grouped together, leaving more open terrain and walking trails.
A commercial area with convention facilities and big box stores on the original blueprint has been down-scaled to a center with a boutique-style inn, general store and retail shops.
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While the Legends golf course was closed in 2014, more improvements were made to make the Ranch Golf Course a better experience, representatives said.
Modesto engineer Dave Romano, representing the developer, said the change in the plan was spurred by the economic recovery. The developer, World International, has not determined when construction will get under way on the new plan for Diablo Grande.
In the mean time, crews are working on a major renovation of the Diablo Grande clubhouse and building a convenience market at that location. Home builder D.R. Horton is building and selling homes, completing the first 500 houses that were permitted at the resort.
Diablo Grande never took shape as originally envisioned after the county approved the 29,500-acre development 10 miles southwest of Patterson in 1993. A series of lawsuits stalled the project and only the 2,300-acre first phase was authorized for development.
People who bought the first few hundred homes enjoy the natural setting but also have complaints about drinking-water quality, closure of the Legends course and fire protection.
Diane Gaynor, community liaison for World International, said meetings were held with residents to come up with a plan that they desired.
With the revised plan, the number of single-family homes at Diablo Grande increases from 1,111 to 2,174. It now includes 180 condos or townhouses.
Some residents have raised issues with the increase in total housing units from 2,038 to 2,354. In a letter last month to the county, Julie Davis asked if the additional housing will take water needed to maintain the Ranch course.
Davis also asked when the community will have a permanent fire station.
According to a county report, about 3,000 acre feet of water per year is needed to serve the amended plan. The Western Hills Water District can draw on 8,000 acre feet a year through a water transfer deal.
The West Stanislaus Fire Protection District will make the call on building a permanent station at Diablo Grande.
Fred and Sherry Fowler expressed concern the additional homes won’t improve the water situation that resulted in closure of the Legends course. The couple also is contesting a proposed $20-a-month increase in residential sewer rates.
The Fowlers said the Western Hills Water District could make more effort to build trust with homeowners. “The quality of water is not there and the sewer service is a problem,” Fred Fowler said.
Gaynor said she believes the new plan for Diablo Grande is supported by most residents. World International will need to build infrastructure and grade building pads before a builder starts to work on new homes.
“We don’t have a timeline,” Gaynor said. “We feel the plan created in partnership with the residents of Diablo Grande is more of a reflection of the character of the community.”
Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321, @KenCarlson16