Riverbank is taking a big step forward in an ambitious plan to extend the city’s limits and build a companion development across from the busy Crossroads shopping center.
On Wednesday, the city will hold a special Planning Commission hearing to allow the public to voice their opinions on the proposed annexation of 380 acres directly to the west of the existing center along Oakdale Road. The proposed area extends north from Claribel Road up to the current city boundary just south of Patterson Road.
The project, called Crossroads West, would include a mix of retail, housing, schools and community parks. If approved, Planning and Building Manager Donna M. Kenney said, work could begin before the end of the year on the commercial part of the project in line for a possible 2020 opening.
Kenney said the developers have already started talks with the nine families and groups who own the properties in the annexation area, which is now primarily farmland. She did not foresee the developers having any problems acquiring the land.
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The annexation area encompasses Dutch Hollow Farms, at the corner of Claribel and Oakdale roads, as well as a large dairy farm off of Crawford Road. Both would have to be closed or moved to accommodate the planned developments.
Dutch Hollow Farms owner John Bos leases the land and said he is already looking at alternate sites for his business to continue. The farm sells tulips and other flowers and hosts a popular pumpkin patch in the fall. While Bos does not plan to attend the hearing, he hopes the city will take the increased traffic and congestion into consideration.
“I am not against progress,” said Bos, who has run Dutch Hollow Farms on the site since 2006. “They’re going to gobble up some more farm ground, which is almost unstoppable at this point. But one of the biggest things that concerns me is the traffic issues. They cannot build this thing without making measures for all the traffic.”
The majority of the Crossroads West development would be comprised of 1,872 new low-density housing units (traditional single-family housing developments), plus plus another 192 medium-density housing units (duplexes and triplexes) and 388 high-density units (apartments).
The project’s first phase would be to build the biggest proposed mixed-use commercial development, in the area largely occupied by Dutch Hollow Farms. The space could have up to 555,000 square feet of retail space on the high-profile corner.
The commercial developer for the project is Western Pacific Holdings, the same company behind the Crossroads shopping center. While no retailers have been confirmed or contracted for the development, Bos said, Costco has been bandied about as one of the businesses being targeted for the site. The region has three Costco stores currently, one in Modesto on Pelandale Avenue, one in Turlock on Tegner Road and one in Manteca on Daniels Street.
The project would also create more public parkland, including plans to double the size of the existing 11-acre Riverbank Sports Complex to about 22 acres. The annexation area also includes land to construct a new elementary and middle school as well as a new Riverbank fire station.
The meeting Wednesday is to allow the public to voice their concerns or support for the project. After the hearing, the Planning Commission could vote on a series of recommendations, which would then go to the Riverbank City Council for approval.
Kenney said she expects the council to take up the issue in about three to four weeks, first to introduce the plan and then a second reading about two weeks later where it could receive final approval. The public will have opportunities at both meetings to address the planned development.
After that, the annexation plan would go to the Stanislaus Local Agency Formation Commission, which approves boundary changes for cities. Kenney said they would expect approval from the annexation commission to come sometime this summer.
The Planning Commission special public hearing will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Riverbank City Council Chambers, 6707 Third Street.