Home construction resuming in Riverbank

After a long dry spell, homebuilding could return soon if city leaders on Tuesday approve a plan for 96 houses north of Riverbank High School.

Tuesday’s crowded City Council agenda also features a discussion on moving from at-large to district elections; resolving problems of the River Cove neighborhood being overrun by people heading to the Stanislaus River; and restricting tobacco lounges.

Previous council members in 2006 approved Lafferty Homes’ proposal for 201 new homes on pastureland south of Santa Fe Street between Central Avenue and Snedigar Road, but the recession ended home construction throughout the region. Developer Cary Pope seeks new approval for a lower-density, 96-home subdivision called Diamond Bar Estates East, southwest of Santa Fe and Snedigar. He is expected later to request a 58-home project a bit to the west.

The council will review comments gathered from people who attended a recent State of the City address and a public workshop where options were unveiled for splitting Riverbank into four voting districts. The council eventually will narrow choices and put the matter before voters this fall or in November 2016.

Summer trespassing, littering and vandalism problems in the River Cove neighborhood might be eased if City Hall increases private security patrols and garbage removal, a report says. More drastic options include fencing off river access, posting “No trespassing” or “Parking by permit only” signs, and painting curbs red, the report says.

An October moratorium on applications for e-cigarette, hookah and vapor bars would be lifted if leaders agree with new rules restricting such businesses to commercial zones.

Tuesday’s City Council meeting starts at 6 p.m. at 6707 Third St., Riverbank. For more information, go to www.riverbank.org/citycouncil.

Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at gstapley@modbee.com or (209) 578-2390.