The Turlock City Council decided they needed to invest $35 million in a new Public Safety Facility that would be the new Turlock Police Station while housing Turlock Police and Fire administration.
The Turlock Planning Commission granted the Conditional Use Permit on Thursday night at the Turlock Planning Commission Meeting. This will allow construction to begin on the City of Turlock’s Public Safety Facility to be located at North Broadway Avenue and West Olive Avenue, right next to the Carnegie Arts Center.
The plans for the 57,570 square foot, two story building has always taken into consideration the 1920s styled architecture of the soon-to-be renovated historic Carnegie Arts Center. The new building has a cohesive design related to the Carnegie and its planned renovation. There will be 250 parking spaces that may be used by daytime customers visiting the Public Safety Facility or may be used by Carnegie Arts Center event attendees.
The neighborhood as also been taken into consideration. The City of Turlock and architect Larry Wolff, Rancho Cucamonga based WLC Architects, decided to make the new facility two stories instead of three as to “fit” into the neighborhood better.
The longest single issue discussion was concerning a 180 foot tall communications tower. There is really no debate whether Turlock needs one, where it can go, or how tall it can be. This is a mandatory item needed for the community’s safety and Homeland Security stipulations apply.
The project did again consider the neighborhood and entire city that may see the tower. The tower is believed to be the tallest structure in the city limits; The current Police Station tower is 150 feet tall. The design calls for a trust structure with a 15×15 foot base rather than a monopole style. The structure will cover most of the actual antenna pole and possibly even the 6 foot microwave dishes that will be attached near the top. Detailed conversations will continue to take place and may include paint colors, adding a very light glowing feature to the tower, and more.
The Planning Commission stated that they wanted to stay on top of the tower’s final design and construction as it progresses.
After a neighborhood resident asked a couple questions concerning the parking and architect Larry Wolff addressed them, Police Chief and newly appointed Interim City Manager Gary Hampton spoke.
Hampton stated that they City of Turlock would be good neighbors. Though addressing a planned Education and Training Center for public gatherings, Hampton went on to say that if anyone has any problems they could contact him personally or the City Council and that they would take care of it.
Both the resident and the Chief of Police welcomed each other as construction will begin after the CUP is approved.
Though it is believed not to be the Turlock Planning Commissions business, the issue of eminent domain surfaced.
The Pizza Hut on West Olive is one of four businesses that will need to be demolished according to the Public Safety Facility plans. Kyle LaLond spoke as Pizza Hut’s attorney requesting the CUP be denied.
City Attorney Phaedra Norton addressed the issue without saying too much because the City of Turlock is negotiating with owners of four residences and four businesses that the city will need to construct over.
Norton said that voluntary negotiations are taking place in attempt to purchase property at fair market value. If these negotiations are not successful, the city may use eminent domain.
The City Attorney went on to say that Turlock needs this Public Safety Facility and she doesn’t see any better reason to request or “force” a sale of property (use eminent domain). Although Norton said the city has the right to take property, they’d prefer not to.
The Turlock Planning Commission unanimously voted to grant a Conditional Use Permit for the new Public Safety Facility planned to be completed by 2011.
An appeal may be made to the Turlock City Council within 30 days. A form must be filled out and there is a $125 filing fee.