The Turlock Planning Commission unanimously approved to recommend the Turlock City Council rezone a parcel of land intended for a bowling alley to now make way for a four-story student housing complex.
The land, located along Monte Vista Avenue and Crowell Road, across from the California State University, Stanislaus, was rezoned from High Density Residential to Community Commercial in 2010, in order to allow development of the Ten Pin Fun Center, which never got off the ground.
After approximately four years, investors announced that the bowling alley would not be developed. A Prime Shine Car Wash was built on the land, after modification of the rezone in 2013, the only commercial property to come out of the 2010 rezone.
Now, if approved by City Council, the land would be rezoned backed to High Density Residential to allow for construction of a four-story student housing.
Before the land was rezoned to Community Commercial, there had been several different housing projects proposed for the area, each of which never saw the light of day.
Among those projects was a multi-story student housing complex approved by the Planning Commission in 2009. According to Deputy Director of Development Services Debbie Whitmore, the project was three-stories and approximately 42 feet in height, similar to the one approved Thursday evening.
That project was ultimately never finalized as the developer backed out before the Turlock City Council had a chance to vote on the item.
Applicant David Moon, president of Coleraine Capital Group, Inc., is partnering with AMCAL equities to ensure this project is completed.
“In terms of our motivation and our commitment to this project, we’re 100 percent committed and we’d like to get this product to market in 2017,” said Moon.
The project will feature three, four-story buildings standing approximately 50 feet in height, a 6,460 square-foot club house, and outdoor recreation facilities. The complex will feature 180 units with 600 beds and 618 parking spaces. Students will be able to rent the individual rooms in a dorm-like setting.
While taller than similar structures that have been built in Turlock, such as the Balboa Park condominium complex, City staff preferred the four-story structure because it would place facilities further from the nearby neighborhoods and allow for each student living in the complex to have a parking space.
Local property owners disagreed with the decision, however, arguing that the tall structure would invade the privacy of nearby homeowners.
“First of all, four stories? The hospital isn’t even four stories high in Turlock and to have this in your backyard?” said Nanette Snoke, who lives directly behind the proposed development. “I’ve been around looking at three-story buildings and apartments and not one of them face or back a community or single-house dwelling."
The buildings will not feature any balconies, which would increase the privacy nearby homeowners would have.
“These buildings do not have any balconies,” said Whitmore. “So you won’t have the students basically out sitting on balconies, peering over into the residents’ backyard."
Another large concern for nearby property owners was the issue of parking, which has long been an issue for the communities around CSU Stanislaus.
According to Moon, complexes built in the past have required an additional fee to park, which is intended to encourage use of bicycles or the shuttle provided by the complex.
Neighbors were concerned that students would simply park on the residential streets, rather than paying the additional fee.
“If they start charging for parking, those kids are going to start parking off street and just adding to the congestion,” said Dave Halsey, who lives on the nearby Seaborg Street, which he says gets flooded with students parking when school is in session.
The Planning Commission ultimately decided to approve the project with the stipulation that parking not be an additional cost.
The project, as approved by the Commission, also designated the times that the facilities can operate, as to not disturb the neighboring homes.
The outdoor basketball and volleyball would be subject to closure no later than 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The outdoor will be allowed to be open later, as it is much further from the nearby homes.
Two 7 foot tall masonry walls will also be built to keep ensure additional privacy for nearby houses and businesses.
The project now requires a vote from the Turlock City Council on Sept. 8, as the rezone requires an amendment to the City’s General Plan.
Mockup of the proposed four-story student housing complex.
Courtesy of the City of Turlock