Government / Politics

Council passes resolutions to annex properties that could result in hundreds of new homes

Latest annexation could result in up to 480 homes on the west side of Hollister

In a unanimous vote of the three Hollister City Council members present (Mayor Ignacio Velazquez was absent and Roy Sims had recently resigned) at the March 20 meeting, three related resolutions were passed that approved annexation agreements between two developers—Frank P. Borelli, Jr., and Fernando Gonzalez—and the city. The vote authorized the mayor to execute the third resolution on behalf of the city requesting Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) to initiate proceedings to annex the territory into the city. All told, nearly 40 acres of land could bring between 300 and 500 new homes to the area on the city's west side.

Abraham Prado, Hollister planning manager, said the two resolutions involved approximately 37.8 acres located north of Buena Vista Road and west of Miller Road, just west of Calaveras Elementary School. He said that on March 7, 2016, the council approved a resolution that pre-zoned the parcels for medium-density residential homes, which allows eight to 12 structures per acre into Hollister as a prerequisite for annexation. The applicants had already signed the annexation agreement.

Then Prado commented that the third resolution would initiate proceedings with LAFCO to annex the parcels. Upon approval of the three resolutions, city staff would forward the applications to the commission for review.  

Councilman Raymond Friend wanted to be clear about how many homes would be built on the two parcels. Prado estimated it would be between 120 and 160. Councilman Karson Klauer’s math was different when he said it would be more like 300 units. Bill Avera, city manager, tossed out, “If you just do 40 acres times eight, that’s 320 (if it's 12 structures per acre, however, would total 480 units).”

Councilwoman Mickie Luna commented, “I’m always thinking about parks and recreation in the area for residents. It does include a park, right?”

“In this case, it’s (resolutions) just for the pre-zone, however, our zoning code does require that for each unit being proposed there will be at least 500 square feet for open space," Prado said. "So, if there are 300 units, once the application does come in with LAFCO’s approval, then in that case it will be 500 square feet for each for open space in the area (150,000 square feet).”

The city’s parks master plan is still being worked on and could possibly include a park in the area of the two parcels, Prado said, noting that once the documents are submitted to LAFCO, it typically takes approximately two months to process them.

“They also require public hearings for the annexation of territories,” he said. “And from there, it goes to the Board of Equalization for final approval to transfer the properties from the county to the city.”

Doug Ledeboer, whose request for pre-annexation of another property that he said would bring more affordable housing into the city was denied last December, commented that he represented both applicants involved in the pre-zoning under discussion.

“The city previously approved the pre-zoning approximately a year ago and this is just a continuation of that process,” he said. “To Mrs. Luna’s comment, should we get through this process and eventually come forward with plans, we fully intend on meeting with representatives of the city and the community for any input on our plans.”

John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]