The San Benito County Planning Commission voted 4-1 on Sept. 16 to accept planning staff’s recommendation to approve the proposed San Juan Oaks/Del Webb residential/commercial development project, which now will come before the Board of Supervisors for further consideration and potential approval. Commissioner Pat Loe cast the dissenting vote against the project.
The public meeting featured a presentation by county staff defining the specific plan and site plan details and a presentation by Del Webb representative John Johnson. After a break, the public was invited to speak. Community members who spoke unanimously supported the age-restricted – 55 "and better" – development which is slated to include: 1,084 homes, a Neighborhood Commercial Center up to 65,000 square feet, a resort hotel with up to 200 rooms, 6.6 acres of neighborhood parks, a sprawling 16.8-acre community park open to the public, 144 acres of open space common area, an agricultural preserve of 41.4 acres to maintain an existing olive tree grove and a 1,243-acre permanent wildlife habitat.
Del Webb’s proposal includes building 1,017 one-story homes in four phases over five years. If the Board of Supervisors approves it, development would start in 2016 including site development and infrastructure construction. The project will include 67 market rate homes built on premium view sites adjacent to San Juan Oaks golf course for families of all ages.
Other amenities built in later stages of the development include the neighborhood commercial center, a proposed assisted living center, the resort hotel, and a two acres site reserved for the county to build a fire station site for 15 years. If the county does not develop the fire station, the property would remain a San Juan Oaks property.
Del Webb defined the typical profile of an active adult community home buyer as a “lifestyle” purchaser looking for socialization and active recreation seeking a community with rural trails and modern exercise facilities for walking, playing bocce ball, tennis, swimming and jogging, biking and, of course playing golf. Such buyers want to be within hour hour of a major airport, reasonable distances to medical services and a college. Such community members also want to live in a safe, low crime rate environment.
Developers say the proposed project will follow all state guidance and regulations with respect to water conservation, including certain native and drought-tolerant plants and high-efficiency plumbing fixtures. Del Webb will partner with the Golden State Water Company, an investor-owned water utility company in California, to provide all water and wastewater service and will connect to the City of Hollister wastewater treatment plant facility. The developer said studies conducted by Tully & Young and Todd Groundwater demonstrate that adequate local groundwater supplies exist to serve the proposed project’s potable and non-potable water and wastewater demands.
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider and deliberate the fate of the proposed residential/commercial development during its November public meeting.