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After a suggestion from San Benito County Supervisor Anthony Botelho, the developer of a planned 55-and-over community near the San Juan Oaks golf course has pledged $25,000 for a welcome sign near the city of San Juan Bautista.

John Johnson of Pulte Homes, which owns the Del Webb brand, spoke to the San Juan City Council on July 21 about the benefits of the planned community, which has been in the planning process for two years and expects its environmental impact report and development agreement to come before county supervisors for approval in the fall. While touting the scope of the project, Johnson told the council Del Webb would offer money for a sign because “the more (drivers) can see who you are and what you are is a help.” He noted the developer of the approximately 1,000-home adult community “would like to use (San Juan) as a draw for our community (off Union Road near Highway 156) because of the charm and quaintness that it has.”

Botelho, who let the council know that the Board of Supervisors earlier in the day approved the long-awaited update to the county’s General Plan, said he is “really excited” about the Del Webb development at San Juan Oaks, which is in his district. He noted how impact fees from the project would impact San Juan School and Anzar High School “without the impact on the classroom” because the 55-and-over development is for adults only. “There’s the potential for economic growth for our downtown (in San Juan), where folks living in that community will hopefully shop and eat here.”

Signage welcoming visitors to San Juan is “very, very key,” Botelho said, particularly when it’s “something appropriate that draws your interest to the community.” He then introduced Johnson, who noted that in addition to the Del Webb adult community, there will be 67 market-rate homes without age restrictions, some commercial development, an assisted living center and a resort “once there’s enough momentum” with the build-out of the community.

The Del Webb development requires that at least one member of the household be 55 or older. Johnson said the average age in similar Del Webb developments is 62 and that buyers are “lifestyle purchasers” who enjoy an active lifestyle through tennis, swimming and walking. He noted that plans for the development call for more than five miles of walking trails and its residents will be “very active” in the San Juan community, patronizing banking, financial and medical services, as well as coffee shops and stores.

Johnson told the council “we’d like to ask you for your support” while noting that when the project is built out — approximately four years after construction starts — the development will contribute $2,840,000 in fees per year to San Juan School and Anzar High School, $160,000 to San Benito County schools and $400,000 to Gavilan College. He said more than 600 jobs will be created during construction and a “minimum of 322 jobs” will be created by the community on build-out.

He said that financially, “there is no downside” to the development, though “there will be more people — that’s just a fact,” and “when there’s more people, there’s change.”

Johnson said that in addition to building a park that will feature history boards with information about the San Juan Valley’s agricultural heritage, the development recently put an agricultural easement on 151 acres near Anzar High and 41 acres around San Juan Oaks will permanently remain ag land. There will be 1,200 acres of open space at the development, he said, adding that there will be no construction on hills surrounding the course and no row crops will be taken out of production.

The development will have an estimated population of approximately 2,000, with an average of 1.67 people per house in the community. That compares to an average of 3.5 people “in a regular, market-sized house,” Johnson said. “These people are not in the commute,” he continued. “We use less sewer, less water, less everything.”

For more information about Del Webb’s proposed development at San Juan Oaks, click here.