Development agreement with Hollister gives Award Homes five years to build 677 homes, 100 apartments

The amendment increased the number of affordable apartments from 50 to 100 and reduced the number of small lot/single-family detached homes to be sold at market-rate from 50 to 33.

Despite continuing reservations of the Hollister City Council and the steadfast opposition of Mayor Ignacio Velazquez and Vice Mayor Rolan Resendiz, the four-member council approved an ordinance on May 17 to amend the development agreement between the city and Award Homes’ West of Fairview project. The ordinance extends the agreement to May 1, 2027, and revises the project’s affordable housing component.

After 21 years of back-and-forth negotiations and multiple lawsuits, Award Homes and the city juggled the numbers of market-rate versus affordable homes and apartments, and even though Velazquez said he has never cared for the project, all four council members voted in just under three minutes and without further comment to pass the ordinance.

The development’s final map came up for a vote at the council’s Dec. 2 meeting, but the council chose not to vote at all. By not voting, California law allowed the development to move forward as long as the final map conformed to all requirements and rulings.

On March 1, the council tabled the first reading and introduction of a second amendment to the ordinance. It was brought back on April 19, when the council approved the first reading of the ordinance with changes that it negotiated with Award Homes. 

These changes include reducing by half the number of years Award Homes asked to extend the building period, and a realignment of market-rate versus affordable apartments and small lot single-family detached homes.

Award Homes had first asked for a 10-year extension to complete the project, from 2022 to 2032, and under the amendment agreed to five years instead after the city lifted restrictions on the number of building permits Award Homes could receive annually.

The amendment also increased the number of affordable apartments from 50 to 100 and reduced the number of affordable small lot/single-family detached homes from 50 to 33. This wrangling of numbers was out of concern for future affordable home sales potential that requires them to be sold within 180 days or to be offered at market-rate pricing, which, because of their smaller size, would be harder to sell, Award Homes claimed.

The main reason Award Homes estimated the buildout of 677 homes and 100 apartments would extend past the original 2022 date was because of restrictions regarding building permits that limited the number of permits to 75 annually after the first 220 units were built. Award Homes said if the permit restrictions were removed, they would agree to a shorter extension.

As of May 18, no units have been built as the developer continues to concentrate on the infrastructure: pipes, roads, lights and walls.

On May 3, Award Homes requested approval of the second amendment to the development agreement originally signed in May 2000 for the 125.9-acre subdivision. Award Homes also agreed to help the city facilitate the annexation of the project to Community Facilities Districts (CFD) 4 and 5 rather than CFD 2, which was its original designation, in order to be subject to a special tax levied in an amount that would be updated with the annual consumer price index per unit per year. The change from CFD 2 would increase funds paid to the city by more than $702,000 annually after the development has been completed.

Other related BenitoLink articles:

Development approved despite lack of Hollister City Council vote

Hollister council sidesteps approval of Fairview Road housing development

Award Homes moves forward on 118-acre development

Hollister city attorney tries to push development agreement for Award Homes, mayor opposes

Council passes resolution to provide future annexation

City, county officials meet to discuss tax-sharing agreement on new developments


BenitoLink is a nonprofit news website that reports on San Benito County. Our team is working around the clock during this time when accurate information is essential. It is expensive to produce local news and community support is what keeps the news flowing. Please consider supporting BenitoLink, San Benito County’s news.

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]