Housing / Land Use

Ribbon cutting held for Twin Oaks senior housing development

First active senior community in San Benito County offers open floor plans and a clubhouse.

The Jan. 30 ribbon cutting at the Twin Oaks gated community marked the end of a long journey to bring a development designed for active seniors to San Benito County. Those who attended the ceremony were shown two models and while several homes are under construction, none had been sold at that time.

While there are four apartment complexes for seniors in Hollister, and with the long-delayed and larger active senior development at San Juan Oaks Golf Club originally designed by Del Webb apparently still in play, Twin Oaks crossed the finish line first. It’s an upscale area specifically designed for seniors who have the financial resources to live in a community where recreation and entertainment eclipse yard work.

“Senior housing is something that seems to be a lot easier to support because of their low impacts,” said Supervisor Peter Hernandez, who joined other local politicians and real estate agents at the ribbon cutting.

When completed, Twin Oaks will be 168 single-story homes that range from 1,579 square feet to over 2,000 square feet. There are five layout options designed with smart features, modest-sized yards and open floor plans to accommodate seniors who want to entertain.

Hernandez described Twin Oaks as a “huge prize for our community,” because of the impact fees; since the homeowners will most likely be retired, they will not have much impact on roads and schools.

“It’s a local economic development driver,” he said, adding it’s important to inform the public that Twin Oaks is not like other developments.

“Obviously, commercial developments produce a lot of layers of taxes, but when you’re dealing with single-family homes, they come with kids that require schools,” Hernandez said. “We cannot treat all developments equally, but as I’ve said, we need to slow down the higher impact housing.”

Phil Fortino, manager of Mechanics Bank, said he has always been a fan of “55-and-older communities.”

“They’re good for our community as a whole,” he said at the ribbon cutting. “Typically, these are more stable families and they’re in the stage of their lives where they’re giving back to the community, participating in nonprofits, in their churches, and being a part of the fabric of the community. They’re going to integrate into the community in a good way.”

Hollister Councilwoman Honor Spencer said the concept “is an amazing idea.”

“We need these kinds of communities,” she said. “If I didn’t own my home I’d love to live in a community like this. We are going to grow whether we like it or not. It’s perfect and we need more of them.”

Mariah Giunta is the lifestyle specialist who will work at the clubhouse, called The Cannery Club at Twin Oaks. She said she will design the lifestyle programs for future homeowners.

“The programs are inspired by our four pillars of: life-long learning, health and wellness, social engagement, and rooted in Hollister,” she said. “We want those in our community to be engaged in Hollister.”

Twin Oaks developer Marty Miller said he has spoken with Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital’s interim CEO Ken Underwood about sharing health information specific to seniors.

“He said he’s willing to have some of his medical personnel come over here periodically to give presentations in healthy living,” Miller said.

Miller told BenitoLink that people as far away as San Diego have expressed interest in the community. He explained that potential buyers are discovering the development through active-adult websites and paid advertising in Bay Area newspapers and radio stations. 

Those who qualify to buy homes at Twin Oaks that range from $623,099 to $748,696, however, are not the norm among seniors in California, which has a fast-growing proportion of older residents, according to The Stanford Center on Longevity. Stanford’s Interim Population Projections indicate that by 2030, the number of Californians over 65 will be 8.4 million, up from 4.3 million in 2010. 

In its own race against time, Hollister has sought to approve senior housing projects, in particular, Twin Oaks. In June 2017, the City Council approved a change to its in-lieu program and agreed to accept $1 million instead of $1.4 million toward the Twin Oaks project, which at that time was called the Silver Oaks Senior Community. The $1 million was a tax credit application on behalf of a CHISPA project of 49 one-bedroom apartments at 580 Westside Blvd.


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John Chadwell

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