Housing / Land Use

SBC Planning Commission approves 149-unit project

Affordable units will be deed-restricted for local residents.

The San Benito County Planning Commission unanimously approved the rezoning and tentative subdivision map of a 50-acre residential project on 213 Enterprise Road. The Board of Supervisors has final say on rezoning the property from rural residential to residential multiple and subdividing it into 149 single-family lots. 

While the Vista Del Calabria project is required to have 23 affordable units—at least seven priced at moderate, seven at low and seven at very low income levels—county planner Darryl Boyd said the developer, Longreach Associates, Inc., is proposing a hybrid model to meet the requirement. 

The plan involves using in-lieu fees of $4,500 for each market rate unit, totaling $598,500, to create a downpayment assistance program for the purchase of 16 moderate income housing units. If the funds were distributed equally across the 16 moderate income level homes, each homeowner would receive $37,406.25 in assistance.

Moderate income level housing is 80% to 120% of a county’s median income. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median income in San Benito County is $81,977. A deed restriction for the affordable units would ensure that only San Benito County residents with local jobs would be eligible for these homes for a period of 30 years. 

The program also proposes to construct seven accessory dwelling units (ADUs), also known as secondary units, to be rent-restricted for low and very low income residents. The ADUs’ deed restriction would be for 15 years. 

Boyd said Longreach proposed to develop the project in four phases, which would be served by the Sunnyslope Water District and would construct 3.84 acres of parkland, including a trail along the ridgeline. In his presentation, Boyd said the property was mostly used for grazing and part of it was formerly an orchard. 

According to the agenda packet, there have been previous development applications for this property, but a tentative subdivision map expired prior to approving the final map. On a more recent application, the developer withdrew its proposal.

The property is surrounded by other developments, such as an 84 single-family unit project and the Sunnyside Estates project with up to 200 units. 

During public comment, discussion turned to traffic connectivity with Quail Ridge Way. While Hollister Fire Department Battalion Chief Charlie Bedolla said the project was well planned and allowed traffic to flow, he asked that the development be connected to the surrounding neighborhood to allow more access points. 

However, others voiced concern about increased traffic in the county service areas of Quail Hollow and Oak Creek. Some residents who spoke preferred to keep access closed, but said a compromise could be made. 

“I sympathize with the Fire Chief Bedolla, I understand emergencies and all that,” resident John Ucovich said. “But I think something can be worked out where that connection on Quail Ridge Way could be made possible for emergency vehicles, pedestrians, and bikes, and still restrict traffic from having to drive through.”

Bedolla said the access was a matter of public safety and that he did not foresee an increase of traffic in the neighboring county service areas. He suggested that those residents would use Vista Del Calabria’s access to Enterprise Road because it was closer. He said it didn’t matter how the county chose to connect the development, as long it was connected.  

“It’s our job to be prepared for when that big one [earthquake] does happen,” Bedolla said. “Not if, it’s when. If we go against it, we’re accepting all liability for that and we’re not willing to accept liability for life safety issues that’s adopted by the state fire code.”

Resource Management Agency Director Harry Mavrogenes said another option was to make a one-way access point that would address public safety and traffic connectivity issues. 

While the commission approved connectivity, the specifics will be identified and approved when the final map proposal is presented for adoption.

 

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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.