The 680-acre swath of land, bounded by Eucalyptus Avenue to the north, Sycamore Avenue to the east, Walnut Avenue to the south and Highway 33 to the west, was approved after much debate and criticism back in 2006 by city officials.
The city’s largest approved housing development, roughly the size of the Walker Ranch, Heartland Ranch, and the Patterson Gardens subdivisions combined, was slated to add over 3,100 housing units and was expected to boost the cities’ population to over 30,000 residents at build out. However, the site hasn’t seen one housing unit built following the economic housing market crash that came in the latter part of the previous decade.
In fact many of the original parcels on the site, once owned by Patterson developer John Ramos, quickly fell victim to foreclosure by the economic crash and were eventually sold off to various individuals as a result. Having multiple owners of the Villages of Patterson site is the biggest challenge facing the city in moving forward with new home construction there.
“[The site] went from one or two owners to multiple owners that will make things hard to develop,” Deputy City Attorney Doug White told the crowd in Thursday’s meeting. “We all thought it would be developed by now so we thought there wouldn’t be these kinds of issues.”
White stressed to the crowd that the more that all stakeholders speak with as much of a unified voice, the easier, faster, and cheaper the process will become. Some of those new landowners, however, don’t want to be involved or wish to be left out of any future plans.
“What if I don’t care? What if I don’t want to be involved in anything? I just want to sell,” a current resident of the site said during the meeting.
“No one’s required to do anything,” City Attorney Doug White said. “There are existing entitlements; no one’s trying to take those away.”
In order for the city to move forward with revisions to the current Villages plan, deposits from current landowners will need to be acquired for the new planning, engineering, and environmental reports that will ensue. A fee, estimated at costing between $50,000 and $80,000, will be assessed on the Villages as a whole, and then allocated equally depending on each party’s stake in the plan.
“We’re ready to write the checks and move forward,” developer John Ramos told the Irrigator. Ramos, the driving force behind the original plan, still controls the fate of over 100 acres of the Villages of Patterson site and remains optimistic about the plan’s success despite the multiple land entitlements that currently occupy the 680-acre site.
Ramos went on to say that with the acquisition of Restoration Hardware as the latest tenant of the city’s distribution centers, as well as a 1.8 and 1.2 million square foot pair of light industrial complexes that will be announced in the months to follow, that new housing in the city will be needed.
Deputy City Attorney Doug White chimed in along those same notes as he addressed the crowd during last Thursday’s meeting.
“What you’ve heard in the news is only the tip of the iceberg,” White said. “There are other good things coming.”
Despite the need to satiate the future housing needs of the city, other residents currently living on the Villages of Patterson site expressed their concern for the type of product desired to be included in the revised Villages of Patterson plan.
“We don’t want another Walker Ranch out there,” current Villages property owner Scott Huntley said during the meeting. “We’ve all seen what that looks like.”
When the Villages of Patterson master plan was passed in 2006, a similar debate was raised as to the type of housing product to be included with subdivisions. Walker Ranch and Patterson Gardens were used as examples to improve upon.
Approved in the Villages plan was a stipulation that required a percentage of self-help homes, as well as higher density housing including apartment complexes, live/work general commercial areas, as well as open space that centered on a large soccer complex.
While city staff isn’t anticipating many changes to the self-help portion of the project, officials have alluded to the fact that in order to make the revised project viable, it may have to look more like the existing Patterson Gardens and Walker Ranch subdivisions.
“We don’t foresee that too many changes will force an entire new EIR (environmental impact report),” White said during the meeting, but later added, “but we are open to the option of blowing the DA (development agreement) out.”
Staff asked those in attendance of last Thursday’s meeting to remain in correspondence with the city within 30 days if interested parties wished to move forward and remain at the table.
“Right now we’ve had a lot of people asking for the funding agreement,” Community Development Director Joel Andrews told the Irrigator Tuesday. “We’ll see how many bring them back.”
Elias Funez can be reached at 209-892-6187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.