On Tuesday, Oct. 16, City Council unanimously approved guidelines under the growth management ordinance that prioritize which residential projects are eligible for residential growth allotments (RGAs) that entitle developers to permits to build homes.
City planner Bill Dean told the council that the regulations emphasize which projects have secured the most entitlements and are closest to beginning construction.
Under the new guidelines, Dean said that the Tracy Hills, Ellis and Kagehiro projects are the first developments in line for RGAs because they are furthest along in the process.
Tracy Hills is within city limits and straddles Interstate 580 at the south end of Lammers Road. Ellis is slated for land outside city limits on the northwest corner of Linne and Corral Hollow roads, and the Kagehiro project will occupy city land northeast of Valpico and Corral Hollow roads.
“Those are projects that have received City Council approval in the past several times,” Dean said. “Those are projects that have developed infrastructure solutions for their projects. Those are projects that are poised to move into the tentative mapping phase … sooner than others.”
Dean told council that there are not enough RGAs for every proposed project around Tracy to be built profitably at the same time.
The city’s growth guidelines allow handing out a maximum of 750 RGAs each year, with an annual average of 600 RGAs — limits approved by voters in 2000 under Measure A.
The guidelines approved Tuesday also stipulate that infill projects — plans to build homes on lots within city limits that are partially or wholly surrounded by developed land — would also get priority.
Other developments waiting for RGAs would be eligible for allotments that aren’t used by infill projects or Tracy Hills, Ellis or the Kagehiro development. RGAs cannot be transferred between projects once issued to a specific project.
Mike Souza, of Tracy-based Souza Realty and Development, is one of the partners behind Tracy Hills, which was annexed into the city in 1998.
Souza said Thursday, Oct. 18, that the project has been at a standstill since 2000, as Measure A virtually shut down residential growth in Tracy between 2006 and 2012.
The City Council’s recent vote, he said, will allow Tracy Hills to be built now that the city is able to issue RGAs again.
Souza said he was “pleased” to see the project move forward and expected to start construction as early as 2014.
In previous conversations, Ellis lead developer Les Serpa has also said 2014 is a target for constructing homes.
“We are seeing the market has been strong in the Bay Area for a good year,” Souza said. “We usually see the market here follow (the market) in the Bay Area by 12 to 18 months.”
He said the housing project perched in the hills overlooking the valley supports the economic development efforts of the city along the Lammers Road corridor — specifically the Cordes Ranch and Gateway properties east of Lammers.
“That Lammers corridor is going to be a very important corridor in the future,” Souza said.