Trimark delays plan to put houses on commercial lots
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Aug 28, 2014 | 1871 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MOUNTAIN HOUSE — Trimark Communities is applying to the San Joaquin County Community Development Department to change the Mountain House Master Plan to convert some neighborhood commercial parcels to residential lots.

Trimark’s director of development, Eric Teed-Bose, said on Wednesday, however, that the application to change the master plan might wait because of concerns raised by residents about losing those commercial spaces.

“We put the application on hold right now,” he said. “People think they need the retail, but we tried to explain for years these are not viable (lots). They will end up seeing vacant lots sitting around the community for a long period of time. We’re trying to fix that problem.”

Steven Gutierrez, president of the community services district board of directors, said Thursday he wanted to hear more from Bose before making up his mind.

“A lot of scuttlebutt on the social media,” Gutierrez said. “I haven’t heard everything from Eric’s proposal; that I think kind of popped up in the last couple of weeks. Right now, I’m on the fence on that.

“I like the master plan — we all bought into the village concept,” he added. “If they (Trimark) say they’re not finding business and it leaves these lots vacant, everyone loses. If they’re able to convert it to residential and sell houses, that’s more revenue to the town. It’s a double-edged sword.”

Trimark considers the commercial lots in question to be “infeasible, small, secondary parcels” and wants to build homes there instead to “rebalance the appropriate amount of commercial to residential at the build out,” Bose said.

The application to the county board proposes reducing the number of village centers from three to two and changing several commercial parcels in neighborhoods E, G and H to medium-density residential zoning.

Bose said the commercial parcels in question were required by the county in the early 1990s, which Trimark objected to at the time.

The sites are predominantly 1 acre each, with a couple of larger secondary sites also toward the interior of the community, away from the primary arterial roads.

“At build out, Mountain House will have a town center, freeway shopping center and two other grocery anchor sites in north and center of town,” Bose said. “That is a lot of retail. These other sites are above and beyond all of that retail.”

Using the city of Tracy as an example, he said the city’s total retail space adds up to roughly 20 to 30 square feet per person. Mountain House’s general plan includes almost 60 square feet of retail space per person for a population of 40,000.

When Trimark built the first three villages, Wicklund, Bethany and Questa, it built 170 fewer residential units than it was allowed within the infrastructure. He said the application to the county would add back 150 of those 170 unused residential units on former commercial lots within the villages of Wicklund, Bethany, Questa and Altamont.

Bose said he had intended to present the plan to the Mountain House Community Services District board in September so the public could hear about it at the board meeting or on television. For now, that plan has been put on hold.

Trimark will decide within two weeks whether to move forward with the master plan amendment, Bose said.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at or 830-4225.

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August 29, 2014
Too bad there wasn't an airport near the area Trimark is wanting to build homes. And too bad that Trimark isn't dealing with City of Tracy gov't because if they were, the city would only have to change (on paper) the length of the runway by 3' and "VOILA'".......instant property for residential homes! And let's not forget the swim park that will be built either.

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