Riverbank approves the construction of 28 apartments for seniors and 8 “tiny homes” for single mothers. They both drew fire

Despite protests from a few neighbors, Riverside officials approved the construction of a 28-unit housing complex for senior citizens and eight “mini-homes” for single mothers.

The large project was reduced from 40 units after opponents complained that it would aggravate traffic and clash with the surrounding Sterling Ridge section.

Both projects were approved by the Riverside Planning Commission on Thursday, September 7. Votes are final unless appealed within 10 days before the City Council.

The main location is located along Pocket Avenue east of Roselle Street. Modesto-based Realtor Randy Brecki said the apartments will be at market price, but rents and a construction timetable are not yet known. He is working with developer Mahesh Khatwani of Burlingame on the project.

The initial plan was for 40 apartments in six one-story buildings. The review means seven buildings of four units each, also single storey.

The project’s architect, Stacey Wilnitz of Modesto, said the change will provide more outdoor space for residents and will resemble neighboring homes.

Residents will be 55 years or older. Brekke said a traffic study found they would drive significantly less than developments of all ages. The complex will have one entrance outside the enclave and two parking spaces inside.

Opponents circulated a petition last year

John Keeler, a resident of Sterling Ridge, helped circulate a petition against the initial plans last year, when the partners sought to rezone the two-acre site to increase density. He opposed the amended bill on Thursday.

“There are a lot of properties that would be suitable for the complex,” Keller said. “3318 Pocket Avenue is not one of them.”

Last year, the commission voted 4 to 1 against the rezoning, with only member Natasha Basu supporting it. The City Council overturned this decision in a unanimous vote.

The committee’s vote on Tuesday was on the specific plans, including façades, parking and common outdoor space for residents. The only member, Joan Stewart, defected this time.

The apartment site contains an old house and barn that will be demolished.

Single mother housing could be ready this year

The single mother’s residence is planned on bare ground behind Bridge Covenant Church in Oakdale Road and Morrill Street. It is designed for temporary use by young families at risk of homelessness.

Joe Doran, CEO of Stanislaus Equity Partners, said the homes could be ready by the end of this year because they are modular. It joined other non-profit organizations in the project.

Residents will spend up to 30% of their income on rent. Federal housing vouchers will cover the rest of the cost.

The national tiny house movement seeks fast-build projects that provide a transition to traditional housing. Riverbank has a new ordinance allowing units as small as 150 square feet.

The church project will be more spacious. The six units will each be 400 square feet. One has 600 and the other 800.

Neighbors said they understood the need for such housing, but that the project could cause problems for the area. This can include domestic violence by parents, and violation of the compound rule against the use of alcohol and illegal drugs.

Donna Kinney, Riverbank’s director of planning and construction, said the tiny homes were indeed a permitted use of the site. This means that the committee can only vote on the specific design, which it approved by a 5-0 vote.

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