September 7, 2017 - By Bryan Harrison
Stockton, CA - The San Joaquin County Planning Commission held a Public Hearing at their board meeting this evening. The hearing was to determine whether to give their blessing for the Mountain House Town Hall and Library project to move forward.
John Funderburg, Principal Planner for the San Joaquin County Community Development Department, gave a detailed presentation to the Commissioners, informing them that the documents for the project are "consistent with master plan" and that this project is a significant first step and cornerstone of what will become the Mountain House Town Center.
"I'm ecstatic to see this" stated Commission Chair, Kitty Walker. Funderburg then made an official recommendation to the board for approval at this time.
Steve Lovell, principal architect at Field Paoli, provided insight into the extensive planning that has gone into both the library design and the Town Hall. "The Library is an open plan concept," he informed the board. "It includes a Quiet Room space for the otherwise open, lovely, active space," he said. He also said that the 21,000 square foot design will accommodate the town even at full build-out".
Lowell continued, explaining the two-story layout of the town hall structure. The Town Hall will include space for a temporary sheriff's sub-station. Ultimately, a separate police station will be built in the town center area.
Dave Sargent, project lead for Mountain House Developers, LLC, shared that his company is commissioned to build that station when the town reaches 7,500 rooftops, by which time the Community Services District will more than likely need the town hall space for their own growth. The commissioners had numerous questions for Lowell, all with clear intention to do their due diligence.
Ed Pattison spoke eloquently to the commission board about the need for this project. He began by describing Mountain House and its beauty, adding that the building of the town "is about 10 years behind, due primarily to the recession". He shared with the board the real need for a place for residents to go, have gatherings and generally have a level of amendity befitting the master plan. This complex, he added, will serve as one of two bookends that really represent the town center, along with the grocery store on the other end.
Walker asked about potential for use of solar and wind power. Pattison said that while they would love to go that route, it's not currently a cost-effective option. "We will continue to look at that, though," he assured. He went on to say that the plans have been put together with pursuing LEED-type green building standards, though they don't have budget to actually become LEED Certified.
"With patience comes beauty and permanence," he stated at the end of his comments.
With that, Commission Chair Walker expressed her delight with the plans, and the fact the Mountain House is finally able to move on this. Commissioner Stan Morri made the motion to approve. Shane Rawlings seconded, and the board of four approved unanimously.
"I'm really excited for you guys!" Walker said with a big smile.
Community Development Department Director, Kerry Sullivan, stated that any objections to this ruling must be made no later than September 18, 2017 by 5pm.
No further approvals are needed for this project, Dave Sargent stated to MH Matters after the hearing. "We can move forward with getting permits to build."
Sargent, and likely Pattison, will return for another Public Hearing before the Planning Commission Thursday, October 5, 2017, seeking approval for the Town Center plans. Those are said to also requirement approval from the County Board of Supervisors, assuming the Planning Commission gives a thumbs-up.