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San Joaquin County will allow developer to build Woodbridge subdivision

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Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2006 10:00 pm

After a developer appeased several residents and organizations, the San Joaquin County Planning Commission granted him a permit to build a 29-lot subdivision in Woodbridge.

The subdivision will be built on a little more than 11 acres near the Windwood and Riverwood drives, in Woodbridge.

"It appears there have been a lot of negotiations to make this happen," Commissioner Sandra Carter said. "You have come a long way."

The development was first proposed in 2004 by Jeffery Kirst of Tokay Development. At the time, Kirst requested that the area be rezoned from agricultural to residential, which had to be done before and building could be done. Both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors approved the zoning change, but with heavy opposition from neighbors.

Kirst's attorney, Mike Hakeem, said a mediator was needed to reach the settlement with the neighbors and that both sides would spend as much as nine hours per day in a room together to reach it.

As part of the agreement, a strip of land on the southern land end of the subdivision that separates it from nearby properties will be given to some of the neighbors, County Planner Karla Kuhl said.

"It will act as a buffer," Hakeem said. "It will make (their) backyards larger but there won't be any homes there."

There will also be several cash payments to residents and other organizations with interests in the area.

The county did get two letters in opposition to the project from neighbors this time around. One complaint said that the subdivision would place an extra burden on the Woodbridge Sanitary District, which provides sewer service to the town. But the district replied in a letter that it is, in fact, equipped to provide extra services.

The other complaint said that the subdivision would bring about an end to agricultural land in the area. But because the land is now zoned residential and not agricultural, that is not an issue, county planners said.

Commissioner Stan Morri mentioned how strongly some people protested the subdivision last year, and said that it appeared the two sides were longer at war.

"I'm glad to see the boxing gloves put away," he said.

Contact reporter Roman Gokhman at romang@tracypress.com.

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