Developer hopes to offer cheaper homes in proposed subdivision

Winters Planning Commission will continue the public hearing to give interested parties time to resolve noted concerns.
The nine current designs, from the Crowne Communities presentation.

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City officials are considering an application for a subdivision that would provide cheaper options for first-time homebuyers in Winters, provided the developer and city staff work out conflicts around design.

The Winters Planning Commission heard from representatives from developer Crowne Communities about their plans to divide a 3.29-acre parcel of land that wraps around the Church of Christ and Latter Day Saints (LDS) on Anderson Avenue into 18 single-story homes. Plans for the parcel originally included 24 two-story homes similar to the developer’s Heartland project, however, representatives from Crowne said they were swayed by demand from locals to build smaller homes with simpler designs that current residents or their children could afford.

In order to do this, however, Crowne would require a Planned Development (PD) Overlay Zone from the city to allow for deviations from the City of Winters design guidelines. For instance, while the single-story homes would be smaller in square footage, they would cover more of the lots and require special allowances from the Planning Commission.

City Contract Planner David Dowswell gave a presentation to the commission pointing out some problem areas in the proposal, such as uniformity in design. Part of the developer’s mechanism for providing cheaper units is reducing the number of plans, but commissioners recommended including one two-story plan in the mix, particularly on the corner lots.

City staff also raised concerns about emergency vehicle accessibility, mainly, if cars were parked along a turn in the development, fire vehicles may not be able to access certain lots. Finally, staff were concerned over potentially liability issues that could be raised if kids living in the homes used the church parking lot as a short-cut.

Representatives from Crowne said modifications to current designs, particularly the addition of an elongated “elbow” in the turn to provided extra room for emergency vehicles but would also encroach on corner lots, could make the project too costly to accomplish the lower-priced homes they’d hoped to provide.

Commissioners will continue the public hearing until their Nov. 12 meeting to give interested parties time to resolve as many of the concerns as possible.

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