Merced Co. Planning Commission recommends denying proposed Hilmar apartments

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Dozens of folks from Hilmar spoke against the proposed Poquito Lakes apartment project on Wednesday. In a 4-1 vote, the Merced County planning commission ultimately decided to recommend denying the project.

"Obviously there are water issues that can't be rectified immediately. The bottom line is that the residents don't want it," Commissioner Robert Acheson said.

Pictures were on display as developers with JKB Living said the project would bring more than 100 multi-family units to the area.

"It's walking distance to shopping, post office, and other businesses," JKB Living President James Brenda said.

Gina Montgomery claims it's more growth than Hilmar can handle. She said their schools can't hold more students, and the traffic is already a big problem.

"We want our problems fixed before new growth comes in .We realize there's growth. We're not opposed to growth. We're opposed to growth in a compacted area and a dense area," Montgomery said.

Several other residents brought up traffic on Lander Avenue. They claim the infrastructure isn't there, and that the proposed apartment rent prices are too high for the area.

Another issue is the lack of water. Representatives with the Hilmar County water district said they currently don't have enough water to supply the project.

"Without the water, the project cannot go forward without the water in place. That's going to be their hindrance and they need to have it ready to go before they can go forward," Planning Commission Chairman Mark Erreca said.

The decision is now up to the Merced County Board of Supervisors. The topic will be brought up during one of their meetings in the next 6 months, and they'll have the final say on whether the approve or deny the project.
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