The Highland Planning Commission voted 3-2 on June 4 to recommend the Highland City Council deny a request for time extension on the tentative tract map and conditional use permit for the Highland Park planned housing development on Base Line.
The tract map and permit to construct 46 single-family homes and a park on the 7.6-acre site of a vacant home with storage buildings on the north side of Base Line between Club View Drive and Weaver Street was approved June 14, 2016. It was set to expire June 14, 2019.
Master Craft Homes Groups requested a one-year extension stating in a letter that the project has been delayed by slow market conditions and appreciation of building costs.
Master Craft representative Ray Dorame told the commission that, after potential buyers backed out, Master Craft decided to finance the development itself and is in the process of securing a loan.
Commissioners John Gamboa, Michael Hall and Tamara Zaman voted against approving the extension based on dissatisfaction on how the property has been maintained during the three years since first approval.
The item has been placed on the City Council agenda for its June 25 meeting. Should the council vote according to the commission’s recommendation to deny the extension request, Master Craft will have to begin the tract map and conditional use permitting process over.
“I am concerned that even with the three years that this property has been open for development, the property has not been maintained up until this past week,” said Zaman, expressing that she does not have a lot of faith that the property will be kept up if given the extension.
“They have not been taking care of the property they want to develop,” he said. “It upsets me that we have to give a one-year extension just so they can clean up the site when they’ve had three years of it just sitting there with nothing being done.
Several dilapidated structures remain on the site that neighbors, during the meeting’s public comment, characterized as an eyesore and a fire hazard overrun with weeds and fallen trees.
The residents also expressed anticipation for demolition of the abandoned structures and clearing of the property so work on the new development can begin. According to the staff report, the owner of the property has committed to having the demolition and clean up completed by Nov. 1, 2019, as a conditional of approval for the time extension.
The clean up began a few weeks ago with weed removal and will continue with the removal of remaining trees followed by the structure demolition and removal. Dorame reported that the clean up should be complete in approximately three months, depending on city permitting. Highland Associate Planner Tom Thornsley reported that weeds and more than 120 trees were removed from the property in February 2018.