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342 homes will replace orchard along Austin Road
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The almond orchard that greets northbound Highway 99 motorists as they approach the Yosemite Avenue exit may soon give way to a new crop — single family homes.

A 342-lot neighborhood dubbed Copper Cove is planned on 61.7 acres as part of the Yosemite Square project on the northeast quadrant of the 120 Bypass and Highway 99 interchange. The Manteca Planning Commission will consider approving the project when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

Originally Yosemite Squarewas rolled out in 2007 with a large chunk of the project targeted for multiple office buildings. But the changing economy plus market shifts prompted a remake. The end result was a switch from office uses to primarily residential uses — from single family homes to apartments — as well as a 30-acre portion right on top of the 120 Bypass to northbound Highway 99 ramp that is designated as a business park.

Two access points from Austin Road – Red Rock Drive and Cactus Street — would serve the new neighborhood. Roundabouts are being proposed at two of the entrances to the neighborhood. Other key intersections will have bulb outs that are essentially sidewalk extensions where cars usually make right turns closest to the curb. Both the roundabouts and b outs are designed to enhance pedestrian safety and slow down traffic.

The neighborhood will be served by the new Austin Road water main just completed connecting the main line from the South San Joaquin Irrigation District surface water system to a water tank now under construction on Atherton Drive at Woodward Avenue.

Bill Filios is the managing partner of Yosemite Square Business Park.