By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Are bigger lots for new homes making comeback?
Placeholder Image
Bigger is better when it comes to single family residential lots.

At least that is what Randy Bling of Rose Petals LLC contends the emerging market conditions will call for in new home development.

Bling is seeking the Manteca Planning Commission’s blessing to eliminate medium density lots in Unit No. 5 of the 77.3-acre Dutra Estates subdivision just east of McKinley Avenue south of the Highway 120 Bypass in southwest Manteca.

If the Planning Commission tonight recommends the City Council do just that, it would reduce the number of homes in the unit down to 49 from 72. Since it significantly changes the character of the project a general plan amendment is needed to lower the density in addition to a rezone.

It also includes eliminating a 1.16-acre park and replaces it with a 0.30-acre tot lot similar to ones developed in recent years in Ripon. There is a 5.27-acre park already in Dutra Estates. The reasoning behind the smaller park when it was approved in 2004 was to allow people in the medium density homes - which would have consisted of the entire 9.04 acres of unit five - a place for their children to play due to their smaller residential lots.

The request for larger lots reflects the sentiment of at least Bling that the market is moving back toward larger homes. It is exactly what is happening at Atherton Homes’ Union Ranch east of Del Webb at Woodbridge with the one caveat that the larger homes are mostly single story which reflects a growing disfavor of stairs and master bedroom suites on the second floor.

The typical new home built in Manteca six years ago was just shy of 3,000 square feet with a strong demand for lots larger than 6,500 square feet.

As prices climbed, some developers such as Florshiem Homes which is one of the builders in Dutra Estates saw a need developing for smaller lots in a bid to keep costs down.

Ironically, the smaller lots allowed Florsheim Homes to quickly shift gears to somewhat smaller houses as the housing bubble started bursting

Then at the bottom of the new housing market when 10 permits were issued in February 2008 the average size fell to 1,577 square feet. At the time, Florsheim Homes with their smaller homes was one of the few builders still selling new homes

New housing starts in June 2008 saw the average size climb up a bit to 1,760 square feet. And city building statistics from June 2009 showed the typical home started in Manteca was averaging 2,722 square feet.

Plans submitted for new homes currently in Manteca are pushing 2,900 square feet on average.

The Community Development staff report notes the layout for the revised unit five is consistent with the rest of the overall Dutra Estates project.

The staff report also points out that the rezone will not impact the Regional Housing Needs Assessment study as the city already exceeds the amount of approved single family homes to meet general housing needs.

However, it may not help the city achieve its goals to increase the amount of affordable housing under the city’s housing element that is now being updated in accordance to state law.

Historically, single family homes on lots 6,500 square feet or larger in new developments have not meet affordable housing standards established by a state formula for Manteca.