Orange Cove grows plans for more housing in city

New housing developments are slowly coming to fruition in Orange Cove as city council approves planning, zoning requests

Construction equipment is set up north of Sumner Avenue and west of Anchor Avenue in Orange Cove, ready to work on infrastructure for a new housing development being built by Yanez Construction, April 15, 2024. (Serena Bettis)
Construction equipment is set up north of Sumner Avenue and west of Anchor Avenue in Orange Cove, ready to work on infrastructure for a new housing development being built by Yanez Construction, April 15, 2024. (Serena Bettis)
Serena Bettis
Published April 16, 2024  • 
10:00 am

ORANGE COVE – More than just citrus will be growing this summer in Orange Cove as Yanez Construction adds rooftops — and revenue — to the community. 

After the Orange Cove City Council approved the final subdivision map at its April 10 meeting, construction could begin by August on a development project many years in the making. City Planner Shun Patlan said Efrain Yanez, the owner of Reedley-based Yanez Construction, is “anxious” to get started on their latest development, which will include single-family homes, apartments and commercial space. 

“(Yanez) says when he’s done with everything — commercial, apartments and the housing — it’s going to be over a $30 million project,” Patlan said. “So once the council considers and approves the final map, then … sometime in August, he’s gonna start building actual houses, and he’s got a (long) list of people interested in buying those.”

The development’s first stage will add 39 single-family homes to Orange Cove on just over 8 acres of land that are northwest of Sumner and Anchor avenues, behind the AutoZone and Dollar General. Following stages will add a multi-family residential development with an undetermined number of units on 6.6 acres and a commercial development on just under 5 acres. 

According to a city staff report, the project will add approximately $86,000 to the Orange Cove general fund through new building permit fees and it will bring in approximately $585,000 in development impact fee funds. Patlan said those estimates are just for the single-family homes and do not include revenue that could come from the other pieces of the project.

Patlan noted city staff worked with engineers on the project through many iterations of the tentative subdivision map to ensure the final map was in compliance with the city’s zoning code.

Mayor pro tem Gilbert Garcia said that he did not like the multifamily development aspect of the project; however, because the council previously approved the tentative subdivision map, the city cannot legally require Yanez to change anything unless it is not in compliance with existing city ordinances. 

“The apartments, that bothers me because we have a lot of apartments as it is,” Garcia said. 

It would be up to Yanez Construction to determine if they want to change that aspect of the development, Patlan said. Additionally, Yanez will determine if the apartments will be market-rate or affordable housing, but it’s too early in the process to know those details yet, Patlan said.

The city council also approved a rezone application for 13.5 acres of land that is north of South Street and between Center and 5th streets. Patlan said that two groups of private landowners currently each own approximately half of the 13.5 acres in question and want to use the land to build multifamily units.

The land was recently bought by the private parties from the city and was zoned for manufacturing. The zoning change, along with a general plan amendment, approved by the council was first approved by the planning commission and will help the city comply with its Housing Element. 

According to the staff report, allowing residential development on the land will create a “more cohesive residential district” in that area of the city, because it will avoid manufacturing or industrial development from dividing the neighborhood.

Patlan said that both owners are interested in building approximately 100 units on their half of the land, but they have not submitted any design work or site plan reviews yet; certain design features, such as off-street parking and landscaping, will be required to be implemented alongside the project. 

The property owners are looking to submit their site plans within the next few months for the city council to review and approve, Patlan said.

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter