The California Highway Patrol is set to open a new office in Tracy now that the city’s planning commission has approved plans for a 19,593-square-foot building on 5 acres along Pescadero Avenue.
The commission voted 3-0 to approve the project, with commission chairman Joseph Orcutt and new members Maurice Francis and Gurtej Atwal, casting their first votes on the commission, endorsing the project. Commissioners Chad Wood and Albert Hudson were absent.
The commission approved plans for an 18-acre parcel at 1305 E. Pescadero Ave., just east of the Northgate Village shopping center. The vote included subdividing the site, with 5 acres dedicated to the new CHP office and no immediate plans for the other 13 acres.
In all, the facility includes the main building, a 140-foot communications tower topped by an 8-foot lightning rod, a 4,558-square-foot garage, a fueling station with an aboveground tank, and storage buildings totaling 4,011 square feet.
Capt. Ken Roberts of the CHP facilities section said that the new building, expected to open in March 2021, would serve the same function as the 45-year-old CHP building on Grant Line Road at Buthmann Avenue: as a headquarters for officers who patrol the Tracy triangle area and southwestern San Joaquin County, down to the Stanislaus County line and west to Alameda County. He said the Grant Line Road headquarters was overdue for replacement.
“It’s falling apart. It needs a lot of maintenance and upkeep. By moving into an office like this, we’re giving the officers a safer place to work, better technology,” Roberts said. “They can do a better job and better serve the community and get more involved in community projects.”
Lt. Daniel Kirkpatrick of the CHP facilities section noted that the 4,312-square-foot office on Grant Line Road, opened in 1974, no longer meets earthquake safety ratings that are now standard in government buildings.
Architect Eric Glass of Santa Rosa, whose company has designed other public safety buildings, said that the new headquarters is designed to make the most of its masonry block structure and metal roof. He told the planning commission that his goal was to make the entire facility functional, attractive and low-maintenance at the same time.
Lt. David Wharry, commander of the Tracy office, said the local office, with 35-40 officers and staff, is an around-the-clock operation every day, with officers regularly returning to the office for briefings and shift changes.
“Typically we’ll try to deploy five (officers) on days and swings and four to six on graveyards. We put two people per car on graveyards, so there will be two to three cars on the night shift,” he said, adding: “The officers are really anticipating the new facility, new office, more space, newer building, better equipment. They’re looking forward to that.”
Also on Wednesday:
• The planning commission approved a conditional use permit for Andrew Davis and Silverland Investment LLC to open a new Planet Fitness 24-hour gym at 3262 N. Tracy Blvd. The 20,065 square-foot space originally opened as a Lucky supermarket and most recently was the home of City Furniture Gallery.
• The commission also approved exterior modifications for the 64-room Hampton Inn at 2400 Naglee Road. Property owner Tracy Mall Partners LP plans to add wood-look and stone veneer designs to the building.