A new apartment complex on Valpico Road will get some additional parking spaces following Tracy City Council action on Tuesday.

The council agreed on a unanimous vote to rezone a 13,440-square-foot portion at the eastern end of the parking lot of the 11.5-acre Valpico Glenbriar Apartments. The owners of the 264-unit apartment complex, Guardian Capital, purchased the project from Katerra after Katerra gained approval for the apartments in 2019. Guardian Capital acquired the addition of land from the neighboring owner of a 4-acre MacArthur Drive parcel, which includes a home and other buildings and is currently zoned for a community shopping center, with a Rite Aid store and pharmacy already on the northwest corner of Valpico Road and MacArthur Drive.

Guardian Capital opened the first units at the project, now known as The Vela, earlier this month. Alex Glick, development manager for Guardian Capital, told the council that the addition -- 25 parking spaces added to the 417 parking spaces already planned for the complex -- was needed to accommodate all of the residents of the complex.

The Tracy Planning Commission approved the rezoning of the addition to classify it as high-density residential, consistent with the rest of the apartment project, on Sept. 28. The council introduced an ordinance that supports the planners’ action, clearing the way for Guardian Capital to complete the larger parking lot.

Much of Tuesday’s discussion was regarding Guardian Capital’s proposal to build a fence around the apartment complex. The planning commission on a 3-2 vote denied the request at its Sept. 28 meeting, stating that the city’s General Plan discourages gated communities.

The council was inclined to approve the fence, considering that other residential projects around town have perimeter fences. Senior Planner Alan Bell noted that the difficulty with this would be a long-planned connection between Valpico Road and the residential neighborhood on the north side of The Vela.

“Glenbriar Drive is proposed and approved as a public right-of-way to connect to Derone Lane and Stalsburg Drive extending north,” Bell said. “There is eventually planned to be a four-way intersection with a northern extension through and past this site.”

Even if the perimeter fence is approved, Bell told the council that the fence and gates would have to be removed to allow the roadway extension.

The council was set to approve the fence and gates, but City Attorney Bijal Patel reminded the council that the recommendation presented Tuesday night was to consider the Planning Commission’s decision, which was to deny the fence. In order to reverse the commission's decision the council would have to consider a separate resolution.

“The resolution has to be based on what is recommended, and that evidence has to support the findings, and so you, based on the hearing today, have new information or additional information,” Patel said. “That would be reflected in a new resolution with requisite findings.”

That resolution is expected to be presented at the council’s Dec. 6 meeting, when the council also expects to take a final vote on the rezoning ordinance.

• Contact Bob Brownne at brownne@tracypress.com, or call 209-830-4227.

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