Years After Approval, Tapestry Developers Consider July Inauguration at Hesperia
Dirt is finally expected to embark on the massive – but controversial – Tapestry project, the planned community in the Summit Valley area of Hesperia.
Project chief executive John Ohanian, who has championed the planning and rights allocation efforts for Tapestry since its inception, told the Daily Press that July was the target date for DMB Development to lead the way on the site of 15,663 houses.
“The first phase will be the property adjacent to Ranchero Road and will consist of 2,104 units in total,” Ohanian said. “These will be developed over the next five years. “
The project will include a total of nine construction phases that will take around 20 years to develop, Ohanian added.
DMB, a developer specializing in large-scale communities, also announced the groundbreaking project for homes and 700,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.
The Tapestry Footprint is typically between State Route 173 to the south and Summit Valley Road to the north, Arrowhead Lake Road to the east, and the city limit of Hesperia to the west.
Two portions of Phase 1 extend north beyond Summit Valley Road, including one section that reaches Ranchero Road just east of Rancho Middle School, and the other that ends just south of Krystal School of Science Math & Technology on Krystal Drive.
The tapestry was approved in January 2016 by Hesperia City Council, which consisted of then-mayor Bill Holland, the late Paul Russ, former city councilor Eric Schmidt, former city councilor Mike Leonard and the late Russ Blewett.
Now City Councilor Bill Holland – the last member left on the dais who endorsed Tapestry – has told the Daily Press the inauguration will trigger a chain reaction of road improvements.
“One of the biggest changes to the development agreement is the construction of Rancho Las Flores Parkway from Avenue I to Highway 138,” Holland said. “They are promoting this project, which will benefit the whole city. “
Scottsdale, Ariz., San Bernardino County and Hesperia-based DMB will work on widening Ranchero Road, Ohanian said.
“The City’s involvement in the first phase will be similar to our role in other housing developments, which includes plan review and site inspections and other responsibilities of the development services department,” said Deputy City Manager Rachel Molina said in a statement. “Otherwise, the City is focusing on the Ranchero Corridor Widening Project.
With an estimated price tag of $ 48 million, the Ranchero expansion is a joint effort between Hesperia, the county and the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, Molina said.
Ranchero will be widened between the railroad underpass just east of Seventh Avenue and the Ranchero highway interchange at Interstate 15. The project will also build a new bridge over the aqueduct, as required. ‘State, according to Molina.
Ranchero will upgrade to four lanes, with midfielders and spinning pockets, according to Ohanian, who said DMB is contributing $ 12 million towards that improvement.
New traffic lights will be installed on Ranchero at Maple, Cottonwood and Seventh avenues, Holland said.
“The off-site road project is expected to go out for tender this summer and begin construction in the fall,” Ohanian said. “It’s a project of about 14 months. All roads and on-site improvements will be built by the developer at their own expense.
Last year, the city hosted several online community workshops to receive feedback from the public as they work to improve I Avenue from Ranchero Road to Bear Valley Road in preparation for Tapestry, the daily press reported.
Some of the improvements include widening the two-lane carriageway to include a central left-turn lane.
Improvements recommended in the plan include improving sidewalks and bus shelters and adding street lighting at major intersections and Class II bike paths.
“The tapestry is perhaps the most beneficial development for the whole town of Hesperia,” said Holland. “I also think John Ohanian’s commitment goes beyond Tapestry, which is evident as his company deploys resources that will benefit all of Hesperia. “
What took so long?
The move over the tapestry comes nearly five years after Hesperia’s city council unanimously approved the project against a tidal wave of opposition from residents and groups.
“After the project approvals, we went through a series of environmental lawsuits that needed to be resolved before we could proceed,” Ohanian told The Daily Press. “This lawsuit settlement was followed by a period of specific detailed design and planning to present plans to the city that it could approve and issue building permits.”
In June 2017, the legal battle that Hesperia officials said delayed Tapestry was resolved after the Terra Verde group made major concessions, the Daily Press reported.
The settlement – between Terra Verde and the Center for Biological Diversity, the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, and the Sierra Club – included the removal of 533 homes in the southern area of Grass Valley Village, which Ohanian says is equivalent to losing nearly $ 50 million worth of the project.
The removal of Grass Valley allowed an additional 1,060 acres of open space for wildlife and the arroyo toad, and created several habitat and corridor improvements that allow wildlife to move around and under roads.
With Tapestry’s scope now updated to include fewer homes, the projected population of nearly 50,000 has dropped to almost 1,800 and will closely resemble the old Rancho Las Flores project, which Terra Verde purchased during from a bankruptcy sale almost nine years ago.
The settlement of an additional lawsuit filed by the Crestline Sanitation District included a reduction in the development footprint on Summit Valley soil.
The district has been using the dumped area for about 40 years, with a permit from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. The effluent is used for pasture irrigation and recharges the groundwater basin by percolation, according to Tapestry’s EIR.
Ohanian said the COVID-19 pandemic had plunged the financial market into a “period of turmoil,” which also slowed Tapestry’s progress.
“Our business plan has always been to build this project with equity, not debt, so we needed the investment market to stabilize,” Ohanian said.
When Tapestry was first introduced in January 2015, many residents said the housing project would lead to further traffic jams, crime, noise and air pollution. They also said it will destroy the beauty and nature of Summit Valley.
Conversely, a handful of people praised them, saying Tapestry would create local jobs, revitalize the economy, make homes available to millennials, and make major improvements to roads leading to the new community.
Some concerns included allegations of a flawed EIR, the project being abandoned, an incomplete assessment of the water supply and an exodus of residents of the High Desert.
Mark Pfister, a general contractor, told city council in 2016 that the EIR had many issues that were “glossed over” and “thrown into the back” of the report that took him eight hours to read.
Pfister, who lives on Route 173, said the main issues are high density, traffic and environmental concerns.
Still others said they feared heavy rains and snowstorms could cause traffic jams in the area, adding that an earthquake could damage the Cedar Springs Dam in Silverwood Lake, putting many lives in danger.
The 9,366-acre community of Tapestry is expected to provide more than $ 7 billion in capital investment upon completion of the project, DMB said.
“We anticipate continued economic growth and employment opportunities in Hesperia, Victorville and other neighboring locations, leading to a good balance of jobs and housing for the entire region,” Ohanian said.
According to Ohanian, Tapestry will provide thousands of families with outdoor recreation opportunities within a reasonable commute to San Bernardino, Riverside and Ontario.
Some residents congratulated the developer on funding the project and associated road improvements, building a water harvesting facility, and adding schools.
Buford Lee Cribb, who lives near Ranchero Road, said the project represented progress for Hesperia.
In 2019, Ohanian said that while planning for Tapestry, the developer put on its “2030 glasses to meet future demands,” with homes featuring solar power, water recycling, and walkable neighborhoods.
Who is involved?
Brent Herrington, President and CEO of DMB Development, has called Tapestry one of the most important new communities to develop in Southern California in years.
As such, in a press release, Herrington said that DMB takes great pride in developing Tapestry “with a deep sense of respect and environmental responsibility”.
“Our goal is to create a strong, active and caring community that cherishes the natural beauty of this region,” he said.
Hesperia Venture I LLC, property owner and subsidiary of Schlegel Capital LLC, acquired the Tapestry site in 2012 and assembled a team to plan and authorize site development.
Alex Vahabzadeh and Ray Wirta of Beaumont Americas, a private equity investment group, led the funding for the project, DMB officials said.
“Tapestry enjoys a picturesque location, an undersupplied housing market and convenient access to major employment centers,” says Wirta. “A new community of this quality and within this framework will offer a welcome alternative to thousands of families in Southern California. “
Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz can be reached at 760-951-6227 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.