Livingston grants licence to boat building firm

Planning Commission gives OK to fitness club, as well

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comOctober 9, 2012 

— The Planning Commission approved two items during Tuesday night's meeting that will bring new business to the city.

Commissioners approved a business license with a 3-0 vote to allow boat building at 521 Industrial Drive and approved a conditional use permit for a fitness club at 1471 B St., suite D.

Both items were cheered on by commissioners and members of the public during the meeting.

The custom fishing boat manufacturer -- Davidson Boats -- moved into the Industrial Drive site in April but needed the business license so it could start assembling boats.

Davidson could expand its physical presence in the future beyond its 11,000-square-foot facility, where it will assemble boat models that range in length from 19 to 33 feet.

The Planning Commission needed to grant its approval because the business characteristics fall between two zoning types, and the city wanted to be sure the proposed assembly activity meets guidelines.

With Tuesday's approval, Clayton Ludington, owner of Davidson Boats, said he and his 10 employees will be building about three to six boats a year, but that number could increase to 12 if business picks up. Ludington said that he's invested $450,000 in the company.

Before Tuesday's meeting, City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez said the increase in manufacturing is a good sign.

"I'm very pleased and excited about the possibility of them growing and expanding and creating more jobs," he said.

Ramirez said the city is supportive of the activity.

"We're hopeful that the business will grow and prosper," he said. "We want to be as business-friendly as possible, so we welcome the opportunity to host investors, and help grow and expand existing businesses."

The fitness club was approved on a 3-0 vote.

The 4,800-square-foot facility on B St. would be the only fitness center in the city. The applicant for the permit, Sargon Bahrami of Turlock, said he's heard many people express interest in a fitness club in the area.

In the midst of the activity, four seats on the Planning Commission are expiring at the end of the year, and city officials are encouraging residents to apply. Applications can be found on www.livingstoncity.com and should be submitted at City Hall by 5 p.m. Dec. 7.

Similarly, seven seats on the Parks and Recreation Commission expire Jan. 31. One seat is open for applicants who live outside the city limits but within the Livingston Union School District.

The deadline to submit applications for the Parks and Recreation Commission is 5 p.m. Jan. 4.

Councilman Gurpal Samra said it's crucial for the city to have as much input as possible.

"Anybody who is interested should apply because it gives you a chance to have your voice heard, and it helps the council and the city to include your vision into the city," Samra said.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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