Los Banos Unified School District officials on Tuesday asked Mayor Mike Villalta if there was a way to predict, or even control, the number of homes being built in the city.
“Theoretically, could there just be this wave that is unmanageable for us,” acting Superintendent Dean Bubar said, asking city staff about the school district’s concerns with potentially flooding schools with children as housing developments start filling.
Villalta said many of the city’s current development projects are constrained by agreements signed 15 years ago by the city.
But while the city staff can’t control the flow of new homes to Los Banos, Villalta said, it can ensure that proper mitigation fees are paid to the school district for new annexations and development agreement renewals.
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Housing developments and the general direction of city growth were primary points of conversation during the city and school district’s “2x3” committee meeting Tuesday.
The joint meetings are meant to provide a means of communication for both governmental units to share what’s happening and cooperate with each other.
Officials in the meeting included Bubar, school board members Anthony Parreira, Dennis Areias and Carol Duffy, Villalta and Senior Planner Stacy Souza Elms.
Souza Elms gave school district officials a rough estimate of how many homes could be built in the near future.
“Potentially, it could be 3,100 homes over the next 10 years, 15 years,” Souza Elms said. “Maybe in the next three to five years, 900 homes.”
Villalta said Los Banos is in a different place than it was 10 years ago.
“We are the recipients of what was done 15, 16, 17 years ago,” Villalta said. “And now since the market is coming back ... property values of the Bay Area are sky high and people again are going to commute.”
Areias focused on mitigation agreements, and how changes in the school’s revenue streams could make new housing fees an important part of building for future student growth.
While the school district can’t change the agreements set for the 11 current housing projects, Souza Elms said new developments in future annexations can be shaped to include school district mitigation.
“We have the most discretion when annexations happen,” Souza Elms said.
Villalta said the city is willing to give the school district updates on housing permit numbers.
Other topics discussed Tuesday included the city’s landscape and lighting districts, changes in developers over the years, specific properties in the Los Banos area and the city’s water irrigation schedule.