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Largest-ever home development approved by county supervisors

The Merced County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to accept plans for the largest housing development ever proposed in Merced County.

Dubbed the Villages of Laguna San Luis, the plan would effectively create a new town on the county’s Westside.

If it’s built as envisioned, Laguna San Luis would add 16,000 homes and 45,000 people over the next three decades to the area just west of Los Banos and south of Santa Nella.

A group of landowners pushing the project first proposed it nearly 20 years ago.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve a broad plan for Laguna San Luis, with District 4 supervisor Deidre Kelsey casting the lone no.

Though the OK is a major step forward for the dozens of landowners and developers behind the project, they still must secure several more approvals to break ground. They must now draw up more detailed plans for each of the seven communities they hopes to build within Laguna San Luis. They must then complete studies on how those specific plans would affect the environment, and the supervisors must approve each of them individually.