BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Tejon Ranch was given the go-ahead on Tuesday to move forward with its plans for a new community at the Grapevine.
During its afternoon meeting today, the Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved plans from Tejon Ranch for an 8,000-acre master-planned community adjacent to the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center off Interstate 5.
The project area, which is partially split by Interstate 5, is expected to have up to 12,000 homes and around 5.1 million square feet for commercial use.
“I’m very proud of this project going into District 2,” Supervisor Zack Scrivner said. “This project isn’t just going to support the existing jobs that are in the industrial complex but is also going to add 8,700 hundred permanent jobs. I want to thank Tejon Ranch and all the folks that want to make an investment in Kern County. We are, I believe, the best place in California to do business, and this project is going to be a fantastic complement.”
The Board of Supervisors had originally approved plans for the community in 2016. However, environmental groups filed a lawsuit against Tejon Ranch over environmental impact concerns, resulting in Kern County Judge Kenneth Twisselman requiring Tejon Ranch to conduct a more in-depth environmental impact study.
After that work was done, the project was re-introduced to the board.
Several organizations and members came out to speak to the Supervisors about the project, most of which were in favor of it.
“We are in very strong support of the Grapevine project and we applaud Tejon Ranch’s bold vision,” said Kern Economic Development Corporation President/CEO Richard Chapman. “This plan has the optimal blend of housing and jobs, and that’s critical in any sustainable plan. It’s not just about having the rooftops — it’s about having the jobs and the proximity.”
One of the people who had concerns about the project was Bakersfield resident Wendale Wesley.
“There’s a lot of retail jobs there, there’s some warehousing jobs, but we need jobs that will pay a little bit better throughout the county,” he said. “We also have a lot of residents here in the city of Bakersfield that do not have affordable housing. (The project) is a great area, but we need a lot more affordable housing where we are right now.”
Derek Abbott, vice president of community development and resource planning for Tejon Ranch, thanked members of the public for speaking and addressed the housing concerns.
“Grapevine will provide a variety of housing to meet supply needs that will encourage and grow the supply of attainable housing in the county and the region,” he said.
With the board approval, Tejon Ranch will now go back to the Kern County Superior Court for consideration of the modified environmental study. If that goes well, the company will move forward with construction on the project.