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Tehachapi housing development nears final approval

Tehachapi gave all but final approval this week to an Idaho developer's proposal for a 995-unit, $480 million housing project near the city's core.

The City Council voted 4-0, with Councilwoman Christina Scrivner abstaining, to certify Sage Ranch's environmental clearance and maps. The only remaining obstacle, a second reading of the project's zoning ordinance, is expected to be approved by the council as soon as Sept. 7.

The general manager of the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District, Tom Neisler, was the only member of the public to speak against the proposal Monday. He urged the council to reject it. Neisler did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Developer Greenbriar Capital, a publicly traded company based in Boise that acquired the project 10 years ago, says Sage Ranch has received expressions of interest from aerospace workers and members of the military in and around the Antelope Valley.

"Logistically, from an environmental standpoint, it’s much easier for people to drive 45 minutes northwest to Tehachapi than it is for them to go 2½ hours or 50 miles south to go into L.A. to get sort of a better place to live” than Lancaster or Palmdale, Greenbriar CEO Jeff Ciachurski said.

Sage Ranch is a phased development proposed to include nine parks, a swimming pool, a clubhouse, a soccer field and tennis courts. It would be run by a homeowners association.

Located next to a high school, middle and elementary schools, the project would include for-sale and rental properties in a variety of product types, including townhomes, cottage homes, paired homes and single-family residences.

Units' sizes would range from a 900-square-foot apartment to a 2,600-square-foot home. Ciachurski said the price of a single-family home will be in the $400,000 range.

"Buying one of our places is (a) cheaper housing payment than rent," he said.

Some city residents had previously expressed concern that the project would change Tehachapi's character. Ciachurski said there's no reason to be worried about the newcomers, who he said will likely be professional workers.