Newland Communities to continue selling Whitney Ranch homes

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Whitney Ranch homeowner Alycia Ashmore walks the green zones between housing developments and wonders when her planned community will ever be finished. “They finished this block,” Ashmore said. “I think given the economy, they are actually selling homes.” A hard hit housing market is forcing Whitney Ranch developer Newland Communities to change phasing plans for the build out. “We’re very excited to be looking forward to the day we can resume construction in Whitney Ranch,” said Peter Bridges, Newland Communities senior vice president. April 13, the Rocklin City Council unanimously approved a plan to change where new homes will start popping up again. The original approval had six phases with much more aggressive planning. Right now developers are concentrating on about 10 smaller phases. Construction of the new elementary school on Bridlewood Drive is considered part of Phase One and is scheduled to open on time, according to the developer. “This phasing application will help us be in a position to respond as the market recovers,” Bridges said. According to the California Building Industry Association statistics, the number of new home sales for the Sacramento-Roseville region is a third of what it was just three years ago. The next Whitney Ranch phase to be completed, Phase Two, is going from 330 single family homes to about 235, according to the developer. It will be built east of Split Rail Street off Ranch View Drive. That’s an area north of the ranch house on Whitney Ranch Parkway and east of the Wisteria Community. The developer told the council, building next to existing homes and infrastructure is more cost effective. Also, the initial market demand for new single family homes will be homes that are generally 2,000-square-feet in size on 4,000- to 6,000-square-foot lots. Therefore, the proposed phasing plan will focus development activities on providing those types of products first. Ashmore said Newland’s change is good for her community, but said that hasn’t always been the case as homeowners have negotiated to keep other ideas from taking hold. “Newland homes wanted higher density but we had a community meeting and stopped that,” Ashmore said. The developer reports the overall layout of the Whitney Ranch Phase Two subdivision and the ultimate mix of lot and home sizes is not being changed, according to city documents. There are still large lots planned. “It is going to be a slow climb back, to what I would call, a normal real estate condition,” Bridges said. “This is an opportunity to modify the sequencing of the project to position proper product so we’re ready to start construction again hopefully in the next year or two.” Median home prices in the Sacramento-Roseville region have dropped nearly $124,000 in the past three years, according to the BIA. Ashmore said, as a homeowner in Whitney Ranch, she has a vested interest in seeing it built out. “One of the reasons I bought in Rocklin is because that is one of the last developments,” Ashmore said. “Once that is filled, home prices will go up again.”