Proposed zone change frustrates residents

The change could bring more than a hundred apartments to a southwest Bakersfield neighborhood.

Hundreds of people in southwest Bakersfield say they are against a possible zone change in their neighborhood.

The current zone for a field in River Oaks is R1, single family residence. But, the new developer hopes to change that to R2, a multi-family residence, possibly constructing more than a hundred apartments.

"We feel like this area right here is just not compatible with the multi-family homes," said resident Diane Sincoff.

Residents say they're frustrated, because what was promised to them, hasn't happened.

"This was never meant to be a multi-family housing. This was supposed to be a school from the Panama Buena Vista School District," said resident Jacob Stuebbe.

But, that school was never built. The district sold the property and the current developer is Black Ops Real Estate, which is proposing the zone be changed from single residence to multi-family residence.

"It's just not right," said Stuebbe. "We came in expecting there to be a school. We planned our neighborhood around this. We felt like this would be somewhere we could take our kids in the future," Stuebbe continued.

Black Ops Real Estate is hoping to build more than a hundred apartments on the property, which can fit up to 225 units.

However, residents say they don't like the idea and would rather see more homes.

"In the original plan, it was never intended for apartments, and so we just want the city government to honor that, to put in single-family homes as originally intended," said Sincoff.

More than 300 residents have signed a petition and will give it to the Bakersfield Planning Commission when they discuss the possible zone change on March 21st.

"At the Planning Commission, the public will have the opportunity for more public input," said Councilmember Bob Smith, Ward 4. "Right now, they can write letters, e-mails, call the city to voice their concerns for or against."

Residents have also made a website, www.nozonechange.com, and they've passed out fliers opposing the project. They say their main concern is neighborhood safety.

"There's a bus, a school bus stop three to four times a day in different areas along this street," Sincoff continued. "There are no stop signs. There are no traffic signals. What's to slow the traffic? Nothing."

If you want to know more about the project, residents meet at River Oaks Park every Sunday afternoon.

17 News tried contacting the developer Thursday, but Black Ops Real Estate did not return our calls.

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