Exeter’s growth is accustomed to moving at a snail’s pace, but recent changes to the City’s Southwest Specific Plan atop other recent commercial undertaking is confronting the City’s slow growth policy.
Exeter Southwest Specific Plan is bordered by Visalia road to the north, an extension of Elberta to the west, Glaze to the south, and Belmont to the east. The plan is a designation for Exeter’s future residential and commercial growth.
The Plan encompasses 320 acres which will have up to 1,300 homes in addition to other commercial properties, along with a walk/bike path that will be paved over the Locust Grove Ditch that lines the west side of Belmont.
Exeter City Council took its first step in executing that plan by holding a public hearing to change the zoning ordinance of 2.34 acres of the land that sits behind Citrus Plaza.
The Council unanimously voted to zone the 2.34 acres of land from public facilities to multi-family residential to accommodate a 25 unit apartment complex set to break ground in late 2015 at the earliest.
Council member Ted Macaulay is happy to see apartments being built as part of the Southwest Plan despite that most residential development will be single family residences.
“I think the Plan is a guideline of what we want in that area…my own feeling is that we need apartments in Exeter. I don’t think we have enough, and it fits well in the plan,” Macaulay said.
Ken Kugler, Executive Director of the Tulare County Housing Authority (TCHA), approached the Council change to reassure the Council of the TCHA’s willingness to work with the City to prepare for the development.
“I’m looking forward to doing something in the community and looking forward to working with the Council,” Kugler said.
While the apartments are yet to begin development, Exeter residents are beginning to notice a trend of commercial development springing up in town.
The most notable developments have been the beginning phases of construction for a Dollar General and the leveling of a nearly one acre property last month on the southeast corner of the Visalia Road and Belmont intersection.
While it is yet to be publicly identified what will be put in the place of the house and trees that were on the corner, it is in fact zoned for commercial use. In addition to Dollar General and the unnamed commercial property to be developed at Visalia and Belmont roads, there has been a lot of business interest in the City of Exeter. Last fall, Royal Smoothie and Juice Bar opened its all natural fruit and Greek Yogurt concoctions at 411 E. Pine St Suite E. Tikiyaki opened at 141 S. Filbert Road earlier this spring. Exeter Auto Supply is in the process of being bought out by the owners of Lemoore Auto Supply. On Sept. 1, former vendor Stacey O’Brien, along with husband James, purchased Pine Street Relics from long-time owners Kim Demyan and Judy Meyers. On July 1, Sheldon and Kathy Logan completed their purchase of Cappella CoffeeHouse from original owners Garth and Judy Ramsier. The Sugar Box Bake Shop opened its doors at 271 Pine St. on Aug. 2 when owner Anna and Jorge Alferez took their business from their home kitchen to downtown window displays.
There has also been a flurry of business outside of Exeter who have held ribbon cuttings to try and reach new customers in the City of Exeter. On Sept. 25, Family Builders Foster Care held a ribbon cutting at its Visalia office at 6500 S. Mooney Blvd. Johnnie Maya, owner of The Secret Garden in Lindsay, is holding a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. on Oct. 16 to launch his new venture JRM Productions, a videography/emcee company based out of 1094 Lindsay Blvd. in Lindsay. Exeter native Janice Borba is holding a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. on Oct. 30 for the newest location of her Bling Queen clothing and accessories boutique located at 611 W. Main St. In fact, the Exeter Chamber has ribbon cuttings nearly every week when you factor in relatively new businesses trying to re-establish their brand in town such as Blues, 134 S. C St. on Oct. 23, Just Sprouted, 114 N. E St. on Nov. 6, The Sugar Box Bake Shop on Nov. 13. For more information on holding a ribbon cutting, call the Exeter Chamber of Commerce at 559-592-2919.