The first of 55 new homes planned for the neighborhood near Warrior Park in the city of Tehachapi is under construction.
The home will be a model for builder K. Hovnanian’s Tehachapi Hills community. According to the company’s website, prices for homes ranging from 1,927 to 2,401 square feet will start in the “lower $500s.”
The Tehachapi Hills development is in a subdivision originally known as Alta Estates. The 384-lot subdivision was approved in 2003 but the original developer went bankrupt during the economic crash of 2007-2008. The last two phases of the subdivision remain unbuilt and last year the city agreed to allow national builder K. Hovnanian to move forward with 55 homes.
The development is near the city’s southern border, west of Curry Street and north of Highline Road. The area has a view of the mountains to the south and the Tehachapi Valley. Once the current project is complete, about 195 unbuilt lots will remain in the 2003 subdivision.
The single-story home designs were approved by the Tehachapi Planning Commission last year. The developer is using the same plans at its West View Estates development in Lancaster. Exterior designs include hacienda, farmhouse and Spanish. Interior design options, according to the Tehachapi Hills website, include loft, farmhouse, classic and elements (described as a “standard look.”)
K. Hovnanian is a publicly traded company founded in New Jersey in 1959. Members of the founding family remain the company’s largest shareholder. The company is among the top 15 homebuilders in the U.S. in terms of both homebuilding revenues and home deliveries, according to its fact sheet.
The company’s Tehachapi Hills project is just one of several projects that the city last year cited as driving a resurgence in residential construction.
Although new homes have been built in Golden Hills, Stallion Springs, Bear Valley Springs and other unincorporated areas, there had been little building in the city of Tehachapi in recent years. At a meeting of the City Council last September, Development Services Director Jay Schlosser said only about 50 new homes had been built within the previous 10 years.
Around the same time, now Assistant City Manager Corey Costelloe reported at a meeting of the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council that just under 700 new homes were being planned — in addition to those in the Sage Ranch planned development.
Since then, other builders have made progress creating infrastructure for other residential developments, but the K. Hovnanian project is the first with a new home under construction within the city.
Sage Ranch, with 995 residential units in six phases to be built over seven years, was approved by the city last September. However, soon thereafter the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District filed a legal action challenging the adequacy of environmental review for the project. The city disputed the water district’s allegations and later requested the case be transferred to Sacramento Superior Court.
The parties to the litigation have agreed several times to extend the time to certify the administrative record. The case will be decided on that record, as dictated by the California Environmental Quality Act. The most recent extension filed with the court on July 15 extended the certification time to Sept. 13.
At the time, the judge assigned to the case was Stacy Boulware Eurie. However, on July 29 the case was reassigned to Judge Stephen Acquisto because Judge Boulware Eurie has been appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal.
Claudia Elliott is a freelance journalist and former editor of the Tehachapi News. She lives in Tehachapi and can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.