NEWMAN - City officials will meet with property owners and residents within the first phase of annexation in the Northwest Newman project tonight (Thursday, Aug. 1) to update them on the project.

The meeting, which is open to all interested members of the public, begins at 6 p.m. in the Newman City Council chambers.

Northwest Newman is a 362-acre project which is a blend of residential, business park and commercial uses. The city initially plans to annex 121 acres, most of which is between Highway 33 and Fig Lane.

City Manager Michael Holland said the city’s annexation application is expected to go to the Local Agency Formation Commission, the land use agency better known as LAFCO, for consideration in October.

“It has been a while since that project has gone anywhere because we were stalled with the county in regard to property tax sharing. That has been resolved, and we want to bring in the property owners, give them a time line and update them,” Holland said.

The property included in the initial annexation is primarily earmarked for job-generating uses such as commercial and business park development. The city, which took over the planning about seven years ago after the project had faltered, estimates that 2,000 jobs will be generated in Northwest Newman.

“Our goal is always to bring jobs and commercial opportunity to the community. That is what Phase I does,” Holland explained.

A small portion of Phase I is designated for residential development, Holland said, but does not provide a significant opportunity for home-building.

“We discussed additional residential with some property owners out there with larger tracts of land. We decided that they could continue farming it in the interim,” Holland told Mattos Newspapers. “By leaving them out at this time they can continue to access CCID water and keep viable ag parcels.”

Northwest Newman is ultimately projected to generate up to 1,200 or more residential units of varying types, ranging from multi-family complexes to executive homes.

A school and parks would be among the eventual amenities.

Holland emphasized that no changes are being proposed to existing uses by property owners within the annexation area. He said the city will adopt implementation policies to ensure an orderly transition as properties do develop, and existing uses can continue as long as they are managed appropriately.

Development in the area will be market-driven, he added, and no property owners will be forced to develop.

The city’s role, he said, is to provide infrastructure to the area in preparation for development.

Part of that process, Holland noted, involves making improvements to Jensen Road to provide adequate access to the area.

“We will implement some interim measures on Jensen Road to Fig Lane and make sure we get the utilities in,” he said. “Then we’ll see what happens with property owners. We are not going to force property owners to develop, but if they want to we will help them the best we can.”