Lewis Griswold

Quay Valley, new town in the heart of California, gets a push from developer

Developer Quay Hays stands with a map showing land uses in Quay Valley, a proposed master-planned community in Kings County.
Developer Quay Hays stands with a map showing land uses in Quay Valley, a proposed master-planned community in Kings County. lgriswold@fresnobee.com

Quay Valley, a proposed master-planned community in Kings County along Interstate 5 north of the Kern County line, is moving closer to the environmental review stage and possibly closer to reality.

Last month, developer Quay Hays of Los Angeles submitted a community plan and related documents to the county about the futuristic city.

The planning department is waiting for additional information, including the financing master plan, before setting a date for a scoping session, said deputy director of planning Chuck Kinney.

To get a new community approved in Kings County involves a three-phase process – preliminary design plan, community plan and a specific plan – put into place after Hays first proposed Quay Valley several years ago.

Hays said he welcomes the environmental review process to answer questions about his “model town for the 21st century,” and hopes construction will begin in 2018.

Hays, who said he owns more than 5,000 acres at the site, calls the greater Central Valley “California 3.0.” (The Bay Area and Southern California are the first and second California, he said.)

“The last place for upward mobility in the state of California – the third California – is the Central Valley,” Hays said.

Hays has been showing a PowerPoint presentation about Quay Valley to journalists.

The proximity to Interstate 5 makes the site viable because so many people travel the corridor who could stop in, he said.

Quay Valley will have “22,000 state-of-the art modern, green and ‘smart’ homes in safe, walkable neighborhoods with a fully wired infrastructure,” he said.

Technology might make the standard electric bill an anachronism, he said: “There’s an abundance of solar energy in the Valley and California, so we should never have an electric bill.”

There would be “2 million square feet of high energy retail, three themed eco-resorts, retail, convention center, hotels, action adventure sports park, cultural center and gardens, festival grounds, lakeside amphitheater, sports complex, winery and spa, and gated attractions,” according to a fact sheet.

Additionally, there would be 14 elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools at full construction.

The community would cover 7,200 acres, and stretch out about five miles.

John Lehn, executive director of the Kings County Economic Development Corporation (which calls Kings County “the heart of California”), and Frank Gornick, chancellor of West Hills Community College District, support the project, Hays said.

Where would the water come from? The California Aqueduct.

“California Water Service plans to provide water for the full project consisting primarily of pre-1914 water and State Water Project water,” said Paul Townsley, vice president of corporate development at Cal Water, according to a news release issued by the developer.

No groundwater would be used and 95 percent of the water would be reused, Hays said.

The average home price would be $276,000, or about half the state average, he said. (The median home price in California costs $520,000, and in the Bay Area it’s $1.3 million, he said.)

“The biggest issue facing the state in regards to the threats facing the economic engines in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area is the affordability gap,” he said.

The target buyer is anyone “who wants to live in a walkable community,” he said. That includes “telecommuters and seniors who cashed out, Lemoore pilots and sailors, Quay Valley teachers, families and executives,” he said.

The first phase would be about 4,210 homes and 6 million square feet of commercial development that would create 1.4 permanent jobs per residence, he said.

Meanwhile, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a company developing high-speed people movers, has applied for a conditional use permit for a five-mile test track with a station at each end, and a technology research center at Quay Valley, Hays said.

Hays said he has toured Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita and other master-planned communities in California and around the world to learn “what worked and what didn’t work.”

His father and grandfather were developers in south Florida. He is the CEO of GROW Holdings LLC, of Los Angeles, an acronym for Green, Renewable, Organic and Water.

Jon Lash, president and chief operating officer, is the former chief operating officer of Pardee Homes who oversaw the development of 80,000 lots and 46,000 homes in 30 master-planned communities.

Dog’s life in Tulare

Last week, Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward introduced a dog named Fortune “as a member of the staff’ to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors.

Fortune is assigned to the Victim Witness Services Division to comfort children being interviewed by the Child Abuse Response Team. This year, the DA’s Office did 400 CART interviews.

“Primarily, we anticipate he will be utilized in settings to help child victims, child witnesses, be comforted through the process,” Ward said.

Fortune is named after Sgt. Maurice Fortune, who died in Iraq in 2004. He is a 15-month-old golden Labrador/golden retriever mix from Assistance Dogs of the West.

A grant and a donation from the Phil Cline Victim Witness Trust Fund is covering the costs.

The dog will live with the family of Jennifer Lightfoot, victim services program director.

Milestone in Corcoran

Pat Nolen has been elected to the Corcoran City Council. She is the first African American elected to the council.

Nolen is retired from the U.S. Post Office in Fresno. She is an Edison High graduate. She grew up on F Street near downtown Fresno before the neighborhood was razed in 1965 for industrial development.

She is a volunteer at First United Methodist Church where she runs the food bank. She and her husband Art Nolen, an Army veteran, also devote their energy to Veterans Outreach in Corcoran.

Lewis Griswold: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold