News

BUILDERS CONTINUE TO GIVE BACK TO A GROWING COMMUNITY AS SALES COME TO AN END

November, 2007

Mountain House, CA—The onset of fall season in the East Bay area brings with it a familiar sight, the 3rd Annual Harvest Day festival. Established three years ago by the original Mountain House builder group of Lennar, Pulte Homes and Centex Homes, the Harvest Day Festival has become synonymous with a growing community and the welcoming of new neighbors and friends. Mountain House residents are encouraged to invite their family and friends to showcase yearly milestones in the maturation of their new hometown.

This year’s festival was no different, homeowners and prospective buyers alike flocked to the communities newly opened Bethany Park to participate in an afternoon of pumpkin carving, carnival games, hay mazes, free music and food. Air-conditioned, luxury tour buses were also on hand all afternoon to take visitors to the beautiful model homes for each of the area’s 14 neighborhoods.

Music accompanied the delightful atmosphere, as KOIT 96.5-FM was available on-site, followed by a live band. Everyone enjoyed hot dogs, churros, pretzels and cold beverages. And, in addition to plenty of giveaways, the list of prizes included tickets to Great America, the San Francisco Zoo and more.

While families appreciated the good food, great fun and countless smiles of the Harvest Day Festival, one cannot help but appreciate the lifestyle this unique community provides. Convenient to all of the Bay Area, Mountain House is designed as an inclusive live/work/play environment. High quality K–8 schools in walking distance complement a vast number of parks and recreation opportunities. Business, shopping and a host of amenities are also planned for the near future to integrate seamlessly. Each distinctive neighborhood has charming streetscapes with captivating homes. Model homes are open daily.

Families can easily find their individual dream home at Mountain House. In its 14 for-sale neighborhoods, there is a wide selection of options for every family type. Floorplans, styles, number of rooms and types of design are just a few of the many choices. From townhomes to estate-size residences, with interiors ranging from 1,347 sq. ft. to 4,346 sq. ft., each individual taste is served.  Plus, with fine quality, superior appointments and excellent craftsmanship built into every beautiful home, lasting value is measured in generations.

Acacia, by Centex Homes, was one of the most anticipated new neighborhoods and still remains to be a visitor’s favorite. It features spacious, two-story homes from 2,645 sq. ft. to 3,176 sq. ft. Centex is also still offering a few remaining large, family-oriented homes in Cardona with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments. The recently opened Hawthorne provides comfortable homes with wonderful details for today’s young families.

One of Pulte Homes’ most recent neighborhoods, Wyndam, offers families 69 luxury estate sized homes ranging from 3,426 to 4,346 sq. ft. In addition, Cambridge Place is Mountain House’s only existing townhome neighborhood with two and three-bedroom designs up to 1,800 sq. ft., stainless steel appliances and attached two-car garages perfect for empty nesters looking to downsize while staying close to their extended families.

All six open Lennar communities provide a bevy of extras, perfect for any family size. Rutherford recently joined Palisades as the most recent of Lennar’s neighborhoods, which consist of Montaña, Cobblestone and Creston Park, with just a few remaining homes at Sereno.  Starting in the mid $500,000’s, Rutherford offers a number of lovely residential options with 2,481 sq. ft. to 2,968 sq. ft. of living space and four to five bedrooms. Lennar is one of the nation’s leaders in building quality homes for a price and value that many Mountain House owners are talking about.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call (866) 684-6873 or visit the website: www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


MOUNTAIN HOUSE SPREADS HOLIDAY CHEER TO NEW HOMEOWNERS AND ALL GUESTS

November, 2007

Mountain House, CA—Mountain House brings a joyous seasonal spirit to all with its unparalleled sense of community, beauty and old-fashioned values. Many families are beginning to create warm memories in their new homes while others are enjoying the opportunity to move in just before the holidays. And, as several villages welcome visitors to view the wonderful parks, marvelous landscaping and masterfully designed new homes, December’s festive feeling is everywhere.

Pride, satisfaction and overwhelming episodes of appreciation characterize all families in their first holiday season at Mountain House. New residents quickly discover why this is the ideal destination for those who cherish friendly neighbors, an attractive environment and exceptional leisure opportunities. The hometown charm is pervasive. And the delight is palpable among all.

As befits the season of giving, many villages have made moving in an easy, immediate option. Mountain House provides residents an ideal lifestyle where family and community are of prime importance. And right now, in several communities, new homeowners are invited to unpack their boxes and enjoy a glorious holiday in a beautiful residence. This is but a small example of the sharing, friendly atmosphere residents will treasure.

The terrific selection at Mountain House means the perfect home for every family is just around the corner. During this time of colored lights and hearty cheer, some new communities are open for viewing. In Altamont Village, the communities of Acacia, Creston Park and Wyndam have their welcome mats out. Guests can readily see the comprehensive quality and timeless appeal.

Mountain House has something for everyone. The perfect home for families of any size can be found here. From townhomes to estate-size residences, a wide selection of opportunities are available with exceedingly high quality. The incomparable fit and finish, the masterful architecture, exceptional amenities and large yards are just a few reasons the value is high and lasting. Plus, with fantastic parks, convenient schools and thoughtfully executed amenities, an endearing sense of community is easy to see.

Spearheaded by Trimark Communities LLC, creators of some of California’s most prized addresses, Mountain House deserves its laudable reputation for defining the gold standard. As envisioned, the heralded community will enjoy a “Main Street” promenade, shops and restaurants, business districts, active adult communities and much more. To complement these, sublime landscaping, welcoming parks and meditative walking trails will provide natural splendor.

Today’s families find all they need at Mountain House. The unmatched variety in size, style and price is just one facet to this praiseworthy community. Home prices begin in the high $300,000s. And currently, there are 14 for-sale neighborhoods with a spectrum of options. Interiors start at 1,367 square feet and graduate to 3,775 square feet with up to six bedrooms and four and a half baths. Lasting value, top-notch appointments and excellent craftsmanship are easily found in every beautiful home.

Acacia is Centex’s newest addition to Mountain House. It features spacious, two-story homes from 2,645 square feet to 3,176 square feet. Centex Homes is also proud to provide large, family-oriented homes with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments at Cardona and Marbella. These two neighborhoods feature some of the community’s biggest and grandest homes to date.

Creston Park is the most recent of Lennar’s neighborhoods, which consist of Bellshire, Creekside, Montaña, Sereno and Woodwinds. Their well-designed homes range from 1,347 square feet. As part of Lennar’s exclusive “Everything’s Included®,” every home comes with top-of-the-line appointments and features already installed including complete appliance packages, granite kitchen counters, plus washers and dryers. Every buyer has great appreciation for the “Everything’s Included®” feature since, as part of the home’s asking price, it makes the purchasing process easier.

One of Pulte Homes’ most recent neighborhoods, Wyndam offers families 69 homes ranging from 3,426 to 4,346 square feet. In addition, Cambridge Place is Mountain House’s first townhome neighborhood with two and three bedroom designs up to 1,800 square feet, stainless steel appliances, and attached two-car garages. Pulte Homes has also built the charming Terra Bella, featuring brand new, value-driven homes, and Amberlea, grand homes spanning 2,690 square feet to 3,187 square feet.

The 2006 holiday season doesn’t end with extraordinary homes, large yards and outstanding schools. The helpful staff and comprehensive resources at the Information Center will provide everything needed to find a dream home at Mountain House. The personal assistance and expert guidance is both helpful and pleasant. Plus, with a wealth of information available, the requirements for every family are met with ease.

With its hometown charm and warm community ambiance, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale above Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s cosmopolitan cities are within reach by SMART, ACE and BART transportation options.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call (866) 684-6873 or visit the website: www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


SECOND-ANNUAL HARVEST FESTIVAL BRINGS HUNDREDS TO MOUNTAIN HOUSE

October, 2007

Mountain House, CA—Mountain House’s second-annual Harvest Festival ended just a few days ago, yet it’s still the talk of the town. This successful event attracted hundreds of guests from throughout the Bay Area who came to enjoy a slice of old-fashioned Americana. As an established community with beautiful neighborhoods and a spacious, landscaped central park, Mountain House was the perfect host.

There was something for everyone to enjoy, including a pumpkin patch, a live band, games, prizes, food and autographs from Oakland A’s pro Vida Blue. Another highlight was a home/garden and crafts show. The high quality of vendors plus variety of family activities made this year’s event most memorable.

Enhanced by a picturesque fall day, the Harvest Festival offered a golden opportunity to showcase the current selection of outstanding residential opportunities within this spectacular master-planned community. Guests toured Mountain House’s current selection of beautiful residences offered by Lennar, Pulte Homes and Centex Homes, three of the nation’s top homebuilders. It’s not surprising to learn that the Harvest Festival created a lot of sales activity and interest.

Designed with a variety of today’s families in mind, buyers were most impressed by the outstanding array of residential opportunities offered here. In addition, buyers discovered tremendous overall value at Mountain House—more home for your hard-earned money. There’s so much here, including larger yards, parks and schools within walking distance, and a great community spirit.

In fact, with the great selection at Mountain House, you’ll find a home that’s perfect for you and your family here. From townhomes to estate-size residences, the variety of residential opportunities is simply unrivaled. You’ll also appreciate that you get more home for your money at Mountain House. Enhanced by an abundance of added value features, especially the larger yards, community parks and schools, and a sense of community pride, Mountain House stands as a unique find in today’s marketplace.

Considered a model for future communities, the spectacular Mountain House is the vision of Trimark Communities LLC, creators of some of California’s most prized addresses. With thoughtful consideration for Mountain House’s future amenities, plans call for a “Main Street” promenade, shops and restaurants, business districts, active adult communities and much more. Extensive landscaping, numerous regional and community parks plus walking trails will further enhance the overall charm and homespun feel of Mountain House.

With home prices starting in the high $300,000s and a superior mix of styles, sizes and prices, you’ll find your dream home at Mountain House. From townhomes to estate-style residences, Mountain House currently consists of 14 for-sale neighborhoods. Interiors span from approximately 1,367 square feet to 3,775 square feet of living space with up two six bedrooms and four and one-half baths. Offering enduring qualities that today’s families seek, every home is impeccably crafted to offer the utmost in comfort and livability day after day and for years to come.

Pulte Homes offers Cambridge Place, Mountain House’s first townhome neighborhood with two and three bedroom designs up to 1,800 square feet, stainless steel appliances, and attached two-car garages. In addition to Cambridge Place, Pulte Homes presents the charming Terra Bella, featuring brand new, value-driven homes, and Amberlea, grand homes spanning 2,690 square feet to 3,187 square feet.

Pulte’s newest additions are Avondale, from the high $500,000s, with homes measuring 1,999 square feet to 2,404 square feet, and Toscana, a collection of alluring homes from 2,781 to 3,362 square feet with three to five bedrooms.

Lennar’s neighborhoods consist of Bellshire, Creekside, Montaña, Sereno, Woodwinds, and the brand new Creston Park with well-designed homes from 1,347 square feet to 2,236 square feet. Featuring Lennar’s exclusive “Everything’s Included®,” every home comes with top-of-the-line appointments and features already installed including complete appliance packages, granite kitchen counters, plus washers and dryers. Buyers appreciate that the “Everything’s Included®” is part of the home’s asking price and makes the purchasing process easier.

Centex Homes offers large, family-oriented homes with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments at Cardona and Marbella. These two neighborhoods feature some of the community’s biggest and grandest homes to date. Acacia is Centex’s newest addition to Mountain House featuring spacious, two-story homes from 2,645 square feet to 3,176 square feet.

Just one convenient stop at Mountain House’s Information Center and you can save time and money while finding the home that meets your family’s needs. There is great information on each of the neighborhoods as well as qualified staff who can give you the personal attention you deserve.

With its hometown charm and warm community ambiance, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale above Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s cosmopolitan cities are within reach by SMART, ACE and BART transportation options.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call (866) 684-6873 or visit the website: www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


MOUNTAIN HOUSE WELCOMES AUTUMN WITH THIRD-ANNUAL HARVEST DAY FESTIVAL

September, 2007

Mountain House, CA—With beautiful homes, old-fashioned values and an unmatched sense of community, there is always something to celebrate at Mountain House. Now, the Bay Area’s most comprehensive new hometown has provided another. The third-annual Harvest Day Festival marked the arrival of fall this past Saturday, October 6, between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. in Bethany Park.

The festival exemplified the appealing spirit that pervades all of Mountain House with fun activities for the whole family. Lennar, Pulte Homes and Centex Homes, the premier homebuilders of this ideal community, sponsored carnival-style game booths. A pumpkin painting contest and hay maze reflected the joys of the new season. And all of the kids enjoyed a petting zoo, bounce slide and clowns who painted faces and created balloon animals.

Music accompanied the delightful atmosphere, as 96.5-FM KOIT was available on-site, followed by a live band. Everyone enjoyed hot dogs, churros, pretzels and cold beverages. And, in addition to plenty of giveaways, the list of prizes included tickets to Great America, the San Francisco Zoo and more.

While families appreciated the good food, great fun and countless smiles of the Harvest Day Festival, they were overjoyed with the lifestyle this unique community provides. Convenient to all of the Bay Area, Mountain House is designed as an inclusive live/work/play environment. High quality K–8 schools in walking distance complement a vast number of parks and recreation opportunities. Business, shopping and a host of amenities are planned to integrate seamlessly. And each distinctive neighborhood has charming streetscapes with captivating homes. Model homes are open daily.

Families find dream homes at Mountain House. In its 14 for-sale neighborhoods, there is a wide selection of options. Floorplans, styles, number of rooms and types of design are just a few of the many choices. From townhomes to estate-size residences, with interiors ranging from 1,347 sq. ft. to 4,346 sq. ft., each individual taste is served. Plus, with fine quality, superior appointments and excellent craftsmanship built into every beautiful home, lasting value is measured in generations.

Trimark Communities LLC, with their renowned expertise for thorough planning and unsurpassed vision, has set a new standard with Mountain House. Truly a town for the new millennium, its projected 40,000+ residents will enjoy cutting-edge telecommunications with high-speed internet and a community-wide intranet. Further, the invigorating location of this well-designed, self-contained community fosters a welcoming, neighborly spirit.

The newly opened Rutherford joins Palisades as the most recent of Lennar’s neighborhoods, which consist of Montaña, Sereno, Woodwinds and Creston Park. Starting in the low $600,000’s, Rutherford offers a number of lovely residential options with 2,481 sq. ft to 2,968 sq. ft. of living space and four to five bedrooms. Lennar is one of the nation’s leaders in building quality homes for all generations.

Acacia, by Centex Homes, is one of the most exciting neighborhoods. It features spacious, two-story homes from 2,645 sq. ft. to 3,176 sq. ft. Centex also offers large, family-oriented homes in Cardona with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments. And the recently opened Hawthorne provides comfortable homes with wonderful details for today’s families.

One of Pulte Homes’ most recent neighborhoods, Wyndam offers families 69 luxury homes ranging from 3,426 to 4,346 sq. ft. In addition, Cambridge Place is Mountain House’s only existing townhome neighborhood with two and three bedroom designs up to 1,800 square feet, stainless steel appliances and attached two-car garages.

The amiable staff and excellent resources at the Information Center are just two of the reasons families fall in love with Mountain House. Here, finding a dream home is simple and pleasant. Open daily 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., personal help is provided and, with expert guidance, the needs of every family are continuously met.

With its hometown charm and warm community ambiance, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale West of Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s cities are within easy reach by SMART, ACE and BART transportation options.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call (866) 684-6873 or visit the website: www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


SUMMER BRINGS CELEBRATION FOR RESIDENTS AND GUESTS OF MOUNTAIN HOUSE

July, 2007

Mountain House, CA—Joy, satisfaction and pride are evident throughout all of Mountain House this summer. Residents and guests alike are enjoying old-fashioned values in this new hometown. They have come together to celebrate Independence Day, a vibrant community and living the good life in a perfect environment.

The Fourth of July was a heartwarming demonstration of the strong ties between neighbors and the fulfilling happiness found only in Mountain House, USA. Residents of all ages put on a memorable parade that clearly delighted everyone. The country was honored and the community was exalted as family and friends enjoyed the holiday together. Lennar, Centex Homes and Pulte Homes—the premier homebuilders in Mountain House—participated as well, providing hot dogs and soft drinks for everyone.

This followed the outstanding success of June’s Ice Cream Social at Wicklund Village Park. Sponsored by Lennar, Centex Homes and Pulte Homes, the event brought homeowners, their families and guests together to share the inspiring spirit of this remarkable community. Ice cream, churros, popcorn and beverages were free to all, as were complimentary frisbees and kites. “The Wolf”, radio station 95.7 FM, played live music and gave out prizes, adding to the festive air. Reflecting the demonstrable buzz of the event, Congressman Jerry McNerney, who heard about the affair on the radio, asked to be included. He made an appearance and spoke to an appreciative crowd.

Adding to the uplifting mood was the culmination of the day’s exciting raffle. With an introduction to timeless architecture, brilliant design and a superior living experience, all visitors who toured a model home in Mountain House received raffle tickets. The sensational prize was a family fun getaway to San Diego, including passes to SeaWorld, Legoland and the San Diego Zoo, plus gas and lodging. Connie Ochoa and her family, Mountain House residents, were absolutely thrilled to win.

Dreams become reality for today’s families at Mountain House and the demand has reflected that. One neighborhood, Marbella by Centex Homes, has recently sold out. There are now 15 for-sale neighborhoods with a wide selection of options. Interiors ranging from 1,367 sq. ft. to 4,346 sq. ft. are available, with sizes, styles and number of rooms just a few of the many choices. Fine quality, superior appointments and excellent craftsmanship are part of every beautiful home, with lasting value built right in.

Trimark Communities LLC, with their renowned expertise for thorough planning and unsurpassed vision, has raised the bar with Mountain House. Truly a town for the new millennium, its projected 40,000+ residents will enjoy convenient schools and full-spectrum educational resources, in addition to a welcoming, neighborly spirit.

Palisades, by Lennar, is one of the recently opened communities in Mountain House.
With it’s several captivating included features, four bedrooms and at least three baths, starting in the low $600,000’s Lennar is sure to make some very tickled delighted and happy homeowners! Lennar is one of the nation’s leaders in building quality homes for all generations. Their thoughtfully designed homes in Mountain House range from 1,347 square feet to 4,021.

Acacia, by Centex Homes, has been receiving a lot of attention lately. It features spacious, two-story homes from 2,645 sq. ft. to 3,176 sq. ft. Centex Homes is also proud to provide large, family-oriented homes with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments at Cardona. The recently opened Hawthorne also presents comfortable homes with wonderful details for today’s families.

One of Pulte Homes’ most recent neighborhoods, Wyndam, offers families 69 luxury homes ranging from 3,426 to 4,346 sq. ft. In addition, Cambridge Place is Mountain House’s only existing townhome neighborhood with two and three-bedroom designs up to 1,800 square feet, stainless steel appliances and attached two-car garages.

The many families who fall in love with Mountain House are greeted and assisted by the amiable staff and excellent resources at the Information Center. Here, finding a dream home is simple and pleasant. Open daily 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., personal help is provided and, with expert guidance, the needs of every family are continuously met.

With its hometown charm and warm community ambiance, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale West of Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s cities are within easy reach by SMART, ACE and BART transportation options.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call (866) 684-6873 or visit the website: www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


NEW MOUNTAIN HOUSE HOME TOUR OFFERS CLUB MED VACATION IN MEXICO

July, 2007

Mountain House, CA—In addition to the gorgeous homes, warm neighbors and old-fashioned values at Mountain House, there is now another reason to visit: the chance to win a family vacation to Club Med, Ixtapa, Mexico. On Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19, the Bay Area’s most convenient and comprehensive new hometown will be hosting the Mountain House Passport Giveaway. The grand prize is an all-expenses paid trip for four to the Ixtapa Pacific Club Med.

Between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. each day, the Information Center of this vibrant, growing community will offer guests a “passport” to tour its 15 alluring neighborhoods. The outstanding work of three top national homebuilders—Lennar, Pulte Homes and Centex Homes—is featured in these beautiful enclaves. And as the sales office of each neighborhood welcomes visiting families, the passport is stamped by its respective homebuilder. Participants who return passports stamped by each homebuilder, with all contact information completed by 6:00 p.m. Sunday, are eligible to win.

The Ixtapa Pacific Club Med is a tropical blend of architecture and décor, where children enjoy the same exceptional treatment as parents. Kids of all ages benefit from specialized staff, exciting events and kid-friendly dining. Parents revel in the wide assortment of adventure, entertainment, spa treatments and world-class accommodations. Combined with the quaint charm and scenic allure of Ixtapa, the Club Med resort consistently creates memorable family vacations.

Participants also have the chance to win tickets to several popular area events. Runners-up will win admission to the Good Guys Car Show, the Altamont Raceway or local movie theaters. Each family is allowed one passport. Winners will be notified shortly after the conclusion of the Mountain House Passport Giveaway weekend.

There’s a home waiting for you and your family at Mountain House. Each of its 15 for-sale neighborhoods offers a wide selection of options. Floorplans, styles, number of rooms and types of design are just a few of the many choices. From townhomes to estate-size residences, with interiors ranging from 1,367 sq. ft. to 4,346 sq. ft., each individual taste is served.  Plus, with fine quality, superior appointments and excellent craftsmanship built into every beautiful home, lasting value is measured in generations.

Trimark Communities LLC, with their renowned expertise for thorough planning and unsurpassed vision, has set a new standard with Mountain House. Truly a town for the new millennium, its projected 40,000+ residents will enjoy convenient schools and full-spectrum educational resources. Further, its invigorating location and abundant parks foster a welcoming, neighborly spirit.

The newly opened Rutherford joins Palisades as the most recent of Lennar’s neighborhoods, which consist of Bellshire, Montaña, Sereno, Woodwinds and Creston Park. Starting in the low $600,000’s, Rutherford offers a number of lovely residential options with 2,481 sq. ft. to 2,968 sq. ft. of living space and four to five bedrooms. Lennar is one of the nation’s leaders in building quality homes for all generations.

Acacia, by Centex Homes, has been receiving a lot of attention lately. It features spacious, two-story homes from 2,645 sq. ft. to 3,176 sq. ft. Centex Homes is also proud to provide large, family-oriented homes with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments at Cardona. The recently opened Hawthorne is another option for comfortable homes with wonderful details for today’s families.

One of Pulte Homes’ most recent neighborhoods, Wyndam, offers families 69 luxury homes ranging from 3,426 to 4,346 sq. ft. In addition, Cambridge Place is Mountain House’s only existing townhome neighborhood with two and three-bedroom designs up to 1,800 sq. ft., stainless steel appliances and attached two-car garages. Other offerings from Pulte include the neighborhoods of Avondale, Toscana and Stratford.

The many families who fall in love with Mountain House are greeted and assisted by the amiable staff and excellent resources at the Information Center. Here, finding a dream home is simple and pleasant. Open daily 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., personal help is provided and, with expert guidance, the needs of every family are continuously met.

With its hometown charm and warm community ambiance, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale West of Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s cities are within easy reach by SMART, ACE and BART transportation options.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call (866) 684-6873 or visit the website: www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


GREAT ENERGY AT MOUNTAIN HOUSE AS PREPARATIONS BEGIN FOR A MEMORABLE SUMMER

May, 2007

Mountain House, CA—As more sunshine warms the air, Mountain House has flourished with an exciting array of opportunity and residential excellence. The Model Home Tour is now better than ever and customized for an ideal introduction. In June, families will learn of the countless highlights at a soon to be announced event. And now, with every wonderful neighborhood open, an extensive selection of outstanding living options awaits.

Quickly becoming known as the Bay Area’s most convenient and comprehensive new hometown, Mountain House has truly created the opportunity for a dream home for everyone. While the timeless architecture, inviting landscapes and beautiful environment is plain to see, visitors can learn about the wide assortment of superior choices—along with the extraordinary features of this fully integrated, masterplanned community—through the updated Model Home Tour.

Soon to be integrated with a sign program that offers ease and simplicity, this audio CD tour is tailored to meet the individual needs of each guest. Three custom tours—Cottage, Villa, and Estate—allow visitors to explore the most desirable homes by size, type, and style. The ability to stop and start this program provides ideal flexibility. Guests may spend time browsing the alluring schools and parks or linger in charming neighborhoods to appreciate the well-designed streets and attractive houses.

A fun spring event in early June will introduce guests to an integral part of Mountain House: the old-fashioned values of putting family and community first. These are a natural extension of the beautiful residences, exceptional planning and invigorating location uniquely found here. Three of the nation’s top builders—Lennar, Pulte Homes, and Centex Homes - have endowed every home with brilliant design and master craftsmanship. These anchor the thoughtfully executed amenities and forward-thinking character of this standout community. Mountain House is positioned to consistently grow in value and quality.

The eagerly anticipated neighborhood of Hawthorne by Centex Homes will have its grand opening shortly. Also located in Altamont Village, these premium homes have three plans with up to 2,655 square feet and four bedrooms. This neighborhood provides a wide array of options to young families in addition to outstanding convenience to the entire Bay Area. Now selling out of the Acacia sales office, Hawthorne is helping define Mountain House as almost priceless.

The meticulous planning and exceptional vision of Trimark Communities LLC, the creators of some of California’s most prized addresses, has resulted in the incomparable excellence of Mountain House. Poised to become the most desirable place to live and work in Northern California, this magnetic, self-contained residential community provides opportunities to work, shop, play, and relax.

Rutherford is the most recent of Lennar’s neighborhoods, which includes Cobblestone, Creston Park, Bellshire, Montaña, Palisades, and Sereno. Their thoughtfully designed homes range from 1,347 sq. ft. to 4,295 sq. ft. and are an excellent display of their commitment to customer satisfaction.

Hawthorne joins Acacia, Cardona, and Marbella as Centex Homes’ newest addition to Mountain House. Proudly providing large, family-oriented homes with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments, Centex Homes stands tall as one of the nation’s foremost builders.

Pulte Homes demonstrates its commitment to quality with Cambridge Place, Avondale, Toscana, Stratford, and Wyndam neighborhoods. Offering families gorgeous homes ranging from 1,260– 3,914 sq. ft., Pulte Homes takes pride in developing life long relationships for homeowner satisfaction.

As more families swoon with appreciation for the countless benefits of Mountain House, the demand has grown quickly. Fortunately, the amiable staff and excellent resources at the Information Center make finding a dream home here simple and pleasant. Personal assistance is provided and, with expert guidance, the needs of every family are continuously met.

With its hometown charm and warm community ambiance, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale West of Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s cities are within easy reach by SMART, ACE, and BART transportation options.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call 866-684-6873 or visit the website: www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


WARMER WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS ENDLESS SPORTS AND RECREATION CHOICES AT MOUNTAIN HOUSE

April, 2007

Mountain House, CA—With more sunlight every day and short sleeves replacing sweatshirts, all of the inviting parks, athletic fields, recreation centers and leisure opportunities at Mountain House are buzzing with activity. As the green grass, trees and plants coax residents to take advantage of the marvelous outdoor opportunities, a cheerful sense of play takes hold of everyone.

The new hometown of Mountain House is proud of old-fashioned values in a strong, vibrant community. And this is clearly demonstrated in every aspect of the environment. Relaxed parents chat while pushing strollers, admiring remarkable landscaping and attractive streetscapes. New friends exercise and socialize on meandering bike paths and walking trails. Families have day-long picnics in the neighborhood, community and regional parks, and kids from tots to teens create lasting memories in the diverse assortment of recreational choices.

As an important part of an active family’s lifestyle, Mountain House makes sports easy and convenient. Multi-purpose fields for softball or soccer anchor each village. Fabulous golf facilities are planned to delight many.

Even more notable, the possibilities are expanded with water-related options. Fishing platforms and boating on the Delta will provide an entirely different leisure experience. Serene afternoons near the creek are just a walk away. Eventually, observation points in 70 acres of protected terrain will allow for contemplative moments in nature’s habitat.

Designed to be a fully integrated and self-contained masterplanned community, the timeless architecture and brilliantly designed homes of Mountain House are just the beginning. A multitude of services contribute to every resident’s ease and comfort, including high-speed internet access, making telecommunications a luxury that everyone will enjoy. A magnetic Town Center will mean shopping, business, social and civic functions are conveniently comprehensive. Plus, with its superior location in the rolling hills of Altamont, all of Northern California is refreshingly accessible.

Employing their renowned expertise for thorough planning and unsurpassed vision, Trimark Communities LLC has set the gold standard with Mountain House. Truly a town for the new millennium, its projected 40,000+ residents will enjoy convenient schools and full-spectrum educational resources, in addition to a welcoming, neighborly spirit.

Buyers consistently remark how the fine quality and thoughtful design of each home creates superb value. Built by three of the nation’s top homebuilders, Lennar, Pulte Homes and Centex Homes, the residential opportunities at Mountain House are extraordinarily attractive, practical, comfortable, and lasting. Regularly defined by proud owners, happy families and a dynamic, synergistic lifestyle, the entire community has developed an unparalleled reputation.

Dreams become reality for today’s families at Mountain House. There are currently 14 for-sale neighborhoods with a wide selection of options. Interiors ranging from 1,367 sq. ft. to 4,346 sq. ft. are available, with sizes, styles, and number of rooms just a few of the many choices. Brilliant design, superior appointments and excellent craftsmanship are part of every beautiful home.

Palisades is the most recent of Lennar’s neighborhoods, which consist of Bellshire, Montaña, Sereno, Woodwinds, and Creston Park. Another, Rutherford, is on the way April 14. Palisades has several captivating residential options with four bedrooms and at least three baths, starting at $759,900. Lennar is one of the nation’s leaders in building quality homes for all generations. Their thoughtfully designed homes range from 1,347 sq. ft. to 2,406 sq. ft.

Acacia is Centex’s newest addition to Mountain House. It features spacious, two-story homes from 2,645 sq. ft. to 3,176 sq. ft. Centex Homes is also proud to provide large, family-oriented homes with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments at Cardona and Marbella. These two neighborhoods feature some of the community’s biggest and grandest homes to date.

One of Pulte Homes’ most recent neighborhoods, Wyndam offers families 69 homes ranging from 3,426 to 4,346 sq. ft. In addition, Cambridge Place is Mountain House’s first townhome neighborhood with two and three bedroom designs up to 1,800 square feet, stainless steel appliances, and attached two-car garages. Other Pulte communities include, Stratford, Avondale, and Toscana.

As more families swoon with appreciation for the countless benefits of Mountain House, the demand has grown quickly. Fortunately, the amiable staff and excellent resources at the Information Center make finding a dream home here simple and pleasant. Open daily 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., personal assistance is provided and, with expert guidance, the needs of every family are continuously met.

With its hometown charm and warm community ambiance, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale east of Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s cities are within easy reach by SMART, ACE, and BART transportation options.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call (866) 684-6873 or visit the website: www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


NEW NEIGHBORHOODS AND SPRING FLOWERS OPEN WITH EXUBERANCE AT MOUNTAIN HOUSE

March, 2007

Mountain House, CA—With temperatures on the rise, there is a tangible sense of energy, opportunity and vibrancy at Mountain House. Visitors are discovering an alluring array of new homes in dynamic neighborhoods. And, as colors bloom throughout the many parks and luxurious landscaping, families are taking advantage of this ideal hometown’s myriad of benefits.

Old-fashioned values are on full display as parents walk children to school, teams play sports on well-groomed fields and neighbors meet to relax and socialize. The impressive combination of beautifully executed architecture and carefully planned amenities provides an inviting foundation that has made Mountain House a thriving, incomparable masterplanned community.

Designed to be self-contained and fully integrated, Mountain House offers a multitude of services to make life easy and convenient for all residents. Its comprehensive technology plan provides all homeowners with high-speed internet access and a special community-wide intranet, that enables access to children’s schools and in-town businesses without using the phone.

Given the outstanding quality built into every home and the expert design of the entire community, it’s no surprise buyers find excellent value. Mountain House has rekindled and redefined the concept of a hometown by providing a vibrant, synergistic lifestyle for all. Families and neighbors are celebrated as much as the attractive homes, safe streets and natural splendor.

Open now and invitingly sophisticated, Toscana by Pulte Homes brings estate-style homes with up to four bedrooms and 3,362 square feet. The light-filled interiors with private spaces and elegant style provide the perfect domestic destination for multiple generations. The tree-filled parks, wonderful trails and nearby elementary school make Toscana a pleasurable residential choice for years to come.

The masterplanned community of Mountain House boasts a never-ending list of superior characteristics. From townhomes to estate-size residences, a wide assortment of opportunities are available with unparalleled quality and magnetic charm. The appealing neighborhoods and sense of community are complemented by plans for an abundance of recreation centers, business options, integrated services and perfectly situated schools.

Trimark Communities LLC, the creators of some of California’s most prized addresses, has raised the bar with Mountain House. Their meticulous planning and exceptional vision have resulted in the optimal town of the new millennium. As a pleasing, self-contained residential community, the opportunities to work, shop, play and relax are endless. A Town Center will act as a social, retail and communication hub for a projected population of over 43,000 residents. Plus, its emphasis on convenient schools and full-spectrum educational resources is highly notable.

Dreams become reality for today’s families at Mountain House. There are currently 14 for-sale neighborhoods with a wide selection of options. Interiors ranging from 1,367 sq. ft. to 4,346 sq. ft. are available, with sizes, styles, number of rooms and amenities just a few of the many choices. Lasting value, superior appointments and excellent craftsmanship are easily found in every beautiful home.

Cobblestone is the most recent of Lennar’s neighborhoods, which consist of Bellshire, Montaña, Sereno, Woodwinds and Creston Park. Two more additions are coming soon, Palisades and Rutherford. Their thoughtfully designed homes range from 1,347 sq. ft. to 2,406 sq. ft. Lennar is one of the nation’s leaders in building quality homes for all generations.

Acacia is Centex’s newest addition to Mountain House. It features spacious, two-story homes from 2,645 sq. ft. to 3,176 sq. ft. Centex Homes is also proud to provide large, family-oriented homes with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments at Cardona and Marbella. These two neighborhoods feature some of the community’s biggest and grandest homes to date.

One of Pulte Homes’ most recent neighborhoods, Wyndam, offers families 69 homes ranging from 3,426 to 4,346 sq. ft. In addition, Cambridge Place is Mountain House’s first townhome neighborhood with two and three-bedroom designs up to 1,800 square feet, stainless steel appliances and attached two-car garages.

As more families swoon with appreciation for the countless benefits of Mountain House, the demand has grown quickly. Fortunately, the amiable staff and excellent resources at the Information Center make finding a dream home here simple and pleasant. Open daily 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., personal assistance is provided and, with expert guidance, the needs of every family are continuously met.

With its hometown charm and warm community ambiance, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale East of Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s cities are within easy reach by SMART, ACE and BART transportation options.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call (866) 684-6873 or visit the website: www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


THE NEW HOMETOWN OF MOUNTAIN HOUSE CAPTURES HEARTS AND CHARMS ALL

January, 2007

Mountain House, CA—Romance is in the air at Mountain House with an irresistible sense of community among families and neighbors. Redefining the concept of an ideal hometown, visitors are enchanted by the variety of handsome homes, wondrous parks and natural splendor.

Visitors immediately notice the allure of old-fashioned values in a modern domestic destination. Children walk to school, families enjoy bike paths and couples stroll alongside the creek with safe, comfortable ease. And as an artfully integrated living environment, vast business and employment opportunities provide perfect balance.

Homeowners fall in love with the beautiful residences offered by three of the nation’s top homebuilders: Lennar, Pulte Homes and Centex Homes. From the elegant landscaping and masterful design to the premier construction and assortment of options, Mountain House has dream homes for families of any size.

With the quality and distinction built into every home, buyers discover remarkable value. This comprehensive community provides an attractive, integrated lifestyle for everyone. Given its convenient location, Mountain House is a hometown that many define as priceless.

After great anticipation, Cobblestone by Lennar will open February 3. As the newest addition to Mountain House, this neighborhood provides a wide array of options to young families, including 5 distinctive floorplans of both single and double story homes. Offering living space from 1,655 square feet to 2,406 square feet in architecturally refined homes, Cobblestone is an ideal location for savvy homebuyers.

The residents, visitors, business owners and guests of Mountain House regularly boast of this masterplanned community’s superior characteristics. From townhomes to estate-size residences, a wide selection of opportunities are available with exceedingly high quality. The recreation centers, multitude of services and top-notch parks are thoroughly desirable. And there is an immeasurable appeal seeing family and community come first among residents.

Trimark Communities LLC, the creators of some of California’s most prized addresses, has raised the bar with Mountain House. Their meticulous planning and exceptional vision have resulted in the optimal town of the new millennium. As a pleasing, self-contained residential community, the opportunities to work, shop, play and relax are endless. A Town Center will act as a social, retail and communication hub for a projected population of over 43,000 residents. Plus, its emphasis on nearby schools and full-spectrum educational resources is highly notable.

Dreams become reality for today’s families at Mountain House. There are currently 14 for-sale neighborhoods with a wide selection of options. Interiors ranging from 1,367 square feet to 4,346 square feet are available, with sizes, styles, number of rooms and amenities just a few of the many choices. Lasting value, superior appointments and excellent craftsmanship are easily found in every beautiful home.

Cobblestone is the most recent of Lennar’s neighborhoods, which consist of Bellshire, Montaña, Sereno and Woodwinds. Their thoughtfully designed homes range from 1,347 square feet to 2,406 square feet. As part of Lennar’s exclusive “Everything’s Included®,” every home comes with top-of-the-line appointments and installed features including complete appliance packages, granite kitchen counters, plus washers and dryers. Buyers appreciate the “Everything’s Included®” feature since, as part of the home’s asking price, it makes the purchasing process easier.

Acacia is Centex’s newest addition to Mountain House. It features spacious, two-story homes from 2,645 square feet to 3,176 square feet. Centex Homes is also proud to provide large, family-oriented homes with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments at Cardona and Marbella. These two neighborhoods feature some of the community’s biggest and grandest homes to date.

One of Pulte Homes’ most recent neighborhoods, Wyndam offers families 69 homes ranging from 3,426 to 4,346 square feet. In addition, Cambridge Place is Mountain House’s first townhome neighborhood with two and three bedroom designs up to 1,800 square feet, stainless steel appliances, and attached two-car garages.

As more families swoon with appreciation for the countless benefits of Mountain House, the demand has grown quickly. Fortunately, the amiable staff and excellent resources at the Information Center make finding a dream home here simple and pleasant. Personal assistance is provided and, with expert guidance, the needs of every family are continuously met.

With its hometown charm and warm community ambiance, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale East of Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s cities are within easy reach by SMART, ACE and BART transportation options.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call (866) 684-6873 or visit the website: www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


Mountain House Close to Northern California's Great Destinations

August, 2006

MOUNTAIN HOUSE, CA—Mountain House is the perfect place to live when it comes to weekend getaways, summer vacations or a simple day outing with family and friends. With easy access to the 205 and 580 freeways, the best of Northern California’s great destinations are close to home. For families who now call Mountain House home, many are taking advantage of this as they enjoy a last blast getaway before summer vacation comes to an end.

Virtually every recreational activity is within reach. A popular place is the Delta, and Mountain House is within the south Delta region. There are 1,000 miles of navigable waterways. Everything under the sun is here – boating, fishing, RV and camping, water skiing, cruise excursions, canoeing and kayaking, windsurfing, golf, berry picking, bird watching and much more including a variety of lodging at the marinas. One click to californiadelta.org will give you all the information you need to pack up and go and have a lot of fun.

For a weekend outing, head directly east of Mountain House and in less than 2 hours you’ll find the Sierra Nevadas, Gold Country, and Yosemite National Park. From historic gold mining to vast natural beauty, there’s something here for every member of the family.

Just northeast of Livermore off I-580, Bethany Reservoir State Recreation Area is right in Mountain House’s backyard. In addition to the water activities offered here, there are bike trails for the cycling enthusiast. This is also a great place to simply get outside and enjoy a picnic. (www.parks.ca.gov)

There’s a home waiting for you and your family at Mountain House. This beautiful master-planned community was created to offer a variety of residential opportunities. From townhomes to estate-size residences, you’ll find a floorplan and price range that matches your individual preferences. Enhanced by a wonderful community environment, Mountain House is considered one of Northern California’s best places to live.

Mountain House currently consists of 14 for-sale neighborhoods by three of the nation’s most esteemed homebuilders, Lennar, Pulte Homes and Centex Homes. With home prices starting in the low $400,000s, you get more home for your money at Mountain House.

Throughout Mountain House you’ll find an abundance of added value as well –larger yards, community parks and schools, and old-fashioned neighborhood charm. Every home is impeccably crafted to offer the utmost in comfort and livability day after day and for years to come.

Mountain House’s Bethany Village offers townhomes, one-and two-story “move-up” floorplans, plus estate-style homes. Interiors span from approximately 1,367 square feet to 3,775 square feet of living space with up two six bedrooms and four and one-half baths.

Pulte Homes offers Cambridge Place, Mountain House’s first townhome neighborhood with two and three bedroom designs up to 1,800 square feet, stainless steel appliances, and attached two-car garages. In addition to Cambridge Place, Pulte Homes presents charming Terra Bella, featuring brand-new, value-driven homes, and the highly successful Amberlea and Gable Lane, both offering single-family residences.

Lennar’s neighborhoods consist of Bellshire, Creekside, Montaña, Sereno, and Woodwinds. Featuring Lennar’s exclusive “Everything’s Included®,” every home comes with top-of-the-line appointments and features already installed including complete appliance packages, granite kitchen counters, plus washers and dryers. Buyers appreciate that the “Everything’s Included®” is part of the home’s asking price and makes the purchasing process easier.

Centex Homes offers large, family-oriented homes with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments at both Cardona and Marbella. These two neighborhoods feature some of the community’s biggest and grandest homes to date. The stunning models at Marbella are now open.

Three new single-family neighborhoods recently celebrated their grand opening at Mountain House. Pulte Homes presents Avondale and Toscana, now open for information. Avondale’s charming homes range from 1,999 to 2,404 square feet with three to five bedrooms. The alluring Toscana offers big interiors measuring 2,781 to 3,362 square feet with three to five bedrooms. In addition, Centex Homes has just unveiled the beautiful Acacia featuring large two-story homes ranging from 2,645 to 3,176 square feet.

There are 14 amazing neighborhoods and 36 model homes at Mountain House! Just one stop at Mountain House’s Information Center and you can save time, money and even find the home of your dreams. There is plenty of information on each of the neighborhoods as well as sales professionals who can give you the personal attention you deserve. Look for directional signs just off Mountain House Parkway (off the 580 Freeway) to guide you to the Information Center.

Enhanced by irresistible, hometown charm, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale. Set against a picturesque backdrop of the East Bay’s rolling foothills, Mountain House is centrally located above Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s

cosmopolitan cities are within reach by SMART, ACE and BART transportation options.

Considered a model for future communities, the spectacular Mountain House is the vision and careful planning of Trimark Communities LLC, creators of some of California’s most prized addresses. With meticulous consideration for Mountain House’s future amenities, plans call for a “Main Street” promenade, shops and restaurants, business districts, active adult communities and much more. Extensive landscaping, numerous regional and community parks plus walking trails will further enhance the overall charm and homespun feel of Mountain House.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call 866-684-6873 or visit the website:  www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


Mountain House to Host "Great Escape" Sales Event Today, June 24

June, 2006

MOUNTAIN HOUSE, CA—Summer is here and it’s time to think about the great outdoors, backyard barbecues, and family vacations. Mountain House kicks off the season with its exciting “Great Escape” event today, Saturday, June 24 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Bring the family and friends and enjoy the day at Mountain House. From games and refreshments to tours of the 36 model homes, special incentives and a drawing for a trip to Disneyland, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Mountain House’s beautiful community setting is the perfect place for a summer event. There will be a variety of fun activities, prizes and refreshments at the community’s spacious park, Wicklund Village Park. A tour of Mountain House’s model homes will highlight the day’s festivities. By touring the models, you will become eligible for the grand prize, a weekend trip to Disneyland. In addition, special purchasing incentives will be offered for this weekend only.

This is a great opportunity to see first hand why Mountain House is regarded as one of the East Bay’s most desirable places to live. The value for a brand new home at Mountain House is simply unbeatable. Residents enjoy an outstanding quality of life here where children attend the county’s top elementary school, according to the California Board of Education’s just released yearly Academic Report Index.

Mountain House currently consists of 14 neighborhoods by three of the nation’s most esteemed homebuilders, Lennar, Pulte Homes and Centex Homes. The variety of designs and price ranges affords so many families the opportunity to live in an established, thriving master-planned community without compromising goals and priorities. With home prices starting in the low $400,000s, you get more home for your money at Mountain House.

Whether you’re a first time homeowner, a growing family, or looking to live close to your grandchildren, Mountain House has a home designed with your needs in mind. Throughout Mountain House you’ll find an abundance of added value as well – larger yards, community parks and schools, and old-fashioned neighborhood charm. Every home is impeccably crafted to offer the utmost in comfort and livability day after day and for years to come.

There’s no need to drive around when you can find your dream home with just one stop to Mountain House. Come visit this weekend, have some fun, and discover a community of grand wonders.

Mountain House’s Bethany Village offers townhomes, one-and two-story “move-up” floor plans, plus estate-style homes. Interiors span from approximately 1,367 sq. ft. to 3,775 sq. ft. of living space with up two six bedrooms and four and one-half baths. Starting prices range from low $400,000s to the high $700,000s.

Pulte Homes just opened Cambridge Place, Mountain House’s first townhome neighborhood with two and three bedroom designs with up to 1,800 square feet, stainless steel appliances, and attached two-car garages. In addition to Cambridge Place, Pulte Homes presents the charming Terra Bella, featuring brand new, value-driven homes, and the highly successful Amberlea and Gable Lane, both offering single-family residences.

Lennar’s neighborhoods consist of Bellshire, Creekside, Montaña, Sereno, and Woodwinds. Featuring Lennar’s exclusive “Everything’s Included®,” every home comes with top-of-the-line appointments and features already installed including complete appliance packages, granite kitchen counters, plus washers and dryers. Buyers appreciate that the “Everything’s Included®” is part of the home’s asking price and makes the purchasing process easier.

Centex Homes offers large, family-oriented homes with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments at both Cardona and Marbella. These two neighborhoods feature some of the community’s biggest and grandest homes to date. The stunning models at Marbella are now open.

Mountain House will soon welcome its newest additions to the community – Pulte Homes’ Avondale and Toscana. Avondale’s charming homes range from 1,999 to 2,404 sq. ft. with three to five bedrooms. The alluring Toscana offers big interiors measuring 2,781 to 3,362 sq. ft. with three to five bedrooms. Centex Homes is gearing up for its debut of Acacia. All three are opening soon.

There are an amazing 14 neighborhoods and 36 model homes at Mountain House. Just one stop at Mountain House’s Welcome Center and you can save time, money and even find the home of your dreams. There is plenty of information on each of the neighborhoods as well as sales professionals who can give you the personal attention you deserve. Look for directional signs just off the Mountain House Parkway (off the 580 Freeway) to guide you to the Welcome Center.

Beaming with irresistible, hometown charm, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale. Set against a picturesque backdrop of the East Bay’s rolling foothills, Mountain House is centrally located above Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s cosmopolitan cities are within reach by SMART, ACE and BART transportation options.

Considered a model for future communities, the spectacular Mountain House is the vision and careful planning of Trimark Communities LLC, creators of some of California’s most prized addresses. With meticulous consideration for Mountain House’s future amenities, plans call for a “Main Street” promenade, shops and restaurants, business districts, active adult communities and much more.

Extensive landscaping, numerous regional and community parks plus walking trails will further enhance the overall charm and homespun feel of Mountain House.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call 866-684-6873 or visit the website:  www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


MOUNTAIN HOUSE SHINED AS THE ULTIMATECOMMUNITY DURING SUMMER EVENT

June, 2006

MOUNTAIN HOUSE, CA—Last month’s “Great Escape” event at Mountain House marked another success for this spectacular master-planned community. The summer sales festival, that featured family activities, tours of the model homes and a drawing for a Disneyland vacation, attracted hundreds of residents, guests and homebuyers for a day of old-fashioned, hometown fun. As host for this event, Mountain House beamed as the ultimate place to live and enjoy a quality of life.

Set against beautiful rolling foothills and a clear blue sky, the day was simply picture perfect. Festivities were held at Mountain House’s expansive Wicklund Village Park, located in the heart of the community and next to the top-ranked Wicklund Elementary School. A Disneyland getaway was the day’s grand prize, and a very happy Mountain House family won the trip.

The summer event is just one of the many social gatherings that Mountain House sponsors and organizes. The traditional and very popular “Fall Festival” will be held in October and promises to be the best one yet with children’s activities, games, food, and an array of informative home-oriented vendors.

The festivals offer the ideal opportunity to tour each of the Mountain House neighborhoods and discover the thoughtful selection, quality and affordability that make it possible for a variety of people to live here. In just one visit, it’s easy to see why so many people are inspired by the great value and sense of community here and decide to make Mountain House their new home.

There’s no need to wait for the next community event to discover Mountain House. Come visit this weekend and see for yourself why Mountain House is regarded as one of the East Bay’s most desirable places to live. When compared to other new home communities throughout the East Bay, you’ll find that the value for a brand new home at Mountain House is unbeatable.

Mountain House currently consists of 14 neighborhoods by three of the nation’s most esteemed homebuilders, Lennar, Pulte Homes and Centex Homes. The variety of designs and price ranges afford so many families the opportunity to live in an established, thriving master-planned community offering a quality lifestyle and community spirit. With home prices starting in the low $400,000s, you get more home for your money at Mountain House.

Whether you’re a first time homeowner, a growing family, or looking to live close to your grandchildren, Mountain House has a home designed with your needs in mind. Throughout Mountain House you’ll find an abundance of added value as well – larger yards, community parks and schools, and old-fashioned neighborhood charm. Every home is impeccably crafted to offer the utmost in comfort and livability day after day and for years to come.

Mountain House’s Bethany Village offers townhomes, one-and two-story “move-up” floor plans, plus estate-style homes. Interiors span from approximately 1,367 sq. ft. to 3,775 sq. ft. of living space with up two six bedrooms and four and one-half baths. Starting prices range from low $400,000s to the high $800,000s.

Pulte Homes offers Cambridge Place, Mountain House’s first townhome neighborhood with two and three bedroom designs with up to 1,800 square feet, stainless steel appliances, and attached two-car garages. In addition to Cambridge Place, Pulte Homes presents the charming Terra Bella, featuring brand new, value-driven homes, and the highly successful Amberlea and Gable Lane, both offering single-family residences.

Lennar’s neighborhoods consist of Bellshire, Creekside, Montaña, Sereno, and Woodwinds. Featuring Lennar’s exclusive “Everything’s Included®,” every home comes with top-of-the-line appointments and features already installed including complete appliance packages, granite kitchen counters, plus washers and dryers. Buyers appreciate that the “Everything’s Included®” is part of the home’s asking price and makes the purchasing process easier.

Centex Homes offers large, family-oriented homes with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments at both Cardona and Marbella. These two neighborhoods feature some of the community’s biggest and grandest homes to date. The stunning models at Marbella are now open.

Three new single-family neighborhoods recently celebrated their grand opening at Mountain House. Pulte Homes presents Avondale and Toscana, now open for information. Avondale’s charming homes range from 1,999 to 2,404 sq. ft. with three to five bedrooms. The alluring Toscana offers big interiors measuring 2,781 to 3,362 sq. ft. with three to five bedrooms. In addition, Centex Homes has just unveiled the beautiful Acacia featuring large two-story homes ranging from 2,645 to 3,176 sq. ft.

There are an amazing 14 neighborhoods and 36 model homes at Mountain House! Just one stop at Mountain House’s Welcome Center and you can save time, money and even find the home of your dreams. There is plenty of information on each of the neighborhoods as well as sales professionals who can give you the personal attention you deserve. Look for directional signs just off the Mountain House Parkway (off the 580 Freeway) to guide you to the Welcome Center.

Enhanced by irresistible, hometown charm, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale. Set against a picturesque backdrop of the East Bay’s rolling foothills, Mountain House is centrally located above Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s cosmopolitan cities are within reach by SMART, ACE and BART transportation options.

Considered a model for future communities, the spectacular Mountain House is the vision and careful planning of Trimark Communities LLC, creators of some of California’s most prized addresses. With meticulous consideration for Mountain House’s future amenities, plans call for a “Main Street” promenade, shops and restaurants, business districts, active adult communities and much more. Extensive landscaping, numerous regional and community parks plus walking trails will further enhance the overall charm and homespun feel of Mountain House.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call 866-684-6873 or visit the website: www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


Mountain House Boasts One of The County's Top Elementary Schools

May, 2006

MOUNTAIN HOUSE, CA—Mountain House has added a new accolade to its list of distinctions. Mountain House’s Wicklund Elementary ranked 5th out of 132 elementary schools in San Joaquin County, according to the California Board of Education’s just released Academic Report Index. This is an annual reporting system that is based on performance data, and is used to measure the quality of all K–12 public schools throughout the state.

Wicklund Elementary has been opened for one year. With quality of education a top priority among today’s families, the report was good news for Mountain House residents. Mountain House’s thoughtful consideration to a range of excellent residential opportunities plus outstanding amenities, including schools, enhances the overall quality of life here.

With its peaceful setting against the eastern foothills and strong sense of community, Wicklund Elementary is an easy walk for most of the community’s grade school children. A large park and social pavilion are also complete and offer families the luxury of recreation so close to home. Combined with Mountain House’s remarkable value for a brand new home, it’s easy to see why so many buyers find Mountain House one of the East Bay’s best places to live and raise a family.

If lifestyle and good schools are a priority for you, come discover all the distinctions unique to Mountain House. There’s a home here designed with you and your family in mind. You’ll be impressed by the variety of styles, floor plans, and prices. You’ll also love the extra care and attention to detail that went into making Mountain House so special.

Three of Northern California’s most esteemed homebuilders, Lennar, Centex Homes, and Pulte Homes, have come together to build one extraordinary community to meet the needs of today’s buyers with affordable homes, comfort and livability.

You get more home for your money at Mountain House. Currently, Bethany Village offers townhomes, one-and two-story “move-up” floor plans, plus estate-style homes. Interiors span from approximately 1,299 sq. ft. to 4,295 sq. ft. of living space with up two six bedrooms and four and one-half baths. Pulte Homes just opened Cambridge Place, Mountain House’s first townhome neighborhood with two and three bedroom designs with up to 1,800 square feet, stainless steel appliances, and attached two-car garages.

Throughout Mountain House you’ll find an abundance of added value as well–larger yards, community parks and schools, and old-fashioned neighborhood charm. Prices start in the low $400,000s and go up to the $700,000s.

In addition to Cambridge Place, Pulte Homes presents the charming Terra Bella, featuring brand new, value-driven homes, and the highly successful Amberlea and Gable Lane, both offering single-family residences.

Lennar’s neighborhoods consist of Bellshire, Creekside, Montaña, Sereno, and Woodwinds. Featuring Lennar’s exclusive “Everything’s Included®,” every home comes with top-of-the-line appointments and features already installed including complete appliance packages, granite kitchen counters, plus washers and dryers. Buyers appreciate that the “Everything’s Included®” is part of the home’s asking price and makes the purchasing process easier.

Centex Homes offers large, family-oriented homes with well-defined living spaces and upscale appointments at both Cardona and Marbella. These two neighborhoods feature some of the community’s biggest and grandest homes to date. The stunning models at Marbella are now open.

There are an amazing 12 neighborhoods and 36 model homes at Mountain House. Just one stop at Mountain House’s Welcome Center and you can save time, money and even find the home of your dreams. There is plenty of information on each of the neighborhoods as well as sales professionals who can give you the personal attention you deserve. Look for directional signs just off the Mountain House Parkway (off the 580 Freeway) to guide you to the Welcome Center.

Beaming with irresistible, hometown charm, Mountain House is in an ideal Northern California locale. Set against a picturesque backdrop of the East Bay’s rolling foothills, Mountain House is centrally located above Tracy. Bordered by the 205 and 580 Freeways and just 20 minutes from the Delta, the area’s cosmopolitan cities are within reach by SMART, ACE and BART transportation options.

Considered a model for future communities, the spectacular Mountain House is the vision and careful planning of Trimark Communities LLC, creators of some of California’s most prized addresses. With meticulous consideration for Mountain House’s future amenities, plans call for a “Main Street” promenade, shops and restaurants, business districts, active adult communities and much more. Extensive landscaping, numerous regional and community parks plus walking trails will further enhance the overall charm and homespun feel of Mountain House.

Come be a part of a dynamic community! Mountain House is located on Mountain House Parkway, north of the 205 Freeway at the junction of the 580 Freeway. Follow signs to the Mountain House Welcome Center for a guide to the neighborhood that is right for you. Call 866-684-6873 or visit the website: www.MountainHouse.net for more information.


MOUNTAIN HOUSE: THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

November, 2004

MOUNTAIN HOUSE, CA—Drive through the neighborhoods of Wicklund, Mountain House’s first village, and you’ll see smiling children, happy families, and neighbors who have become friends. All came here for similar reasons—chief among them: homeownership in a warm, community-oriented new town that combines a nostalgic outlook with a fresh new perspective.

Mountain House, developed by Trimark Communities, LLC, was years in the planning stages as the developers crafted and refined plans for an environment that would soon redefine the idea of master planned living in Northern California and serve as a model nationwide.

“The story of Mountain House for us really translates as a lesson in going for it rather than holding back, striving rather than compromising,” said Eric Teed-Bose, Director of Community Development for Trimark Communities. “We had big plans, big dreams for this community, and we are so incredibly proud now to look at what has been created with the knowledge that every second of time, every ounce of energy, every bit of effort it took to get here was absolutely worth it.

“We chose to look at things in terms of what we could do instead of what had already been done. The success of Wicklund and the incredible anticipation for our upcoming village, Bethany, is evidence that Mountain House is all that we wanted—and expected—it to be.”

Roxbury showcases four beautiful floorplans offering four and five bedrooms and two and one-half to three and one-half baths with three and four-car garages in approximately 2,714 to 3,212 square feet. Lennar’s special Everything’s Included program means that homebuyers receive a host of upgraded items as standard, including granite countertops, upgraded maple cabinetry, all appliances including washer, dryer, and refrigerator, alarm systems, and pre-wiring for surround sound and ceiling fans.

Legato presents an exciting array of homes with three and four bedrooms, two and one-half to three baths, and two-car garages in approximately 1,887 to 2,451 square feet.

The perfect combination of classic architecture, fantastic amenities, and excellent location, Mountain House offers a village atmosphere that has captured the hearts of homebuyers.

Evoking fond memories of the tree-lined streetscapes and pedestrian-friendly nature of the neighborhoods of bygone days, Wicklund balances this quaint, charming environment with the outstanding quality and features of today while offering a variety of residential opportunities for every type of homebuyer.

A wonder unto itself, the Mountain House Information Center, provided by Trimark Communities, LLC, is a testament to the combination of research and foresight that is behind every aspect of this community. It is a place to drink the complementary espresso while you’re drinking in the community atmosphere. A place to sit, relax, and mingle with would-be neighbors. And, more than anything, a place to learn more about this exceptional masterplan in ways that are perfectly in line with the progressive yet nostalgic environment that is Mountain House.

A fully interactive virtual tour accessible through the Intranet Café allows homeshoppers to experience life at Mountain House at their leisure, as well as preview the community-wide intranet. Displays showcasing the Community Services District, area transportation, and regional and community-wide maps are informative and illustrate the details that make Mountain House so spectacular. Part soda shop, part tech haven, this state-of-the-art, interactive Information Center is the perfect place to learn why Mountain House is the Bay Area’s most successful new masterplan. Visit the Information Center Thursday through Sunday between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

At build-out, Mountain House, a 4,800-acre masterplanned community, will provide multi-use opportunities including residential detached and attached homes, commercial development, beautiful parks, public boating access to the Delta, an 18-hole golf course, and conservation areas. Plans also include a full-service community library and a centrally located Town Center. Wicklund’s market is already open for the use of new residents.

Mountain House is located at the junction of Highways 205 and 580, within driving distance of San Francisco and San Jose. For more information on Mountain House and to register on the interest list, please visit www.mountainhouse.net or call (866) MT-HOUSE.


Mountain House proud to be green

October, 2004

MOUNTAIN HOUSE, CA—No thirsty plants and only trees that shed their leaves seasonally are allowed in Mountain House, a plan that helps the community save water and energy.

Besides her chores around the ranch, Nicki is teaching Sprocket to be a service dog to help others. While it’s not always easy, she knows that one day Sprocket will make someone else’s life better—and that makes all the difference.

Girls will love imagining a life like Nicki's in her ranch-inspired playhouse. The interior brings to life the American West with features such as a split-rail porch, a cowgirl clock, a wood stove, and a stone chimney. Modern touches include a flat-screen TV and special sets for tea parties.

Jackson and Sprocket join the fun, too—with a corral and a doghouse they can each call their own. Come see it all today!


EXCITING HAPPENINGS AT MOUNTAIN HOUSE

October, 2004

MOUNTAIN HOUSE, CA—Exciting things are happening at Mountain House, developed by Trimark Communities LLC, where new residents are living their dream of homeownership in the ideal place, and homeshoppers are getting their first look at the neighborhood they can’t wait to call home. Come down to Mountain House today and get a special sneak peek at Roxbury’s beautiful new model homes before the Grand Opening. The gala Grand Opening is scheduled for next Saturday, Saturday, Nov. 6, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Roxbury is the final neighborhood to open in Wicklund, the exceptionally successful first village in Mountain House. Sales have been brisk since the first homes in the new town were released, and excitement is high for this new offering.

“The incredible interest we have received at Roxbury mirrors the enthusiasm we have enjoyed throughout every aspect of Mountain House,” said Alison Herman, Director of Sales for Lennar Homes. “As the village of Wicklund nears completion and our new villages come closer to fruition, we are so proud to see that the years of planning have translated to a truly exceptional community.”

Four beautiful floorplans are showcased at Roxbury, offering four and five bedrooms and two and one-half to three and one-half baths with three and four-car garages in approximately 2,714 to 3,212 square feet. Lennar’s special Everything’s Included program means that homebuyers receive a host of upgraded items as standard, including granite countertops, upgraded maple cabinetry, all appliances including washer, dryer, and refrigerator, alarm systems, and pre-wiring for surround sound and ceiling fans. Prices for this special Lennar community start from the high $500,000s.

Homes are selling fast at Serenade, presenting four distinct floorplans featuring three to four bedrooms, two and one-half baths to three baths, and two-car garages in approximately 1,817 to 2,384 square feet. Prices for Serenade, built by Lennar, start in the high $400,000s.   

Legato presents an exciting array of homes with three and four bedrooms, two and one-half to three baths, and two–car garages in approximately 1,887 to 2,451 square feet. Come visit Legato for Halloween Specials on select homes that are ready for pre-holiday move-ins! Legato, built by Pulte Homes, is priced from the low $500,000s.

Just three homes remain at Rhapsody. These family–sized homes offer three to five bedrooms, two to three baths, and two to three–car garages in approximately 2,037 to 2,840 square feet. These stunning residences are situated on spacious homesites and close to the school. Offered by Pulte Homes, Rhapsody is priced from the mid $500,000s.

The upscale community of Colebrook, blending the ultimate in luxury and livability with its sprawling executive–style homes, recently sold out, however the sales office will remain open for information for the next month. These elegant, 3,497 to 3,975-square–foot homes offered four and five bedrooms, three to three and one-half baths, and two and three-car garages. Prices for Colebrook, built by Lennar, started in the low $600,000s. 

The perfect combination of classic architecture, fantastic amenities, and excellent location, Mountain House has gone from meticulous planning to masterplanned perfection, offering a village atmosphere that has captured the hearts of homebuyers.

Evoking fond memories of the tree–lined streetscapes and pedestrian-friendly nature of the neighborhoods of bygone days, Wicklund balances this quaint, charming environment with the outstanding quality and features of today while offering a variety of residential opportunities for every type of homebuyer.

A wonder unto itself, the Mountain House Information Center, provided by Trimark Communities, LLC, is a testament to the combination of research and foresight that is behind every aspect of this community. It is a place to drink the complementary espresso while you’re drinking in the community atmosphere. A place to sit, relax, and mingle with would–be neighbors. And, more than anything, a place to learn more about this exceptional masterplan in ways that are perfectly in line with the progressive yet nostalgic environment that is Mountain House.

A fully interactive virtual tour accessible through the Intranet Café allows homeshoppers to experience life at Mountain House at their leisure, as well as preview the community–wide intranet. Displays showcasing the Community Services District, area transportation, and regional and community–wide maps are informative and illustrate the details that make Mountain House so spectacular. Part soda shop, part tech haven, this state–of–the–art, interactive Information Center is the perfect place to learn why Mountain House is the Bay Area’s most successful new masterplan. Visit the Information Center Thursday through Sunday between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

At build–out, Mountain House, a 4,800–acre masterplanned community, will provide multi–use opportunities including residential detached and attached homes, commercial development, beautiful parks, public boating access to the Delta, an 18–hole golf course, and conservation areas. Plans also include a full–service community library and a centrally located Town Center. Wicklund’s market is already open for the use of new residents.

Mountain House is located at the junction of Highways 205 and 580, within driving distance of San Francisco and San Jose. For more information on Mountain House and to register on the interest list, please visit www.mountainhouse.net or call (866) MT–HOUSE.


Homeowners Flock to New Bay Area Suburb

August, 2004

Mountain House, CA—A new Bay Area suburb is springing up, almost overnight it seems. It's a future city of 16,000 homes that's out in the middle of nowhere right now, but Bay Area homebuyers are looking east for cheaper housing. ABC7's Leslie Brinkley explains in this Assignment 7 report.

East of the Bay Area, over the Altamont Pass and beyond the windmills, new homes are sprouting up and quickly crowding out the cows, the corn and the alfalfa fields.

Mountain House is one of the most ambitious developments ever attempted - taking a piece of San Joaquin County agricultural land with no services or infrastructure and turning it into a full fledged city. Five hundred homes are now occupied. Eventually there will be 16,000 houses, creating a city of 44,000 people.

Eric Teed-Bose, Tri-Mark Community development director: "Neighborhood parks, golf, church sites, fire stations, everything you can imagine."

Paul Sensibaugh, Mountain House general manager: "The water, sewer, all those utilities.... water treatment plant and a waste water treatment plant."

Each of 12 separate villages is built around a K-8 school. The first one opens this fall. Eventually there will be a commercial district or town center, but that's still 15 years away.

Joe Runco, SWA Group Land Planning: "This is probably more like Walnut Creek, although it's designed to be more dense, vibrant and active than even that."

But this is still primarily farmland today, miles from the nearest grocery store. Many of those who have moved here commute to Bay Area jobs, adding lots of cars to a farm road that goes to the freeway.

J.R. Fletcher watches them from his country homestead every morning.

J.R. Fletcher, landowner: "From four to five to six in the morning, sometimes they're bumper to bumper, way down."

Fletcher says developers want to buy a 35 foot strip of his land to expand the road, but he's holding out.

It takes this new homeowner 50 minutes to drive to work every day in Pleasanton, but he says he wouldn't go back to Castro Valley.

Jeff Francis, homeowner: "We more than doubled our lot size and doubled our house moving out here."

Jamie Ussery, homeowner: "We were paying $1350 for a small 2 bedroom apartment in Danville. Now we're paying $1450 for the mortgage out here. For $100 a month more, we get a whole house and equity, so it's great."

Many homes are worth $100,000 more than they were a year ago. But some homeowners have complained of hidden costs. Developers say they've got obligations to not use more than the historic supply of agricultural water, so there's an allotment per home and steep penalties for over use.

But pros and cons aside, these settlers seem happy to be on the cutting edge of growth.

Bernice Kingtingle, homeowner: "When you say a pioneer, maybe one day if my genes are as good as my mom's I'll be able to look back and say I remember when Mountain House first started."


New town's 94-year-old offers lots of good advice

July, 2004

MOUNTAIN HOUSE—Nearly a century ago and well before houses sprouted on these 5,000 acres northwest of Tracy, dahlias bloomed in Darnell, La., where Pauline King carved out a flowerbed on her family's farm.

On July 21, King-- who lives in Mountain House now and figures she is the oldest resident of the county's youngest community-- will turn 95. She attributes her longevity to the happiness she's attained by tending her relationships as lovingly as she does her gladiolas.

"Treat people as you desire to be treated," she advised. "And make sure you treat yourself good."

King was born in 1909, the eldest of 10 children. Living on a farm, she said, she learned how to care for animals, how to "skin a goat and have it for breakfast." But also, she learned to kneel on the ground and nurture a garden.

"It takes a lot of work and planning," she said, picking a dried blossom off a mound of gold chrysanthemums. "And if you want pretty flowers, you have to water. You must water."

When she wasn't minding her flowerbed, King was minding children: first the five sisters and four brothers whom she helped raise, and later hordes of 5- and 6-year-olds, her students in a small country school.

But when she moved with her husband, Roscoe, to Oakland in 1943, she left teaching behind. West Coast students, she said, wouldn't have taken well to Southern discipline.

"I'm from Louisiana, and if they don't do it right, you tap 'em."

King's penchant for plants, though, traveled with her. Along with two children, Leonard and Bernice, King raised colorful blooms-- yellow and orange ones are her favorite-- in the family's yard.

"We both gardened, but I think she can beat me," said Allie Lewis of Tracy, who was King's neighbor in Oakland for more than 50 years. "I don't think it’s ever too hot or too cold for her to be outside in the garden."

Gardening later helped bring King to Mountain House.

"She caught me climbing trees," King explained, grinning and pointing to her daughter, Bernice Tingle, with whom she shares the new house. Last year, Tingle said, she found her mother up in a tree, pruning its branches.

Concerned for King's safety, Tingle made her promise to stop climbing. But it happened again.

"I told her, 'you promised me you wouldn't climb up and prune any more trees,' " Tingle remembered. "And she looked at me and said, 'I wasn't pruning the tree, I was spraying it.' "

The women decided it would be best for them to live together and moved in October to Mountain House. King brought some plants with her and spends time every day watering flowerbeds in the front and back yards and weeding a neat row of mustard greens along the side of the house.

Often, she said, children from the neighborhood run up to her when they see her outside with the hose or clippers.

"They come over here saying, 'Hi, Grandma Bigga,' " she said. Bigga is a nickname King inherited from her mother.

"I ended up having lots of brothers and sisters," Tingle said, referring to the small neighbors in Oakland and now in Mountain house who have been drawn to King. "She's collected them. She's still collecting them."

Later this month, some of those children along with friends and relatives from as far as North Carolina and Arkansas will celebrate King's birthday in Mountain House.

When King clipped the last of the season's gladioluses last week to put them in a vase, Tingle worried the garden would be bare when guests arrived.

"I said, 'Bernice, the dahlias will be along right after them,' " King recalled. And a few days later, they were.


First school bells to ring at Wicklund - Long-delayed Mountain House school is finally ready to open next month

July, 2004

MOUNTAIN HOUSE—The final touches of paint and polish are being applied to Wicklund School in Mountain House, which will open its doors to students for the first time at the end of August.

The kindergarten-through-grade8 facility sits on 16 acres on Legacy Drive in Mountain House, and eventually will be home to more than 850 students in the Lammersville School District.

"We are really excited; this school has been in the works for a long time," said Superintendent Bill Lebo. "With all of the requirements from the county, this project has been on the shelf for a while. But we finally started construction about a year and a half ago."

Lebo said plans for the site were completed in 1997, but the developer needed time to meet local codes for construction.

The school comes with a $13.5 million price tag and will feature a joint-use community park next door.

"It will be a 5-acre park with softball fields and other equipment," Lebo said. "It will be an area that both the community and students can enjoy."

Wicklund eventually will serve about 1,000 homes in Mountain House, many of which already are occupied.

"There are about 500 completed homes in the area at this point," Lebo said. "The school will open up with about 270 students, and within a couple of years we should be at full capacity."

Wicklund students have been attending Lammersville Elementary School, the other campus in the Lammersville district.

"Lammersville has been used as an overflow until Wicklund was completed," Lebo said. "Now those students will be able to attend a school right in the middle of their neighborhood. We won't even have to provide busing. All of the students will be able to walk or ride a bike to school."

After graduation, Wicklund students will attend one of the high schools in Tracy.

A formal dedication ceremony for Wicklund will be held 10 a.m. Aug. 21 at the school, 300 E. Legacy Drive. The official first day of school will be Aug. 24.

"This is really an exciting time. We have new students enrolling every day," Lebo said. "We can't wait to get started."

Aaron Swarts covers education for the Tri-Valley Herald in San Joaquin County. He can be reached at (209) 832-6139 or aswarts@angnewspapers.com.


MULTIGENERATIONAL HOMES COME BACK

April, 2004

Mothers clubs and parents clubs are sprouting up all over Mountain House. But if current trends continue, Mountain House's first grandmothers club may hold its inaugural meeting someday soon.

Some of the minimansions of Mountain House are doubling as retirement homes as families find it makes sound economic sense to house multiple generations under one roof.

An official census of Mountain House has not been conducted, but Chimere Dim said he sees as many older people on the sidewalks of his Mountain House neighborhood as he does tots.

"Grannies are all over the place," Dim said.

One of the grandmothers taking regular constitutionals on Ashlee Court is Dim's own mother-in-law.

Extra space and a ground-floor bedroom for Ekama Okpara, 57, were the two main reasons the Dim family moved from the tri-valley region to Mountain House.

"When we were living in Dublin, it was kind of squeezey," Dim said, referring to the tight quarters of his old home.

Okpara said the more spacious Mountain House home reminds her of her home in Nigeria, where the family is originally from. On her walks, Okpara often meets other grandmothers who also live with their children and grandchildren in Mountain House.

In 2001, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that nearly 4 percent of American households contain more than two generations of a family. The report speculated that such households were most common in areas with high numbers of immigrants and high home prices. The average Mountain House home price is about $450,000.

The 2000 census found that 5.6 percent of California households were multigenerational.

The Mountain House residents will get their first census count in 2010.

So-called in-law cottages -- extra, self-contained rooms adjacent to the main house -- were a fixture of homes built in earlier decades. The practice tapered off in the 1960s. But in-law units, which are included in the houses' prices, are seeing a revival in Mountain House.

Such units are ideal for people like Okpara, who come from other countries to spend their old age with children. Dim said his mother-in-law was not going to leave her home in Nigeria only to find herself in a retirement home.

Having someone living in the house full time to watch the children is handy for households where both parents are working, he said.

But not all grandparents move to Mountain House to take care of grandchildren.

Bernice Tingle knew it was time for her mother to stop living alone in her Oakland house, but she knew Pauline King, 95, would never submit to living in a retirement home. Tingle's house in Dublin was too small for both of them to share.

In October, the two women were able to merge the furniture from two households into one Mountain House home.

"Here, you can actually blend two generations and make a home," Tingle said.

She said the arrangement would never work in a smaller space.

"It gives me an opportunity to spend time with my mother and enjoy her," Tingle said.

King, an avid gardener, is becoming a surrogate grandmother for children in the neighborhood who don't have grandparents nearby, she said.

Tingle said a neighborhood girl ran up into the yard one recent evening when King was working in her flowerbeds and called her "Grandma."

"I just thank God she didn't run in here and call me grandma," Tingle said.

But not all residents of Mountain House are eager to expand the nuclear family.

Rafael Arrizano and his wife bought a home with an in-law unit in Mountain House with the idea Arrizano's mother would come to live with them in a few years.

He said he wouldn't consider such an arrangement without the buffer of the walkway separating the main house from the cottage.

"I don't want to have the two women in the same house," Arrizano said.


MT. HOUSE GETS BIG MARKETING PUSH

December, 2002

For the last decade, residents throughout Northern California have anxiously awaited the opening of Mountain House—a bustling, self-contained village set to thrive west of Tracy. There’s not much there yet, save for some perfectly curved roads and water infrastructure, but that’s not stopping developer Trimark Communities from launching a major marketing campaign.

A few months ago, residents in Tracy, San Jose, the Bay Area and Modesto began seeing newspaper ads that said “Mountain What?” and “Mountain Who?” — a humorous play on the under-construction city’s numerous planning delays, according to principals with the Pleasanton-based marketing firm, The Weston Group. That firm is in charge of what officials here hope is a sophisticated, broad-reaching marketing push.

“We wanted to say to people ‘OK, we know you’ve heard a lot about this project over the years, but now it’s really happening,’” said Eric Teed-Bose, Mountain House’s principal architect.

Paul Sensibaugh, Mountain House general manager, said developers will begin building models within weeks and by April, the city’s first residents could be moving in.

Officials want to start getting the word out now, and will probably not stop with the ads and mailers for years — the city won’t be built-out until 2020, with some 42,000 people. Now, there are zero.

“We’ll be running a campaign of sorts, probably, well, forever,” said Teed-Bose.

The first wave of advertisements was fairly small-scale, but recently, a second wave of larger advertisements hit the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Tracy Press, The Record and other papers. These are more colorful and more to-the-point. Theaters in the East Bay and elsewhere have also begun showing larger-than-life Mountain House ads before feature presentations. Glossy mailers are showing up in mailboxes, and Teed-Bose said radio spots are set to start in the coming weeks.

This wave of ads shows frolicking, happy and diverse families in parks or posing in front of a white background, with the words Mountain House above, along with the official website: www.mountainhouse.net.

“This campaign isn’t necessarily crafted to answer all questions people have come up with over the years, but to direct people to where they can get answers,” Teed-Bose said.

“We’re trying to define the character of the city, convey an image of the community,” he said. “Those ads are targeted to families and younger people with kids, or slightly older families with teenagers.”

A third wave will hit in a few more weeks, with more detailed advertisements — information about amenities, house price ranges and floor plans will be offered there.

So far, it’s working.

“It’ll be interesting to see whether people pick this up,” he said. “We’re trying to speak to the charm and character — that ‘best of yesterday’ feeling.”

He said the campaign is supposed to have the feel of the old Saturday Evening Post.

But it’s not just about the residential aspect. Once people start moving into the community, the campaign will begin focusing on the employment corridors — on the thousands of job opportunities.

Trimark Communities is also honing in on industries that might want to relocate to the area.

“Clearly, we’re pointing out to them the growing population, the sophistication of residents in the southwest San Joaquin County area,” Teed-Bose said.

He also pointed out that the city will have state-of-the-art broadband capabilities and telecommunications — something that many Bay Area businesses rely on.

“Basically, with this campaign, we’re focusing a lot of attention on trying to deliver homes, schools, parks — things that are unique for this market and are attractive, at a great value,” Teed-Bose said.

The 15,000 homes slated for the area over the next two decades will each sell for between $295,000 and $445,000. All of the infrastructure is already in place. Water is available through a local water treatment plant just finished, and an electricity substation will provide power to the community. Utilities will be supplied underground, and high-speed Internet connections will be built-in to every house and apartment.

All in all, there will be 12 neighborhoods, each with their own distinct feel and the Lammersville School District will run the area’s school, set to open in December of 2003.

Eventually, each village will have its own school and Tracy Unified will govern high school students.

Some 70 acres of land is reserved for business, and one-acre parcels of land are sprinkled throughout for retail centers.

When complete, the town will go from Byron Road to Interstate 205, bordered by Mountain House Parkway and the Alameda County line.


TRACY PAVILION STARTS TO COME TOGETHER

November, 2002

In the hottest retail corner of the city, the Tracy Pavilion shopping center is growing around Home Depot.

The first buildings are being framed right now, but all 300,000 square feet of shopping should be up and running by late summer.

Those first buildings will house some of the smaller users including Panda Express, Starbucks, Supercuts, a wireless store, a mail center, a tanning salon and an ice cream shop, said leasing agent Jon Schultz, who is the senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis.

Construction on other anchor tenants near Home Depot will begin soon and are scheduled to finish in late April and late May, depending on rain delays during winter, said Steven Usdan, partner at the construction firm W.L. Butler.

Linens ‘N Things, Marshall’s and PetSmart all have signed leases for the large spaces. “We are negotiating with another couple of anchors,” Schultz said.

Nearly all of the buildings are leased before they are built. “Tracy’s demographics and geographic location provide a retail draw,” Usdan said.

The whole area near the West Valley Mall is doing very well, said Linda Maurer, city economic development management analyst. “We see a lot of interest in those sites,” she said.

The national chains and general caliber of stores coming into this center are better than normal for a city of Tracy’s size, Schultz said.

“The incomes and the sophistication of the people in Tracy are creating the need for this kind of retailing,” he said.

Eighteen years ago when Pat Brown moved to Tracy, a center like this was only available with a long car trip to Livermore or Modesto. “Now five minutes from the house we have everything we need,” he said.

Major retail is an important part of the overall growth of the city that is good for everyone, Brown added.

It is good for the economy, but a center like this steals some of the feeling of the town, said Angela Worth, who moved from Livermore five years ago. “I kind of like Tracy small,” she said.

The whole site has a circular pattern that allows people to shop at all the stores, similar to how an outdoor mall would be set up, Usdan said.

“The way we designed and developed the center really lends itself to pedestrian shopping,” he said. A dedicated walking path across the parking lot will allow people to move from the Linens ‘N Things that’s next to Home Depot to the PetSmart that’s closer to Grant Line Road.

There are a lot of architectural features in the design that encourages leisurely shopping, including shaded walkways and seating, Usdan said. According to the plans there will be a kind of central area with benches and a clock tower on an expanded sidewalk directly across from Home Depot.

An outdoor mall will be nice, said Ruth Damon, who was shopping at Wal-Mart in the Tracy Marketplace across Grant Line Road. At several of the centers in town pedestrians have to dash across the parking lot to move from building to building, she said.

Mostly, Damon is looking forward to having a Marshall’s nearby. “We’ve already been enjoying Home Depot,” she said.

There is still about 30,000 square feet of space available for lease in the center, but it shouldn’t be hard to fill, Schultz said.

“In Northern California, we are seeing good retail activity,” he said.

At left, construction workers guide an 18,000-pound girder into place that carries the load for the ceiling of a building that will be a part of the new Tracy Pavilion shopping center. Below, Dura-Built’s Patrick Collins works on a section of wood framing that will be one of the new buildings in the shopping center.


MOUNTAIN HOUSE PLUGS INTO AN IDEA WORTH EMBRACING

July, 2002

Developers of Mountain House, a San Joaquin County town to be built from scratch, have the right idea. They plan to wire each of the 15,000 houses in the 5,000-acre project with cutting edge communication lines.

The blueprint calls for threading high-tech wires through every wall and under every street. Conduits would accommodate new wiring and upgrades as technology evolves.

The high-tech approach — and technological aforethought — will serve residents well. Modern communication lines are like electronic plumbing, and they are tough to add once a house is built. Meanwhile, the world is growing more — not less — reliant on technology and high-speed communications. And the northern San Joaquin Valley, a commuter haven, certainly could use houses equipped with state-of-the-art technology. More people working from home and doing business online would mean less gridlock and air pollution in the Valley.

Mountain House, three miles west of Tracy, will include schools, parks, commercial and industrial development, and open space.

But the high-tech component is what sets the project apart. It is refreshing to see builders focus on creating houses for the future instead of containing current costs. In that vein, we hope Mountain House will be a model for other subdivisions in the Valley. It is time to raise standards across the board by making high-speed telecommunication lines standard in new houses.


SCHOOL NUMBERS TO JUMP - Small Tracy districts' enrollments to soar

July, 2002

TRACY—Workers began pouring concrete at Lammersville Elementary School last week, laying the foundation for big changes coming to this tiny, one-campus district.

Sometime early next year, trucks will deliver nine portable classrooms to the K-8 school to house the first wave of students from the massive Mountain House development east of Tracy.

The Mountain House kids eventually will attend their own neighborhood school. But until it's built, their numbers could boost Lammersville's average enrollment of just 280 students to 460 in a single school year.

And that's just the beginning.
Lammersville and nearby Banta school districts stand on the precipice of massive enrollment growth, fueled by subdivisions planned for farmland and fields within their longtime rural boundaries.

Lammersville will serve the 9,000 to 10,000 schoolchildren generated by Mountain House's 12 planned neighborhoods over the next 20 years. Banta, also a one-school district, could add 8,000 new students to its current enrollment of 300 if the city of Lathrop, as expected, approves the 11,000-home River Islands development.

Such growth brings the potential for new state-of-the-art schools in districts that are more than 100 years old. More students mean more teachers with more specialties, expanded course offerings and bigger budgets. "You can't help but get better facilities," Banta Superintendent Bill Lebo said, "and I think you'll have a much better educational system."

But the projected influx of new students also makes some current residents uneasy. At tiny Banta and Lammersville, parents know everyone on campus by name, from the teachers to the principal to the custodian. Crime is almost nonexistent. Test scores are good. The communities pack their school gyms for recitals and basketball games.

Will new students change all that?
"I think the community is probably apprehensive of what (growth) is going to do to our small, rural school," Lammersville Trustee Stewart Easton said.

Although neighboring school districts such as Manteca and Tracy have experienced enormous growth, Banta and Lammersville are still the exception to the norm among California's rural schools. Many rural districts have seen their enrollments decline as retirees move to the Sierra foothills and young families leave in search of jobs or more affordable housing. "They're in a very unique situation," James Morante, a spokesman for the California School Boards Association, said of Banta and Lammersville.

While Morante noted that fast-growing districts can struggle to accommodate hundreds of new students, the two districts' superintendents say they have worked with developers to ensure that adequate facilities will be built.

But the sheer size of the new student population will require changes in the basic ways the two districts do business. Banta and Lammersville are both elementary school districts, geared to serve only students in kindergarten through the eighth grade.

Lammersville leaders already have decided to expand their district to serve high school students as well. A new high school eventually will house 2,500 to 2,800 students.

Banta also is considering adding high school grades. Trustees there will eventually have to choose whether to expand their district to cover high school students or to partner with Tracy Unified, which already serves high school students from neighboring elementary districts such as Banta.

Banta Superintendent William Draa envisions the construction of three K-12 campuses, each with a different theme such as the environment, sports and the performing arts.

New duties will require new staff, perhaps a director of curriculum, a finance specialist or a staff-development coordinator. Those are titles now filled mostly by Lebo and Draa, who, in addition to being superintendents, also oversee tasks such as teacher hiring, discipline and scheduling. "It's a lot to keep everybody going in the same direction," Draa said.

But the small staff size also gives parents the chance to air their concerns with school leaders directly. At least one trustee is likely to be a friend or neighbor living nearby. "If we have issues, we can go to the superintendent or the principal or the teachers," said Stacy Hughes, president of the Banta Parent Faculty Association. "We all work together."

A portion of kids at both schools attend via intradistrict transfers from larger districts, but many are the children or grandchildren of farmers, farm workers or others in agriculture -- some of whom attended Banta and Lammersville themselves.

Both schools are home to thriving 4-H clubs. Banta is bordered by an enormous alfalfa field. Signs at Lammersville advise visitors that horseback riding is prohibited on school grounds.

Traditions are cherished, and schools focus on the basics. Students in the seventh and eighth grades have just one teacher, while their peers in bigger districts often change classrooms several times a day. Neither school offers a foreign-language class to older students.

Just how -- or if -- the districts will be able to hang on to their rural roots is a topic residents debate. "Many of the (Mountain House) buyers, if not most, will be folks from the other side of the Atlamont," Lebo said. "They will have different expectations from what Lammersville now provides."

That could translate into a push for expanded music programs or a foreign-language course for eighth-graders. "They may challenge us to do better," Trustee Easton said.

For now, there are no plans beyond the new portables at Lammersville to make big changes to either school site. Both superintendents say they intend, however, to make sure opportunities at the current campuses are equal to those at the new ones. "It's nice to be small," Draa said. "But if you're not meeting today's needs and demands, smallness means nothing."


MID ABLE TO KEEP UP WITH GROWTH

July, 2002

Development of the new town of Mountain House is accelerating -- and so are the expenditures of its electricity provider, the Modesto Irrigation District.

The development, northwest of Tracy, is expected to have 44,000 residents when it is finished in 15 to 20 years.

Not much visible has happened since the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors approved Mountain House eight years ago.

Now, water and sewer facilities and streets for the first 1,000 homes are under construction. The MID is keeping pace with installation of the electric grid.

The MID won a bid process to provide electricity to Mountain House. This week the MID board of directors added $1.73 million to the budget for the Mountain House electric project.

When the community is complete, it will add 100 megawatts to MID's power load. The system's capital costs will be repaid in seven to 16 years, depending on power costs, said Ed Jeffers, MID's electrical engineering manager.

Paul Sensibaugh, general manager of the Mountain House Community Services District, is pleased with the MID deal. "We got really reasonable rates from MID. We got a good deal," Sensibaugh said.
In a related action, the MID board approved a $1.38 million expenditure to add four contract line construction crews to keep up with growth in the district.

The MID connected a record 3,000 new customers last year, Jeffers said, and that pace is expected to continue this year.

The district's expansion into Riverbank, Oakdale, Escalon and Ripon, along with the Mountain House work and growth in Modesto, are responsible for the heavy workload, Jeffers said.

The contracted crews will be paid prevailing wages, and the district will evaluate whether new permanent employees should be added, MID General Manager Allen Short said.


LAMMERSVILLE BEGINS GROWTH PROCESS

June, 2002

The earthmovers leveling ground outside Lammersville School on Tuesday will become a ubiquitous sight, if they haven’t already in your time in Tracy. Over the next 20 years, the Lammersville School District plans to construct a dozen 800-student kindergarten through eighth-grade schools and a 2,500- to 2,700-student high school.

The district now has one K–8 six-room schoolhouse and about 300 students. This prodigious growth will be fueled by the 15,000-unit Mountain House development. Construction has begun, and the district is planning how to keep up. "We’re doing the very best we can to stay ahead of the curve," Lammersville Superintendent Bill Lebo said.

Mountain House’s developer, Trimark Communities Inc., is planning the titanic development 12 stages, called neighborhoods. The first of these, Neighborhood F, also called Wicklund Crossing, will be finished in three to four years. However, the first residents will move in as early as spring 2003.

For the district, the first step keeping up is constructing temporary housing for the first Mountain House students. According to the district’s facilities planner, Lynette Craven, Tuesday’s work will level the field outside the small Lammersville schoolhouse, lay asphalt over the lot and add utility connections for nine portables to be installed September.

Next on the district’s list is the first K–8 school, Wicklund School. According to Lebo, the district will accept bids July 9, and hopes to begin construction in August. The district expects the school to be completed in the fall of 2003.

The district will pay for new schools using funding from three sources. Developer mitigation fees will pay costs such as permitting and design. Trimark’s builder will also complete basic site work such as adding utility connections. This has already begun at the future Wicklund School site. Actual school construction costs will be covered by Mello-Roos bonds.

Finally, both the Mello-Roos agreement and agreements with Trimark require the district to pursue all available state school construction funding. Lebo said that the district has two grant applications pending, one to repair the older portions of the school and one to pay for the new school. The district also plans to unify, or become a full K–12 school district, in 2003. "I think we’re going to move rather quickly to put the issue on the ballot in the next primary," Lebo said.

Right now, Lammersville sends its high school students to Tracy Unified. However, the Mountain House development plan calls for a high school. The Lammersville School District met with Tracy Unified last year to discuss unification. Lebo said that his district will meet with Tracy Unified again to discuss the change. He also said that Tracy Unified does not oppose his district’s unification. "All of the players involved have been working under the assumption that unification will occur," Craven said. Voters determining Lammersville’s unification will include current Lammersville residents and the first tide of Mountain House residents who move in next spring. Lebo said that there is "good, strong" support for unification within his district.

If Lammersville School District residents do vote to unify their district next spring, then by law the district must build a high school within five years. Once the high school is built, Lammersville’s task is keeping up with Mountain House’s growth. Craven is working under the assumption that each home will generate 0.667 students for her district. This rate works out to the district having around 10,000 students in 20 years. But Craven said that this is just an estimate. "We may not get that rate," she said. "It depends on who moves into Mountain House. It could be full of older, empty nesters, or it could be young families."

Regardless of how many children come or what their ages are, the Mountain House plan calls for one K–8 school in each neighborhood. The district will build schools regularly for the next 15 to 20 years. Craven said that the process will be similar to a conveyor belt. The district will plan one school while another is being built.

The biggest problem for the district will be finding staff for all of these new schools. After a rough calculation, Craven estimated that, with a student population of 10,000, the district would need more than 400 teachers and a similar number of support staff. "Staffing will be the most difficult problem we have," Lebo said. "The buildings will come, the houses will come, the students will come, but finding qualified teachers will be difficult." To gather teachers that districts throughout California are competing for, Lammersville will look into working with colleges and universities and court student teachers. Craven also hopes that many teachers will move into the Mountain House development. "Luckily we won’t have to hire all 900 at once," Lebo said.

San Joaquin Delta College is planning a 15,000-student Mountain House campus in the southwest corner of the Lammersville School District. The college has already purchased a 200-acre site, and a facility there might see students as early as 2007. Lebo said that he hopes his district can work closely with Delta to allow advanced high school students to take classes there and to possibly share facilities.

While the district has been working hard to meet its growth needs, Craven is still surprised by the pace. "Things were moving slowly, and all of a sudden things kind of broke," she said. "Once they (Trimark) had a builder interested, things just moved really quickly."


SUPES OK FINAL MAP FOR COMMUNITY - First neighborhood for Mountain House gets nod

June, 2002

One small part of Mountain House is official, with a lot more to come.

In a move described as mostly a formality by the project manager, San Joaquin County’s Board of Supervisors approved a "final" final map for the town’s first neighborhood Tuesday.

Approval was a bit of housekeeping necessary to give the community services district overseeing the project a list of easement for the neighborhood. "You build the infrastructure, then you dedicate for the easements," said Eric Teed-Bose, Mountain House project manager. "It’s a formality to allow the public entity to accept those improvements."

Trimark Communities Inc., the principal builder for Mountain House, started on the project in spring 2001 after supervisors approved a tentative map for the Neighborhood "F," the first in the new town west of Tracy, in late 2000.

The first final map was approved last October, but approval of easements and street designations was left out of that approval because that responsibility lay with the Mountain House Board of Directors, which is made of the board of supervisors. To correct that oversight, the board approved the easements Tuesday as part of their consent calendar.

Teed-Bose said the approval doesn’t change what’s already going on at his work site, where streets for the first neighborhood are under construction west of Mountain House Parkway. Work to widen and add curbs and gutters to that road is also under way.

Paul Sensibaugh, general manager for the town’s community services district, said the easements needed to be approved because construction and improvements for the neighborhood’s first streets are nearly complete.

Next comes opening them for public access, he said, with model homes for purchase scheduled to appear in August.

The first homes for people to move into should start construction in October, and people will start moving in by spring 2003.

Teed-Bose said Neighborhood F, also known as Wicklund Crossing, will have 979 single-family homes and 480 multi-family homes, either apartments or condominiums. He said work on the single-family homes will begin first and take more than three years, for a total of about 2,400 residents.

Multi-family homes will start later and take longer, finishing within three to five years. "They’ll hold back on those until there’s more of a community," Teed-Bose said.

Wicklund Crossing will also have a five-acre park, built by Trimark, and a commercial building with a small country store and an information center on the entire project. The park will border Wicklund School, which will be part of the Lammersville School District. Workers began site preparations for the school this week. Teed-Bose said that unlike many communities, amenities like schools and parks will sprout out of the ground as the houses do.

"It’s one of the age-old issues in planning, that homes get built and the facilities like schools come after," he said. "It may be 50 to 100 homes before the school opens, but it’ll be there pretty quick."

Mello-Roos bonds will pay for the schools, but other features of most neighborhoods will be Trimark’s responsibility, he said, through either paying developer fees or building must-haves like parks and fire stations themselves.

Sensibaugh said the next step is approval of final maps for the next two neighborhoods, "E" and "G". Supervisors will see that item by the end of summer, he said.


MOUNTAIN HOUSE CAMPUS A MAJOR FOCUS FOR DELTA

June, 2002

The explosive growth in south San Joaquin County is forcing the San Joaquin Delta Community College district to keep plans for opening its proposed Mountain House campus in 2007, according to a report presented at Tuesday evening’s board meeting.

San Joaquin Delta College enrolls approximately 19,000 students, with 590 of those coming from Tracy and 1,450 from south county.

Delta projects that by 2040, it will have 46,400 students, with 8,500 from Tracy and 15,150 from the south county region.

“These figures reinforce how this area is growing, and how we have to react to it and do a whole lot of planning as soon as possible,” said district President Greg McCreary.

Comparatively, the southern portion of the county is growing far more quickly than the north. While Stockton is growing at a fast pace, cities like Lodi in the north of the district are growing slowly. This is forcing the district to stick to its Mountain House opening schedule and focus construction efforts in south San Joaquin.

The entire district encompasses more than 2,500 square miles and lies within five counties.

“The Tracy Center is going to be a number-one priority,” McCreary said, “as Tracy has the highest growth rate regionally.”

The district recently bought more than 200 acres of land in the Mountain House area for a new campus.

To build the campus, the district plans to pass a bond in 2004.

According to McCreary, one of the reasons that Delta moved away from plans to open a campus with the Tracy Learning Center charter project was that they needed much more space than the Learning Center.

“You can’t just find something that large in Tracy, at least not at an affordable price,” McCreary said.

Delta’s annex in Tracy is now called the Tracy Center, and the Tracy Learning Center charter school will keep its name.

The classes by Tracy High School will move to the Mountain House campus when it opens, which will be called the Tracy Center.

Delta might still work with the Tracy Learning Center as a way to accept more students from south San Joaquin. McCreary said that this depends on Delta’s incoming president, Raul Rodriguez, who will officially take over on August 1.

“I’m looking forward to a new president,” said McCreary. “He will be able to look five years down the road and plan things.”

McCreary said that Rodriguez will also be able to negotiate any plans far more effectively than the board.

The board also disclosed Rodriguez’ salary — $170,000 plus benefits, annuities and vehicle and expense accounts. McCreary said that the compensation package was not excessive.

“We needed to recruit a CEO, and we had to pay accordingly,” said McCreary.


COUNTY APPROVES HIGH-TECH PLAN FOR MOUNTAIN HOUSE

May, 2002

Pay your water bill, order a pizza, check little Tommy’s grades, all through the remote control.

That’s the scenario planners envision for Mountain House, and the miles of wires to make it happen are going in the ground as you read this.

“Anytime they open up a trench, we’re there,” said Warren Mitchell, general manager for Charter Communications, the cable company installing the town’s cyperspace wiring. When all of this is in the hand of a remote control, that’s power.”

What’s being envisioned is a hard-wired town aimed at the sensibilities of those who consider fast modems, big bandwidth and minimal download times vital parts of everyday living.

Every home in Mountain House will be ready for cable and Internet connections as soon as someone steps in the door.

Beyond that, Charter is also entrusted to create a town “intranet” that connects homes, businesses and public services.

Tom Reiman, president of a consulting firm assisting planners and Charter on the project, said the idea is to create a community through a keyboard.

“People definitely want access to a regional and even international information from home,” said Reiman, president of Sacramento-based The Broadband Group. “What drives this is the local information they can access.”

The creation of a Mountain House intranet would allow a mother to check her son’s grades at school, an office manager to order catering for a company party and city officials to send residents a notice about upcoming community events.

Reiman said they could also access information resources for nearby cities and even San Joaquin County.

Other functions would allow residents to use the city’s Web site to vote in city elections or check bank statements from a local branch.

Tuesday, San Joaquin County’s Board of Supervisors approved giving Charter a space for the small building housing the high-tech heart of the intranet.

The roughly 2,500-square-foot building will be north of Mountain House, near the under-contruction water treatment plants.

“It’s going to be as state-of-the-art as it can possibly be,” said Paul Sensibaugh, general manager for Mountain House’s community services district.

But Sensibaugh said he’s got bad news for someone living near the town who wants in on doughnuts by e-mail; the network is exclusively for Mountain House residents.

Charter’s contract with the county requires the company to pay 5 percent of its revenues to Mountain House as a franchise fee.

Both Reiman and Mitchell said the prospect of a town so hard-wired is unusual, although not unique. Planned communities in Orlando and Southern California, Reiman said, have similar features, although not to the extent Mountain House will.

Given the propensity of network technology to make huge advances quickly, planners recognize that they run the risk of a town with obsolete wiring in a decade, Reiman said.

“There’s no question that a network being built today will need to be updated in 10 years,” he said. That’s something we’ll address.”

But even homes with the wiring to do wondrous things won’t be prohibitively more expensive than conventional homes, he said.

“These homes aren’t just for the technologically elite,” he said. We’ll be bridging the digital divide.”


MOUNTAIN HOUSE PROJECT RISING FAST- Planned Community Hitting Goals Ahead of Schedule

April, 2002

TRACY—Work on Mountain House, the giant planned community between Tracy and Livermore, is ahead of schedule. "Considering the size of what we’re doing, I would say things are going extremely well," said Eric Teed-Bose, the Mountain House director of planning for Trimark Communities. In the next couple of weeks, some of the main roads will be paved.

As early as June, the first school could start taking shape. Residents might call Mountain House home by the first of the year, Teed-Bose said. "We’re working on a variety of things," he said. "The work never stops."

Teed-Bose attributes Mountain House’s success to cooperation between developer Trimark Communities and the long list of agencies with a hand in the multimillion-dollar project to create a new city. Progress on the planned community hasn’t always developed so swiftly.

Mountain House was first proposed 15 years ago in 1987. The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors gave Trimark Communities the green light in 1994.

The project, north of Interstate 205 next to the Alameda County line, will turn about five miles of farm land into a full-fledged community. Over the next 25 years, the 12 full-service areas of Mountain House—complete with homes, recreational, commercial and business facilities—will be home to 44,000 residents. Construction on homes in the first neighborhood called "Wicklund" may begin by October.

Trimark Communities, the project’s main developer, is now in negotiations with several builders to start construction on the first 20 to 30 homes. Teed-Bose said these model homes will give potential home buyers a chance to walk through about five different types of homes of different sizes and costs. "Presenting as broad a range of home styles and prices as possible from day one," Teed-Bose said. "I think we’ll give people an immediate sense of the variety that we’ve been talking about all along."

"Wicklund" single-family homes will be followed by an array of townhouses, condominiums and apartments.

Paul Sensibaugh, general manager of the Mountain House Community Services District, is charged with setting up water, garbage and all the civic services from the county’s side.

At about 80 percent complete, the water and wastewater treatment plants are the first above-ground structures visible at Mountain House. "Completion of the plants is a huge milestone," Sensibaugh said. "We take over once they are completed."


AMENITIES TAKE SHAPE FOR NEW TOWN

January, 2002

Months before the first house appears for Mountain House, some of the amenities for future residents are taking shape.

San Joaquin County’s Board of Supervisors received a report this week on the town’s expected cable franchise, nearby roads, college campus and more.

“There’s two things going on right now,” said Paul Sensibaugh, manager for the Mountain House services district. “One is the infrastructure and building. The other is forming an administration and government. That’s what I’m doing.”

Construction crews won’t start work until fall for Mountain House’s first homes, and residents will start occupying those homes early next year.

But Sensibaugh said that taken-for-granted features of a town, like water from the tap and a local Internet provider, have to be there when the town’s residents arrive.

 

Sensibaugh’s report gave supervisors details on the following:

* San Joaquin’s Delta College’s campus just south of Mountain House.

Delta officials are studying an environmental impact report for the project and searching for money to build the school.

But construction is still a ways off. Bob Yribarren, a consultant to the project for Delta, said the timing depends on both a state school bond in November and a local college bond sometime in the next few years.

“By 2007, maybe late 2006, we’ll be ready if everything goes with no hitches,” he said. “(With) anything large like this, there’s a typical amount of hurdles and unknowns.”

Yribarren said he doesn’t expect any delays while Delta searches for a new president. The college will serve about 12,000 students from Tracy, Mountain House and other nearby towns.

* A new interchange at Interstate 205 and Mountain House Parkway.

The exit and entrance ramps there need some expansion and overhaul before they’re ready for about 45,000 Mountain House residents, Sensibaugh said.

The services district and Caltrans are finalizing plans for that interchange, with interim work to start by 2004 and the full interchange not for five years.

* Charter Communications, a Missouri-based company that will provide telecommunications services for Mountain House.

When the town was proposed, several companies expressed interest in that slot, Sensibaugh said. But the recent crash in high-tech caused everyone but Charter to back away.

Warren Mitchell, general manager for Charter’s services in the Central Valley, said his company’s work in the new town will make it one of the most technologically advanced communities in the state.

“We can design our system as the city comes along,” he said. “We can move in as soon as they open the trenches.”

What that means, he said, is that every Mountain House resident will have easy hook-up for high-speed Internet access and digital cable.

* Fire protection for Mountain House, which will come from Tracy Fire rather than from a newly formed company.

Current service will go from rural to urban over seven years, with several stations eventually centered in Mountain House.

* Operation and maintenance for water treatment plants, already under construction north of Byron Road.

Town managers need a company to operate the plants once they’re completed. A recommendation for a company is expected in March.

Work crews are installing sewer lines and treatment plants for the first neighborhood, known as Wicklund or Neighborhood “F.” But the supervisors will soon see plans for the next two neighborhoods, “E” and “G.”

Supervisor Lynn Bedford, who lives next to the future town site, said he’s noticed a slowdown in work with the onset of rainy weather.

“It’s going to be a big change,” he said. “I hope they keep us informed. But so far they’ve been very sensitive with working with their neighbors.”

As a city manager for a city that doesn’t yet exist, Sensibaugh said details like those he gave to the board of supervisors are both important and endless.

“Every day I think of something that we don’t have but that you have to have,” he said. It’ll be exciting — not to mention challenging.”


MOUNTAIN HOUSE INCHING ALONG TO FUTURE CITYHOOD- Mountain House - Quietly, a new town is putting down roots west of Tracy.

October, 2001

An observer headed west on Byron Road can’t help but notice the flurry of activity on both sides just before the Alameda County line. Mountain House, usually thought of in the future sense, is now the present. "It’s pretty exciting out there," said Paul Sensibaugh, general manager of the Mountain House Community Services District. "In about a year, it’ll look like a real development."

Even now, the work along Byron Road suggests something big in the offing. A westbound driver can see crews at work on a number of fronts on the south side of the road once past Mountain House Parkway.

Stretching south on the parkway is a long line of warning barriers signaling the lack of a road shoulder as crews move dirt, grade land and lay pipe.

The activity is unbroken on a parallel line along Byron, stopping just before the county line. On the north side, off Kelso Road, other progress is visible. A pair of circular red structures will serve as water reservoirs for the new community. In shape, they resemble the new Tracy water reservoir seen north of East 11th Street at Chrisman Road.

Stacks of pipe along the trenches, and piled construction equipment nearby, tell an observer that the work is just beginning. Teichert Construction crews are at work on the water and wastewater treatment plants that are only part one of the town.

Sensibaugh said work will begin in the spring on actual homes for Mountain House, which will eventually have a population of about 45,000, including its own city government, high school and more. The end of that, though, won’t come for 30 years.

San Joaquin County’s Board of Supervisors took another step forward earlier this month when they approved a map for the first area of the town, referred to as Wicklund Crossing. Sensibaugh said the decision is one step closer to putting the first residents in the community. "As each neighborhood develops, each will have a final map to it," he said.

One supervisor, though, is still on the sidelines on Mountain Hose votes. Lynn Bedford, a hay farmer who owns property next to the project’s boundaries, said the board’s counsel told him voting on the project could be a conflict of interest.

Bedford represents south San Joaquin County on the board, including Tracy and the area that will constitute Mountain House. But while he isn’t voting, he said, he can’t help but notice that the view outside his window is changing. "I’ve been here 55 years, and little ground left between here and Tracy is in the hands of farmers," he said. "I’ve seen it go from cow pastures to residential. People want those houses."


NEW VALLEY TOWNS BLOSSOM DUE TO BAY AREA SLOW-GROWTH - Mountain House changes Central Valley-scape

October, 2001

Until recently, the site of Mountain House—a planned community five miles from downtown Tracy in rural San Joaquin County—was 5,000 acres of corn and alfalfa fields punctuated by an occasional dairy farm. But the growl of tractors and heavy equipment can now be heard in the area as the first wave of crews level dirt and bury storm drain pipes.

Streets will be built and those will make way for homes, schools, community centers and businesses—all part of what will grow up into a living community with some of the first residents moving in as soon as Spring 2003.

Project developers expect 44,000 people to populate the town over the next two decades, reminiscent of California’s historical Gold Rush era that saw communities spring up seemingly overnight.

Trailing the energy crisis and education, housing tops the list of issues looming in the mind of California’s leaders.

The Department of Finance project the state will grow from 34.4 million to 45.8 million people by 2020, with San Joaquin County alone expecting to grow by 55 percent, from 573,600 to 887,600, during that same time period. "While California has had a housing need of 220,000 new units a year, in the last decade we’ve produced less than half of that on average," said Cathy Creswell, deputy director for the housing policy development division of the state Housing Department.

Providing California’s work force with affordable housing and reasonable commute is a cornerstone to a stable California economy, according to Creswell. In recruiting campaigns, business and industry hold up these two factors that affect quality of life.

Enter Mountain House, a planned community designed with the idea that—like it or not—growth from the Bay Area is spilling over into the Central Valley. "Rather than allow that to flow out onto the valley floor, the idea was to trap it at the county line," explains Eric Teed-Bose, director of planning for Trimark Communities, the project’s developer for the past four years.

First proposed in 1987 and given the go-ahead by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors in 1994, Mountain House turns seven-and-a-half square miles sitting north of Interstate 205 and next to the Alameda County border into a town.

Mountain House takes its name from the stagecoach stopovers that pioneers used at California mountain passes as they traveled east to the Sierras from San Francisco and other port cities. Today uttering "Mountain House" conjures up http://www.mountainhouse.net/ebroadcasts/6GNCMHS009/images of a biker bar that sits at the lonely intersection of Mountain House Parkway and Grantline Road near the planned community.

Reaching maturity, the community will hold 12 neighborhoods, each with its own park, elementary school and retail convenience store, Teed-Bose said. Although Mountain House is a "new town" that will be built in phases over the next 25 years, Trimark hopes to capture the "charming valley town" feel with turn-of-the-century designs, Teed-Bose said.

The homes, as well as the schools in each neighborhood and the central firehouse, will follow Spanish Colonial, American Farmhouse, Cottage, Prairie or Craftsman design patterns. Each neighborhood will flank a five-acre park and a commercial component. And a central "town square" will have both retail and office space.

Mountain House is set apart from Central California counterparts like Elk Grove and Laguna West in the Sacramento area because of its emphasis on industrial and commercial space in the mix that includes housing, Teed-Bose said. "With neighborhood centers, you could avoid the need for people to commute into the next town for daily goods, like eggs and bread," he said.

Beyond the essentials of life, the plan allows enough acreage for two 18-hole golf courses. A portion of the Old River, which forms the northern boundary for Mountain House, will contain a marina.

Putting in the roads, water, sewer and the schools will cost about $500 million, Teed-Bose said. The expense will be spread out over the next 20 years of development with the first neighborhood named "Wicklund" coming in at about $60–65 million.

There will be a variety of housing options: single-family, townhouses, condominiums and apartments.

Mountain House will be more than just residential neighborhoods. The key to the project’s success is attracting employers to fill the 800-square acres of office and industrial space giving residents local job opportunities, Teed-Bose says.

Already, East Bay and Silicon Valley companies have contacted Trimark, only to be turned away, he said, because business facilities haven’t been built yet. "That bodes well for Mountain House," Teed-Bose said.

Something from nothing
Paul Sensibaugh, general manager of the Mountain House Community Services District, jokes that he’s the only city manager around with no city to manage. The first residents are still a couple of years off, but Sensibaugh, who has been on the project for about a year, is already thinking about the stuff that communities are made of. "All those things a city has, we don’t have yet—but we will," said Sensibaugh, who is charged with putting in place a city administration for the county.

Residents of Mountain House will need a library, police and fire emergency services, as well as a public transit system and utilities. Refuse collection is one service Sensibaugh is working through right now: "We have to find a way to deal with that before we get residents in Spring 2003," Sensibaugh said.

That includes finding a means of collecting the refuse and billing residents for that service. "The county has no system in place to bill for utilities," Sensibaugh said, adding that right now there isn’t even a building where people can issue complaints.

The eventual goal is to graduate Mountain House into a city governed by elected officials. Sensibaugh now answers to the San Joaquin Board of Supervisors, but once population reaches the 1,000 mark, a ballot measure will ask the residents to elect their own city council, he said.


CONSTRUCTION UNDER WAY ON MOUNTAIN HOUSE

May, 2001

TRACY—The earth-moving machines have started working near Old River, marking the next phase in the creation of a new town. The culmination of more than 13 years of planning, Trimark Communities last week started moving earth at the future site of Mountain House. Company officials expect the entire 4,700-acre Mountain Hose area to take 20 to 25 years to build out to its full size of 16,000 homes, with housing for 44,000 people.

Wicklund Neighborhood, the first phase of development, will include about 1,500 homes, including single-family houses and apartments. It’s one of 12 residential areas within the new community and covers 400 acres, including a 35-acre industrial park and 30 acres for offices, plus 21 acres for a school and park. Building permits for the houses should be pulled by summer or fall of 2002, company representatives said.

The work under way between Byron Road and Old River is the initial grading for the watewater treatment plant. The water treatment plant farther up Byron Road also is due to be under construction this month.

Eric Teed-Bose, Trimark planning director, said the company is securing building permits for the backbone infrastructure that will connect Mountain House to those plants. "When that is certified complete, our builders can apply for building permits for the first homes," he said.

Since the project’s master plan was approved in 1994, the start date for the project has been steadily put off as Trimark works on additional approvals.

Mountain House, in the meantime, has been scrutinized by those concerned about environmental and traffic impacts. Teed-Bose described the project in Trimark’s office while surrounded by maps, artists renderings and aerial photos of Mountain House. "When you go from concepts to specifics, you come across a lot of subsequent issues," he said. "Still, this first neighborhood is pretty true to form of what the original vision was."

The original concepts include creation of a community where there is high demand for housing while keeping it away from valuable farmland, company representatives said. "Several universities have used Mountain House as a case study for land-use planning, so there’s a lot of people waiting to see how the grand experiment turns out," Teed-Bose said.


MOUNTAIN HOUSE READY TO RAISE ROOF - Firm will inspect work on site of future homes

January, 2001

TRACY—County supervisors today will consider hiring a firm to oversee some of the first construction activities at Mountain House, the planned town west of Tracy.

West Yost & Associates of Davis is proposing to provide engineering management and inspection services for the community at a cost of up to $1.2 million. This is related to the construction of the wastewater and water treatment plants.

The Mountain House community services district needs to oversee the work of the contractors who will build the plants, said Paul Sensibaugh, general manager of the district. The contractors will he hired by Trimark Communities, the major developer in Mountain House.

West Yost & Associates would verify the contractors are building the plants to specifications and costs, Sensibaugh said. The firm helped review the initial plans for the two plants, he added. The plants would be built as part of the construction of the town’s first subdivision, Neighborhood F.

Mountain House, which has been in the planning stages for 10 years, is expected to be home to 16,000 people within 20 to 30 years. Construction at the wastewater and water treatment plants is scheduled to begin by midyear and could take 15 months to complete, according to a project summary report.

Besides standard management and cost-control activities, West Yost & Associates is proposing to issue monthly status reports to the district and establish and maintain a Web page that will provide access to project documents. The company would also be responsible for making a detailed final inspection of the project.

The district will be billed hourly rates for the length of the project ranging from $33 per hour for office assistants to $145 per hour for the company vice president. Rates will rise by at least $1 per hour per employee in June. County supervisors today will also consider agreements to partly reimburse Trimark for costs related to the construction of the wastewater and water treatment plants, as well as streets, a public park and a fire station.


PACE QUICKENS FOR MOUNTAIN HOUSE

July, 2000

Trimark Communities and San Joaquin County planners expect to start building the first parts of Mountain House this year. The new town’s first homes could start going up by 2002, said Eric Teed-Bose, Trimark’s director of forward planning.

Teed-Bose and county planner Michael Hitchcock laid out first-phase infrastructure and subdivision plans and a planning timeline for the county planning commission on Thursday.

Hitchcock said county officials will have more to review this summer, including an initial study of possible environmental effects in the first neighborhood, to be released this week. "A lot of things will be happening in the next two months," he said, adding that the first planning commission hearing on the initial study is scheduled for early August. "By the time you finish that you’ll have a well-rounded view of the project."

Thursday’s presentation was strictly informational, and no action was taken. Still, commissioners expressed support for "Neighborhood F," also known as "Wicklund Crossing," the first of 12 areas to be built in the new town.

However, commission chair Sandra Carter said she had reservations about the use of the word "interim" to describe facilities such as the fire station, sports fields, and additions to Lammersville School and West High School.

Teed-Bose replied that development agreements ensure that permanent facilities will be part of the project after the first few hundred homes are built. At the same time, infrastructure such as storm drains, roads and sewer and water lines will be oversized for the first neighborhood, and subject to expansion by buildout. "We’re trying not to overburden the project in its early years," he said.

Mountain House is ultimately expected to have 16,000 houses and 44,000 residents over the 20- to 40-year buildout. The first 405-acre phase will have more than 1,500 residences, including 980 homes in low- and medium-density subdivisions, plus 64 possible second-units, such as detached in-law cottages, in those same areas. Another 480 high-density units, such as apartments and townhomes, are planned for the area as well.

The houses surround a 16-acre school, five-acre park and three-acre community center. About 31 acres along Mountain House Parkway are reserved for office development, and 36 acres will be developed as an industrial park.

Hitchcock said this area should provide more than 3,100 jobs for nearly 2,200 workers in the first phase. Over time, he said, the jobs-to-housing balance for Mountain House will be just about even, with 0.99 jobs per worker.

Teed-Bose said some Silicon Valley-type businesses are interested in the area, and he added that the project is designed so that jobs and housing will match people of all skills and incomes.

The first step for any of this will be completion of the sewer and water plants at the north end of the community, just north of Byron Road.

Teed-Bose said he hopes to have building permit approval for those soon, and building will take another year. At the same time, a fire station will be built just north of the new neighborhood. This will clear the way for houses to be built, with the school and park being built at the same time. Teed-Bose said the K–8 school will be funded by a Mello-Roos bond, and should be open sometime between when the 200th and 240th houses are built. He said Trimark is also planning to build the park, including a pool, early on, though that will be funded by development fees.

The commission also looked at some changes to the specific plan for the project. In the case of Neighborhood F, that means there will be regular residential streets with driveways surrounding the central school and park. Original plans called for no street access to homes but rather for access to be through alleyways behind the houses.

Trimark also eliminated a proposed series of townhomes at the western entrance to the neighborhood, opting instead for landscaped walkways facing the community center across the street.

Teed-Bose said the basic nature of the plan remains intact, and described how each of the seven smaller sections of Neighborhood F allows pedestrian and bicycle access to the school and park, and at least two roadway access points from the arterial streets. "They can walk to the village center, they can walk to employment and they can walk to school," he said.


A TOWN IS BORN-COUNTY OKS PLANS FOR MOUNTAIN HOUSE

November, 1994

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors Thursday approved the Mountain House development in hopes that the planned new town of 44,000 residents just west of Tracy will help propel the local economy into the 21st century.

Supervisors asked few questions during a six-hour public hearing before voting 4—1 to give Trimark Communities Inc. final approval for the Mountain House project. Supervisor Bill Sousa cast the dissenting vote.

Another 2 1/2 years of planning will pass before any dirt is moved on the 4,800-acre swath of alfalfa fields where Trimark plans to build 16,000 homes and draw 22,000 jobs over the next 20 to 40 years. "I want to see Mountain House become a reality as soon as possible, and this community should be able to take advantage of the economic turnaround," said Supervisor Bob Cabral. "Let’s get some housing and jobs going in San Joaquin County."

The development’s approval culminates five years of negotiations between the county and Trimark over initial plans for the enormous task of building an urban community from the ground up.

The county is now faced with the sizeable responsibility of monitoring Trimark’s adherence to agreements that the developer made on everything from open space to sewage to job creation. Opponents of the project worried that the agreements give Trimark too much leeway.

Each of the supervisors acknowledged Thursday that the huge task of creating Mountain House from scratch carries risks for San Joaquin County. But those who voted for the project said the benefits of potential property-tax income and jobs are worth taking a chance. "I for one am willing to take the risk because I feel fairly confident that economic risks will be taken care of," Cabral said. "I think this is a good project, and it’s our obligation to keep the costs down and in line."

"Life is a risk," said Supervisor Douglas Wilhoit, who reversed an earlier stance he took against Mountain House. "I think given the bright future for the state of California...this project can be a success."

Some of the risks outlined in county reports include the cost of providing public services to the fledgling town, the scarcity of water, how to treat sewage, the loss of farmland and whether the town will attract high–paying jobs or town residents will commute to the Bay Area.

Additional risks are the impact of the development on an endangered species of hawk, whether the project will further clog county roads and freeways, and the cost of the proposed homes.

Before casting the sole "no" vote, Sousa said the county doesn’t need the Mountain House homes and that Interstate 205 would be choked with traffic from the development–s residents. "This new town compounds an old problem—the Altamont commute," said Sousa. "We need to stop building for the Bay Area and build for ourselves."

Mountain House lawyers and consultants argued that the development is the most scrutinized in county and state history.

Proponents say Mountain House is the county–s best opportunity for new homes and jobs because of its Bay Area proximity and its plans for industrial parks and pedestrian–friendly town centers, schools, shopping, and a combination of dense housing and higher–priced ranchettes.

"It represents a challenge and opportunity for us to create a quality community in San Joaquin County," said Trimark General Manager Duane Grimsman. "I want to reaffirm our long–term commitment to the project, and we are fully aware of the risks."

Groups concerned about the impact of the development saw the 2 1/2–year gap between Thursday’s approval and the project’s groundbreaking as a window of opportunity to set up stricter regulations that would protect farmland and wildlife.

Supervisors agreed to the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau’s request that the county consider protecting farmland by requiring developers to set aside money or one acre of land for every acre lost to development.

Environmentalists who vehemently criticized Trimark’s plans for protecting the Swainson’s hawk said that a plan for farmland preservation would satisfy their concerns about the project’s impact.

The toughest opposition to the project came from the state Department of Fish and Game, which is responsible for protecting the state’s wildlife. Cindy Chadwick of Fish and Game warned supervisors that Trimark’s plans to protect the hawk were insufficient, making state-mandated environmental reports written for the project invalid.

Chadwick said the department was deciding how to respond to the county’s approval of Mountain House’s wildlife plans. But Mountain House cleared its toughest hurdle Thursday when supervisors approved the project. Mountain House is a small portion of the holdings of Trimark Communities and its parent company, Sterling Pacific, Grimsman said.

Trimark worked to protect its investment of more than five years of payments to consultants and lawyers by close negotiations with the county. Strategies also included soliciting more than $20,000 in campaign contributions to supervisors Barber and Simas over the last two years and scheduling the final paperwork in time for Thursday’s vote by the current board.


SUPERVISORS MOVE MOUNTAIN - New town near Altamont will be home to 43,000

November, 1994

By a 4–1 vote, the supervisors approved a series of documents granting the project’s developer legal permission to build the proposed 4,784-acre, 43,000–resident Mountain House town. Supervisors in favor said Mountain House will provide needed housing and jobs, save prime farmland and boost the county economy over time. They noted, however, that the project poses some risks.

Critics, including the supervisor who voted against the project, said the town will compound what has already come to be a traffic nightmare through the Livermore Valley’s Interstate 580 corridor. Supervisor Bill Sousa, warned that the traffic impact will hit San Joaquin and Alameda counties hard. "This new town compounds and old problem and that’s the Altamont commute," he said. "That commute is already painful for those who do it." Sousa added, "All of the routes along I–580 through Livermore and Pleasanton are going to be bottled up."

The project’s own studies show Mountain House is expected to generate at least $200,000 vehicle trips daily within 20 years. The board’s approval marked the project’s final major public review hurdle.

Two years ago, supervisors agreed that Mountain House--three miles northwest of Tracy--was a logical place to concentrate county growth and it was added to the county’s general plan. Thursday’s hearing, however, covered more specific development and finance plans, final environmental reports and legal agreements binding the county and Mountain House developer Trimark Communities to commitments for the next 15 years.

The only thing in the way now of the project’s estimated 1997 start date are mostly routine development-related approvals and possible appeals or legal challenges, county officials said.

"Today’s approval literally put about 100 issues behind us," said a smiling Duane Grimsman, a Trimark vice president. Grimsman added, however, that complex though relatively minor issues remain. "Sure, there’s a lot of work left to be done before houses start going up," he said. "You're looking at a (whole new) town."

The project has been in the works since 1988. Plans call for a densely populated community with 16,000 new homes and the same population as Tracy today, but on a land mass 30 percent smaller than Tracy. A dozen schools, two golf courses, a community center, shopping and places to work for about 22,000 are also planned. Buildout of Mountain House is expected to occur over a 20–40 year period.

Also during Thursday’s hearing, the board majority sided with Trimark over the handling of open space and impact on Swainson’s Hawk and San Joaquin Kit Fox habitats. Critics leveled charges that the project does not do enough in those areas.

Martin Vitz of the East Bay Regional Park District called the project’s plan for 70-acre regional park a "weak spot" in the project, noting that San Joaquin County’s own staff originally wanted Mountain House to set aside at least 400 acres for a regional park. Vitz said his agency is concerned that its neighboring parklands may end up handling heavy use from Mountain House residents over time. The park district serves Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

On habitat mitigation, state Department of Fish and Game officials and environmentalist attacked Trimark’s plan, calling it "a hollow document" without adequate protections. "The Mountain House habitat mitigation plan is nothing but a sales job. It has nothing to do with biology... It’s something to do with money and killing endangered species," said Waldo Holt, chairman of the San Joaquin Audubon Society.

Supervisors in favor of the project hope the development will generate new revenue for the county. Supervisor Bob Cabral said he believes the Mountain House will generate more revenue than what it will cost to provide services to the area. But he and other supporting supervisors admitted there are no guarantees. "There is a risk, but I for one am willing to take the risk," Cabral said.

Cabral represents the south county, including Lathrop and Tracy. Officials in from both cities oppose the project because it conflicts with their growth plans.

Supervisor Ed Simas also talked of the risk. But fear not, he said. "Let’s not be afraid, let’s move forward," Simas said.

Opponents also questioned the project's promise to make the county money. One estimate shows the county making $3.4 million a year by the project’s 10th year.