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No choice annexation for Reichelt?

Manteca staff says long-time city critic can’t block move

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No choice annexation for Reichelt?

The homes along this frontage road behind the Louise Avenue sound wall east of Airport Way could soon become part of the City of Manteca.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin /

POSTED February 3, 2009 4:42 a.m.
Georgianna Reichelt’s battles over growth and government are almost legendary.
She was the moving force behind a successful Manteca Rural Committee effort in 1989 that got the California Supreme Court to essentially agree a traffic mitigation study was needed before the 640-home Chadwick Square community in northwest Manteca could proceed.
Reichelt also was able to hammer the developer of Villa Ticino and the Manteca City Council to agree to put a jog in Louise Avenue in front of her home and a dozen or so others just east of Airport Way when they widened the road to four lanes. It is the only part of Louise Avenue between Interstate 5 and North Ripon Road that isn’t a straight line.
She’s also been involved in Land Utilization Alliance efforts, is a strident critic of the Manteca Redevelopment Agency, and got involved in monumental lawsuits fighting the approval of the 10,800-acre River Islands at Lathrop project.
Even though she isn’t a Manteca voter, she has arguably had the biggest impact of any private citizen outside of developers on Manteca growth decisions even though she doesn’t usually get her way. Reichelt is a regular at council meeting using three minutes allotted to citizen comments to take the council to task, to question their decision process and motives, and - on rare occasions - to praise them.
Reichelt is now in another battle that is a lot closer to home – as in her home.
And when it’s all done Reichelt could end up as a City of Manteca voter.
The City Council tonight will review the initial study and negative declaration for the proposed 68.23-acre Manteca Unified School District office and school farm annexation that essentially includes her home and those of her neighborhoods by default.
If city staff and the San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission staff are correct, there is no way legally that Reichelt can stop from becoming a City of Manteca resident short of selling her home.
Reichelt, though, has made it clear she doesn’t intend to give up. She has attended every meeting that has anything to do with the annexation. She has publicly questioned the integrity of city department heads involved in the annexation process and has lambasted city leaders for ruining the rural character of the land between Manteca and Lathrop along the Airport Way corridor.
What got the ball rolling was the school district’s need for water and sewer at their new $13 million, three-story district office complex. Manteca agreed to provide it to them on the condition they annex to the city. They extended temporary service that will be withdrawn should the annexation fail to go through.
The annexation of the school property alone would create a triangle island surrounded by the city.
That is a “no-no” under LAFCO policy. Government Code Section 56375.3 defines an island annexation of anything under 150 acres. It gives LAFCO the authority to force land into a city without allowing the standard protest provisions of Government Code 57080 that could be used to force termination of annexation hearings at LAFCO.
The island area contains 39.84acres consisting of 18 parcels including Reichelt’s home that is accessed by the Louise Avenue frontage road created.
Community Development Director Mark Nelson in a report to the City Council noted “the staff’s inclusion of the island area is based entirely on adopted LAFCO policies and procedures that prohibit annexations that create islands. Should the City Council decide to move the island area from the annexation and move forward with the (Manteca Unified) on its own, LAFCO would be required to deny the city’s request.”
The City Council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
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