Could luxury townhomes be what’s next for Manteca’s booming housing market?
That’ll be up to the Manteca City Council to decide.
On Tuesday, the Manteca Planning Commission voted 4-1 to approve a tentative subdivision map and planned development for Diamond Villas – a 2.2-acre project between Grant and Lincoln avenues – that will feature 43 townhome units on 51 lots as an in-fill project being proposed and funded by Bay Area developers.
According to the developer, their market research has the individual units themselves – which, as of right now, would be sold much the same way a single-family home is with the occupant owning the property as well as the building – priced for about $400,000 each.
That’s roughly the same price as new single family homes in Manteca. The added cost comes from amenities that include a pool, a gym and indoor meeting space. The price does not include the homeowner’s association fees that were not disclosed to the Planning Commission despite being asked.
The project also includes architectural touches that aren’t standard for most multi-family residential development in the city, including shutters, stone columns and balconies for the three-story domiciles that will feature a garage on the first floor and two floors of living space above it – measuring below the 45-foot height limit imposed by planning regulations.
But while it had the blessing of the majority of the commission – only Chairman Eric Hayes opposed the proposal on technical grounds – it is also a project that the Manteca Unified School District is taking issue with as well.
According to a letter submitted to the community development department, district planning supervisor Erika Durrer raised concerns about the disparity between the funds generated by new development and the actual cost of providing adequate educational facilities for the students that development brings into the district – a disparity that is eliminated when Mello-Roos district and community facilities districts are established as a part of the development process.
According to Durrer, the project that was approved on Tuesday is inconsistent with the City of Manteca’s existing general plan because it doesn’t contribute its “fair share of funding for the adequate school facilities as required by the General Plan 2035 and its Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program. In order to comply with the existing general plan document, Durrer wrote, the project developer would have to enter into a Mello-Roos district or a mitigation agreement with the district.
In her letter, Durrer wrote that the district is only able to charge $3.48 per square foot for new residential development compared to the $12.88 per square foot that is required to provide school facilities for new homeowners – only 26 percent of the total cost. Without the Mello-Roos district, she wrote and told the commission, the district has very little other option to secure the funding necessary to meet the costs of housing students.
Manteca City Attorney John Brinton disagreed with her assessment about the general plan on legal grounds, citing a government code section that spells out how the planning commission cannot mandate conditions for approval that require more than the basic development fees that are already agreed to as part of the development agreement.
It will now be up to the council to decide whether the project meets the needs of the community – Hayes said he believed the three-story construction and the higher-end approach would be out of place in the existing neighborhood, and he didn’t agree with concessions that were made in exchange for amenities and cosmetic additions – before construction could begin on the parcels.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.