Manteca’s biggest crops can be found along Peach Avenue just west of Union Road — almonds, grapes and homes.
It is the new DMZ, if you will, separating country from city.
Some call it progress. Others don’t.
You will find new tract homes on the north side of Peach Avenue flanking Macedo Street. To the west of those homes you will find a fairly new almond orchard. A barn and country residence stand to the east of the new tract homes.
Across Peach Street to the south are grape vineyards, a poultry building and corn fields.
Eventually tract homes will breach Peach Avenue to the south. It may not happen along this stretch for a while but sooner than later Manteca, which up until 1998 did not have a single tract home south of the 120 Bypass, will plant homes on farmland further south.
The citizens who are providing input on the update of Manteca’s general plan designed to serve as the blueprint for the city’s growth through 2040 need to take a drive down Peach Avenue and the rural and urban neighborhoods on either side as well as head into the farmland further south.
The 200-year flood plain will eventually stop the southern march of Manteca in much of the area to the southwest of Peach Avenue. Manteca to the southeast is already working on additional annexations — the 339 acre Griiffin Park project — that will abut against Ripon’s sphere of influence.
For all practical purposes, Manteca’s ultimate boundary in the south has been determined by existing decisions delving up farmland for future urban growth in Ripon and Manteca as well as Mother Nature’s tendency to flood lowland.
To the west Lathrop will stop Manteca’s expansion.
To the north, Manteca could work its way toward French Camp Road west of Highway 99 where it collides with Stockton’s sphere of influence.
The patchwork of small rural estates to the northeast mixed with smaller farming operations makes Manteca’s expansion in that direction problematic at best.
That leaves one frontier to tame — the east.
The general plan citizens committee volunteers need to take a good look at this area and give serious thought to advocating for the City Council to adopt and ultimate urban boundary that won’t be breached.
It will allow the city to define its ultimate development. It also will stop urbanization creep into the rich farmland to Manteca’s east.
Perhaps a line a half mile east of Austin Road should be where Manteca’s urbanization ultimately stops.
It is a solid way to thoroughly plan for infrastructure and get everything for Manteca’s ultimate reach on the table as well as to protect both the quality of life for Manteca residents and farmers alike.
As Clint Eastwood might say, a city has got to know its limitations.