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First annexation of 21st century
Manteca moves ahead with adding 68 acres to city
The 68.23-acre proposed annexation that includes the Manteca Unified School District office complex and school farm. - photo by RYAN BALBUENA
Manteca’s first annexation of the 21st century will not just bring the $13 million Manteca Unified office complex, adjoining school farm, 18 rural residences, and almond orchards destined to perhaps become apartments into the city limits. It also is the first piece to finishing the puzzle that will define Manteca’s ultimate city limits to the northwest.

The annexation isn’t making a number of the homeowners happy although several property owners Tuesday said they supported it. Those who opposed it also spoke out against the pre-zone that would make the orchards behind their homes eligible for construction of apartments in the future based on Manteca’s general plan that serves as the blueprint for growth.

The City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved the initial study and negative declaration for the proposed 68.23-acre triangle bounded by Louise Avenue on the south, the Union Pacific Railroad on the north and a business park that replaced the old magnesium plan to the west.

What got the ball rolling was the school district’s need for water and sewer at their new 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 They extended temporary service that will be withdrawn should the annexation fail to go through.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 consisting of the almond orchards and residences 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 39.84 acres 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.”

LAFCo, the commission that will decide the fate of the annexation, has adopted a sphere of influence for Manteca that abuts against the City of Lathrop and the north-south Union Pacific line that runs from Airport Way to a point north of Roth Road and then jogs slightly to the east then north again to French Camp Road.

The general plan ultimately calls for Airport Way to be widened to six lanes from the Highway 120 Bypass to Stockton Metro Airport. Manteca envisions the land north of the tracks that run behind the school farm to be primarily industrial with pockets of residential west of Airport Way while the area to the east is primarily residential.

Centre Point offers 4.2 million square feet of distribution space
A future annexation – that could be the second this century for Manteca – about a half mile to the north of the current proposed annexation – would bring the site of the proposed 273-acre Centre Point intermodal distribution center into the city.
Centre Point is moving through the preliminary planning process with 4.2 million square feet of distribution-style buildings in six structures bounded by Lathrop Road on the south, Roth Road on the north.

Developers are preparing to do a traffic study for the complex that includes 980 parking spaces for truck trailers and 769 loading dock doors.

It would be large enough to accommodate the square footage of eight Ford auto parts distribution centers like the one located in Spreckels Park or 53 Manteca Wal-Mart stores.

What makes the Center Point project unique is that it is a being designed as a true intermodal distribution center.  That means every building would have rail service.

The location is especially advantageous for two reasons.

First it is just a few hundred yards from the southeast edge of the Union Pacific intermodal operation and with 10 miles of the Santa Fe intermodal operation that puts truck trailers on and of railroad flat bed cars for long distance transportation. The plus of having the two intermodal railroad operations nearby — one a four minute drive, if that — and the other 15 minutes away means whatever companies locate there have the capability of moving goods to and from virtually every major market west of the Mississippi River in a  time efficient manner.

Manteca is also at the heart of the third largest market — 17 million consumers — within a 100-mile radius behind New York-Long Island and Los Angeles. It is what attracted Bass Pro Shops to Manteca. That means trucks can travel to and from the distribution center to stores serving 17 million consumers easily within an eight-hour workday.

The site is virtually smack dab at the midway point Highway 99 and Interstate 5 accessed by Lathrop Road. It is also connected to the Highway 120 Bypass directly via Airport Way, which also provides access to Stockton Metro Airport.

If the distribution center materializes, it will be one of a kind in terms of location and size in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

The site still has to be annexed to the City of Manteca. It is within Manteca’s sphere of influence and is continuous to the city limits.

The annexation process is separate from one that would take the Manteca Unified School District office complex and school farm immediately to the south into the City of Manteca.

It is also further along in the process than the 1,050-acre Austin Road Business Park. It abuts Woodward Avenue and Highway 99 to the north, an imaginary line if Highway 99 ran due south at the interchange with the 120 Bypass instead of angling off to the southeast, and future Ripon city limits on the south as well as the east.

It would have 3.5 million square feet of general commercial or about four times the amount of square footage as The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley that is now under construction. It would also have 8 million square feet of industrial, business park, and office use plus 3,400 homes. This is also where the proposed Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau events center and 5,000-seat amphitheater is proposed.

The industrial uses would generate between 3,000 and 6,000 jobs while the retail portion could yield up to 7,000 jobs.

The homes could accommodate up to 10,200 residents just under a sixth of the city’s current population.