Any group has “the right” to open a homeless shelter for single men in Manteca as long as they do so in a general commercial zone.
Manteca municipal staff — following up on inquiries made by homeless advocates — has clarified that the city’s general plan allows emergency shelters in the general commercial zone. Although the zoning ordinance doesn’t make such a reference, the housing element of the general plan does.
Community Development Director Frederic Clark noted the zoning code specifically states where there is an inconsistency between the general plan and the zoning code, the general plan prevails. Clark added the city will move to correct the zoning code so it complies with the general plan.
State law passed in 2007 required that all jurisdictions identify at least one zone where emergency shelters are allowed “by right” without the need of a conditional use permit.
That means if a group secured an existing building no entitlement other than a building permit for any needed modifications would be required. If it was vacant property, a site plan would be required that met city codes. However, the city could not deny the use of property for a homeless shelter.
The city’s current two shelters — Raymus House on Union Road and HOPE Family Shelter on West Yosemite Avenue — are in multi-family zones and were allowed by use permit.
HOPE Family Shelter secured the apartment building at 600 W. Yosemite Avenue that was originally built as a hospital in the 1920s. Originally they had looked at a location on Lincoln Street in the early 1990s but neighborhood opposition blocked those plans.
The city has an abundance of general commercial. Much of it is along the south side of the 120 Bypass and developed commercial centers such as Spreckels Park and Stadium Retail Center as well as the Wal-Mart portion of the Mission Ridge Shopping Center. There is also general commercial north of Yosemite Avenue between Cottage Avenue and a point just west of Austin Road. Additional general commercial can be found around the Lathrop Road interchange and on the southeast corner of Airport Way and Louise Avenue as well as across from the Civic Center. In all of those cases the property is in high value areas making it cost prohibitive in all likelihood to opening a shelter in an existing building or constructing one.
The most likely general commercial candidates for shelters should a group pursue one would be along Oak Street south of downtown, the Moffat Boulevard corridor between Main Street and Powers Avenue, or the intersection of Airport Way and Yosemite Avenue.