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.
That decision was made when the housing element was adopted for the general plan document that serves as a blueprint for growth.
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. Essentially that means anyone opposed to such a shelter couldn’t stop it assuming the proposed shelter meets all of the basic building code rules as well as healthy and safety requirements. There are two other zones in Manteca where homeless shelters are allowed with the obtaining of a conditional use permit — light industrial and neighborhood commercial.
The city in 2014 amended the zoning code to reflect the general plan after they were approached by homeless advocates looking at the possibility of opening such a shelter. No movement was made at that time to open a shelter.
Currently several non-profits are quietly exploring the possibility of establishing a more robust homeless day center — and even ultimately a shelter for single homeless adults — in Manteca.
General commercial where homeless shelters have to be allowed includes areas such as the Wal-Mart shopping center, Spreckels Marketplace anchored by Food-4-Less, and The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley. Realistically such locations are a pipe dream given the cost of renting or buying is too burdensome for a non-profit.
That’s not the case in some locales in older areas that have existing buildings that are often vacant and are below market in terms of what prices prime locations demand. Such areas are the stretch of Moffat Boulevard directly in front of the Powers Tract neighborhood east of Manteca High, Oak Street south of downtown and directly across the railroad tracks, and the former trailer park adjacent to the Manteca High campus at Sherman Avenue and Moffat Boulevard. There are other areas but either they consist of vacant land, newer buildings, or have a strong demand for retail and other uses.
Oak Street — an allowed area for shelters — has been an area non-profits have considered as well as the former Qualex photo processing building the Manteca Redevelopment Agency bought in 2006 for $3.6 million with the idea of making it into a new home for the Manteca Police Department. The plan didn’t pan out. With the disbanding of RDA agencies by the state, cities such as Manteca are being forced to sell property that the RDA holds. The Qualex building is among the Manteca RDA properties being auctioned.
Whether a non-profit could swing a deal is debatable although commercial brokers expect it to sell for substantially less than what the city paid for it. And if a non-profit did buy the building, they’d have to have city assurances that they could get a conditional use permit for either a day center or homeless shelter. There are also other smaller buildings available in the Manteca Industrial Park that could be rented possibly for a homeless shelter or day center if a conditional use permit can be secure.
There is currently a limited homeless resource center that is essentially office space that is used several days a week for limited hours on the southeast corner of Fremont and East Yosemite avenues in the former Manteca News building. Should a more muscular day center be pursued with showers, bathrooms, dining room, and a resource center two zones are available and both require a conditional use permit. The zones are neighborhood commercial and commercial mixed use.
That would include areas listed as strong candidates for a homeless shelter as well as almost the entire North Main Street corridor from Center Street to Northgate Drive, along East Yosemite Avenue from directly in front of Manteca High east to Cottage Avenue, and the east side of Airport Way from Wawona Street to almost West Yosemite Avenue. There are other areas but they either are vacant lands or are newer centers such as the Manteca Marketplace anchored by Big Lots and SaveMart.
The zoning ordinance restricts the maximum number of beds for emergency housing at 100 unless a conditional use permit is applied for and approved.
The city’s current three homeless shelters — Raymus House on Union Road for single moms and their children, HOPE Family Shelter on West Yosemite Avenue for families, and transitional housing east of Doctors Hospital — 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. Raymus House is in a converted convalescent hospital. The transitional housing repurposed multiple family dwellings.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com