Mayor Ben Cantu wants the City Council to discuss growth, or more precisely how Manteca is managing it.
On Tuesday Cantu asked that the subject be placed on the Dec. 15 meeting. None of his council colleagues objected to the idea of discussing growth.
Specially, Cantu wants to possibly pursue a moratorium on the city considering new tentative maps that are the first step toward securing approval of subdivisions. The mayor also wants the City Council updated on how much sewer capacity remains at the treatment plant, an exact recap of the number of housing units that have been approved and can legally be built, a review of fees assessed on growth, and taking a look at how city services are faring as Manteca absorbs between 1,500 and 2,500 new residents a year.
Cantu noted Manteca has at least a 10-year supply of housing units based on an average of 600 plus a year that have legal entitlements to be built.
“It is important to point out that this is not a building moratorium but a moratorium on processing new tentative maps,” Cantu noted.
As such, projects that have already been submitted and are being vetted for approval as a tentative map will not be subject to a moratorium under Cantu’s proposal.
Cantu noted it has been almost 40 years since Manteca’s elected leadership has taken such a holistic approach to growth. That discussion led to the implementation of the Ordinance 800 growth management program that was basically designed to make sure the city did not deplete sewer capacity as they did in the early 1980s that led to a building moratorium.
Cantu said ideally what could happen if a moratorium on accepting new tentative maps for processing is put in place the council will be able to look at service levels, growth fees, and all affiliated impacts and concerns that growth creates. If all goes well, the council then could implement policies that would have tentative maps moving forward that address such vexing issues as affordable housing.
Such an approach as Cantu is advocating avoids creating economic impacts and triggering lawsuits while the city decides whether to explore — and act on — strategies that would correct concerns growth is creating.
It is legally precarious at a minimum for any city to try to impose a building moratorium on housing units that have already been approved and legally entitled unless there is an overwhelming public health and safety issue such as a lack of water or no sewer treatment plant capacity.
Nor would a temporary tentative map moratorium disrupt building trades employment. Manteca, which is on track to have more than 600 new home starts this year, has seen new home sales in the past five months ramp up to the point 900 plus new homes could be built in Manteca during 2021.
If that were to happen, there would still be at least 6,000 other residential lots approved that could be developed without a single additional tentative map being approved.
Under Ordinance 800, close to 1,300 homes could legally built in 2021 and still be within the growth management limitations. The ordinance’s language calls for a maximum of 3.9 percent of the living units built or under construction at the end of each year to serve as the cap for the number of homes that could be built in the next year. As the housing inventory grows, so does the number of housing units that can be built in subsequent years.
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