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Advocates for Improving Manteca want city to address deteriorating sidewalks while Mantecans4Change push for ballot measure on homeless navigation center
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The proposed homeless navigation center.

Failure to address sidewalk tripping hazards and growing frustration with the city’s homeless strategy created a first Tuesday for Manteca — two separate community-based groups simultaneously pressuring the City Council to take definitive steps to address long lingering quality of life issues.

And they got the council’s attention.

Neither issue was on the agenda and were raised through public comment.

And after they had spoken and presented proverbial sticks — one in the form of  a petition with 1,066 signatures and another with the threat of a petition drive to qualify a measure for the ballot — the council via consensus directed staff to address the issues.

That means:

*City Attorney Dave Nefouse will be seeking outside counsel “with a  fresh look” to examine issues regarding a proposed homeless navigation center raised in the wording of a ballot measure on the subject being advanced by Mantecans4Change.

*Generally addressing the issue of sidewalk tripping hazards citywide and specifically allowing changes in the specific plan for Del Webb residents to replace street trees causing the uplifting of sidewalks. That issue was being advanced by the Advocates for Improving Manteca.

And given the strategies pursued by the informal grassroots groups, they intend to use the switch to district elections starting this year to gain maximum leverage to pressure city government to address community and neighborhood issues.

The timing couldn’t be more opportune.

Filling begins soon for two council positions — the District 1 seat that Jose Nuno is not seeking re-election to as well as the District 3 seat Dave Breitenbucher has kicked off his reelection campaign for— as well as a citywide vote for mayor.

The city clerk’s office is staging a candidate information night on Wednesday, July 6, at 6 p.m. at the Civic Center council chambers to provide potential hopefuls with the nuts and bolts of campaign and election law. More information is available on running for office and the July 6 gathering by calling the city clerk’s office at (209) 456-8017.

Sidewalk conditions are

bi safety concerns

The Del Webb sidewalks — nor is the advocacy group — breaking new ground.

Tree roots uplifting sidewalks have been a growing issue throughout the community since 2008 when the city eliminated its street four-man street maintenance crew that was dedicated  primarily to replacing sidewalks due to budget issues.

Except for periodic endeavors removing the most egregious trees and sidewalk replacement such as on the northeast corner of Main Street and Alameda Street, the city’s efforts regarding sidewalks for the past 14 years have been to conduct three studies, to mark tripping hazards with white spray paint and to grind down the worst locations as much as possible.

Advocates for Improving Manteca were promised Tuesday the issue of the city’s policy regarding uplifted sidewalks will be brought back for a council level discussion on possible solutions at an upcoming council meeting.

No specific date was given.

They also asked for Del Webb property owners to have the ability to remove offending street trees and replace them with trees of their own.

Del Webb residents — and those elsewhere in Manteca — have issue with the city requiring property owners to make the repairs given the trees were required by the city.

In the case of Del Webb, the trees came from a city list of approved street trees and were supposed to have root barriers installed.

At any rate, Del Webb noted that trees in their neighborhood are even more problematic as opposed to newer subdivisions including Union Ranch that is covered in the same specific plan as they were required to be placed in a parking strip between the sidewalk and the street.

Most modern-era subdivisions with tree requirements have then behind the sidewalk on the house side with a greater setback.

There have been a number of falls in the Del Webb neighborhood due to tripping over uplifted sidewalks including those that have resulted in substantial injuries.

Since 2008, not a year has gone by without residents appearing at council meetings to complain about sidewalk conditions.

Last year, the city attorney’s office advanced a proposed ordinance to address the use. The council, however, tossed it aside due to negative pushback from property owners that didn’t like the idea they would be responsible for making the sidewalk repairs instead of the city.


Homeless navigation

center issues

The Mantecans4Change have been pushing for the city to abandon plans to build a homeless navigation center on 8 acres directly across from neighborhoods on South Main Street.

They have repeatedly shared issues they have with the homeless that aren’t being addressed.

One example cited Tuesday was a resident who called police to report a homeless woman was sleeping on her driveway.

The woman eventually moved to the sidewalk in front of homes where she blocked the sidewalk while sleeping in clear violation of existing laws that are enforceable under the 9th District Court of Appeals ruling.

Wording of the groups’ intent to circulate a petition to qualify a measure for the ballot  prompted the city attorney to indicate serious issues were raised that needed to be properly vetted.

To see if there are legal precedents or laws that back up their points and to vet the proposed measure, Nefouse wanted time to research the issues that were raised and make sure it is reviewed by an outside legal counsel as well.

Councilman Dave Breitenbucher is the only elected official that has said he will support the move to have city voters weigh in on the issue.

They want the city’s municipal code amended as follows:

*Low Barrier Navigation Centers shall not be permitted to operate in any location within the City of Manteca, including but not limited to areas zoned for mixed use and nonresidential zones permitting multifamily uses.

*Additionally, no shelter designed to house any person, whether designated a Low Barrier Navigation Center or not, shall be permitted to operate within the City of Manteca without first imposing barriers to entry including mandatory sobriety (on-site breathalyzers and drug screens); strict curfews; mandatory work program or career enhancement participation classes and criminal background checks.

The intent to circulate notes California Government Code Section 65660 (a) defines the term Low Barrier Navigation Center as “a Housing First, low-barrier, service-enriched shelter focused on moving people into permanent housing that provides temporary living facilities while case managers connect individuals experiencing homelessness to income, public benefits, health services, shelter, and housing.”  Navigation Centers are “low barrier” in nature because they remove all barriers for entry into the shelter including sobriety (on-site breathalyzers and drug screens); strict curfews; mandatory work program or career enhancement participation classes; and criminal background checks.