Make no mistake about it.
The epicenter for population growth in the Northern San Joaquin Valley is Manteca-Lathrop.
In 2018, the two cities added a combined 4,034 residents — 2,759 in Manteca and 1,255 in Lathrop. That compares with Tracy that added 1,968 residents last year and Stockton that grew by 2,508 based on state Department of Finance estimates. Manteca, on its own, was the fastest growing city in the three-county Northern San Joaquin Valley.
If growth levels flat-lined based on 2018 activity in the 209, Manteca that had a population of 83,781 on Jan. 1, 2019 will top 100,000 residents sometime in 2025.
By 2033 Manteca would surpass Tracy as the second largest city in San Joaquin County and as the third largest city in the Northern San Joaquin Valley if the trend holds.
Manteca-Lathrop — with a current combined population of 106,000 — would be home to 150,000 plus people by 2030.
And while growth may not accelerate, given the shortage of approved subdivisions in the greater Bay Area region as well as the infrastructure to serve them, San Joaquin County — particularly Manteca and Lathrop — will continue to either at the current pace or slightly slower.
Manteca now has 8,137 housing units in various stages of approval yet to be built. That assumes the 760 homes approved for Villa Ticino West on the southwest corner of Louise Avenue and Airport Way gets scratched for an industrial park of more than 5 million square feet. It also includes a plan for 700 plus homes just to the south of Lovelace Road that is in the process of being submitted to the city.
In Lathrop, River Islands alone has just a bit less than 10,000 approved housing units yet to be built. Between River Islands and Manteca that means there are 18,000 homes in the pipeline that based on a 3.18 person yield per home would generate 57,240 more residents. To put that in perspective Manteca had 56,838 residents in 2002.
The 8,137 housing units Manteca has approved or is in the process of doing so that haven’t been built does not reflect the number of homes that could be built on land being proposed for residential use in Manteca’s general plan update that does not currently have a project either approved or in the process of securing approvals. That land could easily yield an additional 5,000 homes.
From that perspective the general plan update that Manteca is now pursuing could cast the die for robust growth given that on current yields of 3.18 residents per house the homes in various stages of the approval process could add 25,780 residents to push the city’s population to almost 110,000.
Now that the council has given the consultants piecing the general plan update together direction on basic land uses they’d like to see in specific undeveloped areas, they will be able to project the number of homes those areas could yield at buildout.
That number will be applied to yield factors in terms of residents for various housing types to determine future impacts on everything from traffic to city services.
Although it wouldn’t be cast in stone that land will actually develop the way the general plan update calls for it to, it sets the stage for developers to submit projects that — once they get entitlements — will continue to fuel growth for decades to come.
Growth that some see today as the proverbial runaway train will actually be set on course by the final land use decisions the current council makes for the general plan update. General plans are mandated by state law to serve as blueprints for city growth.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com