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Housing takes backseat in growth plan
The preferred land use map for development the City Council wants staff to pursue for the general plan update is designed to bring more employers like Penske Logistics that operates a distribution center for Lowe’s Home Improvement Center on Airport Way at Roth Road in northwest Manteca.

Mayor Ben Cantu looked at the marching orders the City Council was about to give staff on general plan land use designations for the coming decade and noted elected leaders did what they promised voters they would do.

“The emphasis is more on jobs than housing,” Cantu said.

That could qualify as an understatement.

After being told repeatedly that Manteca was losing out to Tracy, Lathrop, and Stockton in the hunt for distribution centers and employment centers due to a lack of available space zoned for industrial uses as well as sites that are readily available to develop, the council on Tuesday embraced a preferred land use map for the general plan update that if ultimately is adopted will put Manteca on steroids in terms of land set aside for industrial as well as business park uses.

The land use map calls for industrial between the railroad tracks and Airport Way from Yosemite Avenue almost all the way to French Camp Road.

Half of the area bordered by the envisioned Roth Road extension on the south, Union Road on the east, French Camp Road on the north and Airport Way on the west is also envisioned for industrial uses with the other have being set aside for business parks that are essentially light industrial uses.

The biggest — and arguably the best situated for development with minimum impact on residents — is along French Camp Road east of Highway 99.  The council wants everything north of the future extension of Roth Road to Austin Road and south of French Camp Road to be zoned industrial.

Developer Bill Filios noted the area has existing updated freeway access via the recently completed French Camp/Highway 99 interchange. Trucks would not pass thru either commercial or residential areas to go to and from the site. It is also along a rail line and consists of large flat parcels used primarily for row crops with minimal structural improvements.

Filios said that all you need to do to develop the land is to extend utilities. Given it is all industrial the city could easily allow a separate water well system and even septic systems until such time that city utilities reach the area.

The preferred land use plan the council went with also includes a large area designated for business parks south of the Roth Road extension east of the freeway. Unlike the industrial area to the north, the land tagged for business park development would run from the freeway to as point midway between Castle Road and Austin Road.

The council kept the industrial land zoning to the south of the Austin Road/Highway 99 interchange in southeast Manteca in place.

That said they made it clear if the Raymus Expressway interchange with Highway 99 that has a $150 million price tag due to the need to shift Highway 99 to the east to make it work doesn’t materialize  the city should be open to allowing residential in the area. That would avoid sending truck traffic through future residential and commercial areas to reach the freeway via Austin Road.

In addition land currently approved for 1,014 homes on the southwest corner of Louise Avenue and Airport Way is being pursued by a developer for conversion to a business park with 4.9 million square feet of buildings.

The preferred land use does include additional areas for housing.  Almost half of the area involved to the north, northeast and southeast is zoned for the development of employment centers.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email