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Making way for 75-foot complexes for housing
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Manteca may take building heights to the “max” to accommodate high density housing options and create a more compact city in a bid to slow urban sprawl to house a growing population base.

A zoning text amendment before the Manteca Planning Commission when they meet Thursday at 6 p.m. will take the standard allowed height of buildings in three zoning districts — commercial mixed use, business industrial park, and commercial neighborhood —  from the current 45 feet to 75 feet.

It would pump up the height limit in a  fourth zone — R-3 which is high density residential such as for apartments — from 45 feet to 55 feet or four stories.

In comparison, the six-story Great Wolf hotel comes to 83 feet at its highest point. It is located in a zone that doesn’t have a maximum height limit.

Medium residential or R-2 zoning  will remain at 35 feet as a maximum height.

The low-density R-1 and agricultural zones have a 30-foot building height limit that will remain intact.

The proposed 75-foot height limit isn’t arbitrary.

It takes into account the firefighting and rescue capabilities of the Manteca Fire Department.

It is also roughly the height that separates a medium-rise building from a high-rise building.

Past that point, construction requirements start to add costs including with complex fire suppression systems.

The zoning text change reflects goals outlined in the general plan update adopted in July to encourage more urban and compact development in specific areas of the city.

There are two city projects moving forward through the early stages of the entitlement process that would benefit from the rule change.

One is the affordable housing component of the municipal endeavor at 682 South Main Street that also involves the homeless navigation center/transitional housing to the back of the parcel off of Carnegie Court.

While the 682 South Main Street parcel is referenced in the planning staff report for Thursday’s meeting, the second project is not.

It could involve a parcel the city bought on the northwest corner of Yosemite and Sycamore avenues in downtown Manteca.

It consists of a parking lot and “the wall” and adjoining concrete area.

The wall was left after a fire destroyed the Waukeen Hotel on the corner in the 1970s and gutted the adjoining building.

There has been interest from the private sector on doing a  combined use building on the site.

One proposal envisions commercial on the bottom floor and housing on upper floors.

According to the climate action plan Manteca adopted in 2013, “The City shall encourage projects that are at or near the maximum densities allowed by the General Plan and zoning designation to achieve more compact development.”

The bottom line is a reduction in greenhouse gases.

The staff report for Thursday’s meeting notes, “Creating new and redeveloped high-density, pedestrian and transit oriented development is the wave of future development in Manteca, and the state of California as a whole.”

“Many redevelopment sites in the Downtown area and throughout Manteca are smaller sites that may not be of the size necessary to accommodate suburban development and the existing suburban parking standards. As such, an increase in height in these areas will allow development to capitalize on the density potential of these site and provide much needed housing to the City.

 Maximum density on sites can ultimately only be achieved if the City increases the height limits throughout the City.”


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email