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Designated policy areas aim to employ creativity In developing strategic & problematic areas in city
A City of Manteca refuse truck dumps a load of recyclables to be sorted at the Lovelace Transfer Station.

Manteca’s future Woodward Park 2.0 on steroids is within a half of a mile of a dump.

Technically, it’s not a dump.

It’s a transfer station.

If you are unfamiliar with what that is, think of the Amazon fulfillment center located on Airport Way just a half-mile west of the Lovelace Materials Recovery & Transfer Station north of Manteca.

A transfer station is an online retail distribution center in reverse.

Items are collected from customers via trucks and hauled to the transfer station.

Once there, they are sorted and sent to either an appropriate recycling concern, a compost facility, a landfill, and in the near future the Manteca wastewater treatment plant to be combined with sewer (methane gas) to create fuel to power garbage collection truck.

Both the landfill area and the more than 100 acres where a community park is planned as part of the Manteca City Council’s settlement agreement with the Delicato winery are designated policy areas within the city’s general plan.

That’s the document guiding city growth through 2043 that Delicato did not like because they believed the development pattern encouraged in north Manteca threatened the future viability of the winery that just a few years back they invested $100 million in expanding.

Actually, only the area in and around the transfer station is currently designated as a policy area.

The area that features the future community park is proposed to be added as a policy area when the Manteca Planning Commission meets Thursday at 6 p.m. to consider an amendment to the general plan to essentially codify the Delicato settlement.

Policy areas are designated sections of the community that the city wants to pursue “desired strategic growth”. Being designated as a policy area allows the employment of “creative” development patterns — read that, the employment of out-of-the-box thinking instead of simply using basic zoning tools.

As such it can minimize negative issues connected within a designated area and/or maximize potential such as transforming a well-position area on two major arterials into a transit village of sorts.

In the case of the transfer station on Lovelace Road midway between Airport Way and Union Road, the goal is to minimize the impacts of the high intensity use and traffic associated with a transfer station.

Wording in the general plan said this would be accomplished through “transitions and buffers” within 500 feet of the policy area.

What that would consist of is to be determined. But the area referred to which could be generally be called open space would be the equivalent of more than the width of eight “typical” 60-foot frontage of Manteca residential lots.

And given the buffer applies only when the transfer station is there, that means it could be converted to other uses at a later point.

That said, there is a high cost to securing and developing a new location elsewhere.

And at the same time, if the safeguards are done right there is a huge advantage to existing  and future Manteca ratepayers not to relocate the transfer station.

It is now a short drive for city refuse trucks to access.

Another location that works for South County jurisdictions — except for Tracy — that use it, could add significant mileage and reduce the time drivers have to pick up carts.

The policy area around the park notes housing will never be allowed under any circumstances.

It could have commercial, industrial or ag-support businesses.

The policy area also leaves the door open for a possibility Manteca Mayor Gary Singh floated — a supersized community park that could be more regional in nature.

Instead of replicating a 50-acre park site — the same size as Woodward Park — on the east side of Union Road and south of the extension of Lovelace Road, it could be larger.

Singh noted last month that is a possibility especially if industrial use doesn’t materialize on an adjoining 50 acre parcel.

Understand it is just conjecture at this point, but the policy area could ultimately allow for a 100-acre or so park.

That park could also include an aquatics center built by the city.

Or it could include commercial-based recreation endeavors.

In short, there are endless scenarios that could end up working based on how the area in question and Manteca develops.

A policy area where the city has clearly signaled it is open to innovation from the get go will reduce the odds of same-old, same-old development in favor of a more creative outcome.

There are other policy areas.

*The southwest corner of Airport Way and Louise Avenue.

This is a large parcel aside for commercial and apartments back when retail and development pattern were dictated by 1970s sensibilities. The vision is for an effective combination of commercial, high density residential park use on a human scale and not simply cookie cutter.

*The area around Airport Way and Yosemite Avenue.

The goal is to retain and allow the future expansion of Kaiser supported with other medical offices as well as commercial and mixed residential that takes advantage of strategic transit and major arterials.

*Yosemite Square along the west side of Austin Road northeast of the 120 Bypass/Highway 99 interchange.

The master plan area has been approved to support 786 housing units with a combination of high, median, and low densities along with parks and similar uses.

*Austin Road Business Park in southeast Manteca where Austin Road will intersect with the future extension of Raymus Parkway.

This is envisioned for business parks, “high quality parks”, local support commercial, and a residential mix that features low, medium, and high density.

Within that mix will be workforce housing and executive housing.

It also calls for appropriate buffering of the residential area planned near the railroad tracks.

As an example, it could include a sound wall built on a mound with extensive tree planting which is a departure from basic city requirements.


The planning commission meets Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email