Manteca’s elected leaders are about to learn that the jobs-housing balance is far from one-dimensional.
The Manteca Planning Commission all but made certain the issue of whether a massive 486-space truck parking lot should be allowed to build west of the 1,425-home Del Webb neighborhood will end up being decided by the City Council.
On a 3-2 vote Tuesday the commission approved the truck yard with the added condition it could not be operated except between the hours of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. out of concern it would be too much noise for nearby residents. The CenterPoint Business Park representative made it clear that placing such a time restrictions on operations would significantly reduce the marketability of the 16.12-acre project. The approval with the restriction will stand unless CenterPoint appeals it and the City Council overturns the commission decision.
The CenterPoint development in northwest Manteca borders the Union Pacific Railroad intermodal yard on the west and Airport Way. It borders Roth Road on the north and starts a short distance from Lathrop Road on the south.
The existing 153-space truck parking yard rents space mostly to independent and contract drivers that need a place to park their rigs. Drivers leave their cars at the lot — or are dropped off — when they are driving their truck. Each of those spaces account for 1.68 trailer trips per day based on a study conducted by consultants at the city’s request. Restricting the hours drivers could retrieve and park their trucks could be a major issue given more often than not scheduled pickups and drop-offs fluctuate.
Del Webb residents filled the commission meeting Tuesday to express concerns that the truck yard would hurt their quality of life, send more air pollution their way, elevate noise, and further destroy Airport Way pavement.
The current 153-space truck yard in operation to the north has not created such problems because drivers use a private road inside the CenterPoint Business Park known as Intermodal Way to access it via Roth Road.
CenterPoint proposes extending that road further south to the site of the proposed second truck yard that has 486 spaces but that is contingent on Union Pacific granting them an easement and allowing the road to be built on their property.
Meanwhile trucks using the second yard when it opens would use Airport Way via a private road. It would connect with Airport Way between Daisywood Drive — the western entrance to Del Webb — and Lathrop Road. The T-intersection of the private road with Airport Way would have traffic signals. That would create three traffic signals in a short stretch of roadway meaning more noise could be generated from trucks braking and accelerating.
Trucks would “temporarily” access Roth Road that provides a connection to Interstate 5 by heading up Airport Way past homes backing up to the road as well as through the Daisywood intersection.
Planning Commission Chairman Leonard Smith questioned how “temporary” the use of Airport Way would end up being. His push to stipulate the truck yard could not be built until the so-called “spine road” — Intermodal Way — was extended to the project site to allow truck access to Roth Road did not garner backing from other commission members.
Smith sided with commission members Eric Hayes and Ron Lafranchi to impose restrictions on the hours of operation of the proposed yard that could generate 816 truck trips a day at capacity based on observations the consultants made March 5-6 of movements in and out of the existing truck yard. They noted each space generated 1.68 trailer trips per day.
Several commission members expressed frustration a project was up for approval that would create significant truck traffic before the city completes its truck route study. City Planner J.D. Hightower noted Airport Way going north allows truck traffic under county rules.
Concerns expressed about idling that can generate noise as well as pollutants had been covered in a stipulation that indicates trucks are not allowed to idle more than three minutes.
Hayes wondered how the idling and noise would be monitored. He was told the developer is not being required to monitor noise.
For decades, Manteca residents have demanded — and city leaders have clamored — for more jobs to provide employment opportunities so those buying homes don’t have to commute long distances. That is the goal of what planners refer to as a jobs-housing balance.
But questions raised by Del Webb residents indicate such as balance is more than just one dimensional as job centers that rely on truck movements can impact the quality of life of nearby residents and accelerate deterioration of roadways.
The biggest source of head-of-household jobs in the Manteca is being driven by distribution centers and powered by a growing shortage of truck drivers.
The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis statistics indicate San Joaquin County is No. 2 nationally for the percentage of overall jobs in the local labor market in the transportation and warehouse sector. Overall 34,202 jobs — or 10.4 percent of all of those employed in the county — are in transportation and warehousing. That is only topped by Laredo, Texas at 14.3 percent.
The median salary was $59,000 for the 4,264 semi-truck driving jobs that were posted in San Joaquin County in 2018.
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