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Homeless resource plan at Qualex requires 11 agencies to walk away for auction proceeds
The front of the Qualex property along Industrial Park Drive. - photo by Bulletin file photo

Manteca is now racing against the calendar to see if they can make it possible for Inner City Action to acquire the former Qualex building for use as a permanent homeless resource.

Assemblyman Heath Flora  — who has made it clear he will work with the city to move forward with the endeavor — has had his staff prepare legislation that needs to be introduced to committee by April 26 in order to get the proposal before the current legislative session. Given it is property the state mandated to be auctioned off after the dismantling of the Manteca Redevelopment Agency it will take an act of the California Legislature to obtain an exception to state law.

The tricky part, however, is getting 10 other taxing agencies that would benefit from the proceeds of auctioning off the Qualex building to agree to forgo revenue they would have received if it sold for market value to the highest bidder instead of $1 to Inner City Action.

Several taxing agencies the Bulletin contacted last week said the city had not yet reached out to them although at least one — Manteca Unified — confirmed they had been contacted.

What is at stake for some agencies based on how tax receipts are divided is considerable.

Based on a $1.5 million sale at auction the Qualex building would yield $750,804 for Manteca Unified, $291,312 for San Joaquin County, $221,752 for the City of Manteca, $96,601 for Delta College, $77,420 for the South San Joaquin Irrigation District, $25,15 for the San Joaquin County Office of Education, $24,647 for the Stockton-San Joaquin County Library system, $10,222 for the San Joaquin County Mosquito & Vector Control District, $2,302 for the San Joaquin County Flood Control, and $24 for Reclamation District 17.

In order to make the transaction to Inner City Action for $1 it would require all 11 agencies — including the city — to agree to forgo proceeds from an auction as well as the legislature to carve out an exception to state law.

Councilwoman Debby Moorhead, noting the tight time frame and the fact all the agencies may not have a scheduled meeting before April 26 to consider the proposal, was hopeful the process could move forward while the city works to obtain approval from the taxing agencies. Any of the 10 other agencies saying no would essentially kill the endeavor.

The City Council last week made it clear they wanted to do everything possible to see if the Qualex building can be used as a homeless resource center.

Singh and other council members have agreed with an observation by Mayor Ben Cantu that in terms purely related to location — building issues aside — the Qualex property is arguably the best location in Manteca for a homeless resource center.

Councilman Gary Singh noted the city needs to do something to work at improving the homeless situation that would in turn help address quality of life issues throughout Manteca.

 Moorhead and Singh both indicated moving Qualex forward as a solution is an uphill challenge that needs to be pursued to the fullest.

They believe it would be the best possible option in terms of location to operate a resource center with the maximum positive impact on the community with the minimum amount of drawbacks

Homeless resource

center or shelter allowed

by right in Manteca

general commercial zone

The city was required under state law passed in 2007 to identify at least one zone in the housing element of the general plan where a homeless resource center or homeless shelter was allowed as a right. The city selected the general commercial zone.

Essentially that means anyone opposed to such a shelter couldn’t stop it assuming the proposed shelter meets all of the basic building code as well as healthy and safety requirements. There are two other zones in Manteca where homeless shelters are allowed with the obtaining of a conditional use permit — light industrial and neighborhood commercial.

The city in 2014 amended their zoning code to reflect the general plan after they were approached by homeless advocates looking at the possibility of opening such a shelter. No movement was made at that time to open a shelter.

General commercial where homeless shelters have to be allowed includes areas such as the Wal-Mart shopping center, Spreckels Marketplace anchored by Food-4-Less, and The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley. Realistically such locations are a pipe dream given the cost of renting or buying is too burdensome for a non-profit.

That’s not the case in some locales in older areas that have existing buildings that are often vacant and are below market in terms of what prices prime locations demand. Such areas are the stretch of Moffat Boulevard directly in front of the Powers Tract neighborhood east of Manteca High, Oak Street south of downtown and directly across the railroad tracks. There are other areas but either they consist of vacant land, newer buildings, or have a strong demand for retail and other uses.

Under existing city zoning areas where a homeless resource center or a homeless shelter is a right to pursue covers almost the entire North Main Street corridor from Center Street to Northgate Drive, as along East Yosemite Avenue from directly in front of Manteca High east to Cottage Avenue, and the east side of Airport Way from Wawona Street to almost West Yosemite Avenue. There are other areas but they either are vacant lands or are newer centers such as the Manteca Marketplace anchored by Big Lots and SaveMart.

The zoning ordinance restricts the maximum number of beds for emergency housing at 100 unless a conditional use permit is applied for and approved.

The city’s current three homeless shelters — Raymus House on Union Road for single moms and their children, HOPE Family Shelter on West Yosemite Avenue for families, and transitional housing east of Doctors Hospital — are in multi-family zones and were allowed by use permit.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email