It is a growing complaint from people using neighborhood parks — the lack of restrooms.
And it is becoming a bigger issue as the city’s efforts to break the cookie cutter predictability of new neighborhood parks by offering unique components that attract others outside of the immediate neighborhood such as a Frisbee golf course and practice fields for youth soccer.
On Tuesday, the City Council broke with more than 30 years of precedent and opted for what will be the city’s biggest neighborhood park ever — the 10-acre central park in the proposed 827-home Lumina neighborhood at Machado Ranch moving forward on the southwest corner of Airport Way and Woodward Avenue — to include restrooms.
It was something Signature Homes — that already has broken the predictable mold of new subdivisions in Manteca over the past 20 years in the type of homes and what they were willing to contribute to the welfare of the general community — readily agreed to do.
It came during City Council approval Tuesday of pursing the annexation of 183.46 acres to the city and plans to develop 157 acres for the Lumina neighborhood. The other land in question are existing homes along Woodward Avenue and Airport Way.
Councilman Gary Singh, who previously brought up the issue of restrooms in neighborhood parks based on requests he was getting from citizens, led the council charge to add the restroom requirement at the last minute.
He was quickly joined by the rest of the council including Charlie Halford and Jose Nuno who — like Singh — said they had been approached by numerous times about the need for restrooms in neighborhood parks that have seen an uptick in their use in recent years even in established areas.
After staff referenced city policy that creating a draw for homeless has refrained Manteca from pursuing restrooms in neighborhood parks in recent years, Halford suggested the city should at least have the developer have a site pre-plumbed for a possible restroom at the park that will have an area for neighborhood and community gatherings including a picnic area designed for low-key “block parties” or even a small-scale farmers market.
Singh responded by saying it was an opportune time to address a clear community need and want while making sure the ongoing maintenance costs could be covered by the community facilities district being created for the neighborhood instead of further impacting the city’s general fund.
Singh said the city shouldn’t let “homeless” issues dictate the design of neighborhoods. He added residents — especially the elderly and parents with young children — using parks want to have a restroom nearby if the need arises. It is especially true of neighborhood parks where the city has included playing fields large enough for youth soccer team practices.
The city in recent years has had to deal with homeless breaking into restrooms at community parks such as Library Park, those at Northgate Park and Lincoln Park as well as at Morezone Field to either sleep, do drugs, have sex, or a combination thereof.
The city at one point resorted to locking up Library Park for nearly two years and opening it only for special events. Manteca also hired armed security services to clear out the bathrooms at Lincoln Park and elsewhere and lock them at night.
What prompted the original city decision in the early 1990s to avoid building restrooms in new neighborhood parks was budget concerns raised by then Parks & Recreation Director Steve Houx.
The city lacked the funding and staff to maintain restrooms clean as well as to address vandalism issues.
By having the proposed restroom in a CFD that included landscaping and park upkeep along with street lighting for the neighborhood, the cost will be covered for such expenses.
Other highlights of proposed
Signature Homes endeavor
*It will feature the first motor court homes built in Manteca. Four homes will share a common driveway court with no home having a garage facing the street.
*There will be six distinct styles of architecture — American traditional, California bungalow, farmhouse, Monterey, Spanish and prairie.
*The Monterey architecture will be the most unique in Manteca since the French Collection featuring Normandy architecture inspired by the French countryside was incorporated in a neighborhood built just north of Mission Ridge Drive.
*The developer will install traffic signals at two key intersections — Airport Way at Woodward Avenue as well as Airport Way at Atherton Drive — at the start of construction and long before traffic volume would normally trigger their installation.
*There will be a mixture of neighborhoods aimed at first-time buyers, move-up buyers, and downsizing buyers. Instead of being segregated, there will be broken into clustered segments in a patchwork-style approach to have more of a blend of neighborhoods.
*Signature Homes will pay $8,000 more per home than other nearby tract homes now under construction
*A fee of $598.54 per home will be paid to purchase a CNG solid waste collection truck powered by compressed liquid gas produced from menthane gas and food waste at the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Once all homes are built, the fees collected will cover the cost of one new truck.
*Another $2,500 per home will be paid as an infrastructure fee. It is designed to cover shortfalls in the established growth-related fees that have not been updated that the developer pays when they take out a building permit.
*They will pay a $2,500 fee per home for the Phase V wastewater treatment plant expansion. If the fee, that has yet to be established is less, the developer will pay the lower amount. If the established fee is higher, the developer will pay the higher amount.
*A $2,4014.46 per home fee will be allocated for use by the City Council at their discretion. This is similar to the bonus bucks paid two decades ago in exchange for sewer connection certainty. More than $30 million was collected back then that went to help pay for the Union Road fire station, traffic signals at Tidewater Bikeway crossings, the skate park, soccer field lights at Woodward Park, and fireworks, among other things as well as plugging in more than $11 million in general fund budget shortfalls over the course of several years. The Lumina bonus bucks will top $2 million.
*The first roundabout will be built on Airport Way in addition to a roundabout on Woodward Avenue at Bella Terra Drive.
Motor court homes
The project by Pleasanton-based builder envisions 37 “big lots” at 8,000 square feet.
There are 120 lots of 6,000 square feet — the default standard of tract lots in Manteca in the 1960s and 1970s.
The rest of the lots approach the size of many in older sections of central Manteca where homes were built in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.
There are 202 lots of 5,000 square, 207 lots of 4,000 square feet, and 109 lots of 3,375 square feet.
But the smallest — as well as most intriguing — are 77 “motor court” lots. They will be the smallest tract lots ever in Manteca with most planned to be as small at 2,746
They are even smaller because four homes share a common area. It’s a 20-foot-wide driveway from the street serves four homes that have driveways 18 feet deep that split off the motor court driveway.
Guest parking is allowed on driveway aprons as well as on the street.
All landscaped areas in front of the two homes facing the motor court as well as the two homes facing the street are maintained by a homeowners’ association.
The individual lots have minimum widths of 40 feet and minimum depths of 45 feet.
California Rooms — indoor-outdoor living spaces designed as a seamless extension of a great room — are included in the motor court homes and may encroach up to 3 feet into the backyards.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com