The Manteca Planning Commission didn’t like the idea a 62-unit apartment complex will be built along busy — and fairly high speed — West Yosemite Avenue requiring students to walk to school without connecting sidewalks or a safe crossing of the four-lane arterial if they are headed to nearby Sierra High.
But after noting they had no authority to stop the proposed Yosemite Apartments as the endeavor meets all required city development criteria, the project Thursday received a unanimous approval.
The developer indicated he hopes to break ground on the complex on the northwest corner of Yosemite Avenue and Fishback Road as early as next summer.
The commission echoed concerns voiced by the Manteca Unified School District about safety issues crossing — and walking along — Yosemite Avenue.
“It (the apartments) isn’t the right thing to do now,” commission chairman Ron Laffranchi said during discussions on the preproposal.
He noted the lack of connecting sidewalks, trucks turning out of an adjacent truck parking yard, and speed of Yosemite traffic in general as real perils to the safety of school children on foot.
The school district due to state budget cuts has eliminated bus transportation in most instances within the city limits. If they decided to make busing more robust, it would come at the expense of classroom budgets and teacher staffing.
Commissioner Eric Hayes noted he project meets all city requirements which is the only option the commission had to judge the apartment complex proposal by. That said, said he too was frustrated with the safety issues.
One way the city could address the concerns is to make sure a roundabout they want to eventually construct at the intersection is put it in place at the same time the apartments are built.
That would allow a break in traffic for pedestrians to cross while showing down Yosemite traffic without forcing it to come to a stop.
It also would allow the use of a second entrance to the apartment complex off the extension of Fishback instead of the initial solo access on busy Yosemite Avenue.
The complex will be bordered on the west by a truck parking facility while there is a vacant lot and then Kaiser Hospital to the east.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org