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Manteca may add new land use zone to make central city more vibrant & robust
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An example of the type of downtown experience a new land use is designed to encourage.

A more robust central city, a more muscular job development, and abandonment of a vision that would have created a massive business park along Austin Road are the main highlights of an effort to tweak Manteca’s growth patterns as the city closes in on 100,000 residents.

The preferred land use map for the general plan update that serves as the blueprint for growth is being aired during a joint public hearing of the Manteca City Council and Manteca Planning Commission on Tuesday, May 14, at 5:30 p.m. at the Civic Center council chambers, 1001 W. Yosemite Ave.

Manteca is currently at 83,781 residents. At the current growth pace that saw 2,759 new residents added last year, Manteca’s population will top 100,000 by Jan. 1, 2025. The general plan update is designed to serve as a guide for growth through 2030 before it is given a wholesale look over and adjusted again.

The biggest land use change in the planning document is the creation of a special downtown zone to capitalize synergy a larger community would create as well as impose land use policies designed to encourage an infusion of residential development in the city center in a bid to provide a core population within walking distance considered essential to attract and support additional retail, restaurants, entertainment, and services.

New development that could replace existing homes in the expanded area as well as some commercial buildings would be allowed to have second floor condos and lofts above stores as well as apartment complexes.

It is the same strategy used to create Santana Row in San Jose. Cambay Group is also employing the same approach in their bid to create a vibrant town square that will serve as the main commercial area for the 11,000-home River Islands at Lathrop planned community. Poag Development — the owners of The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley that’s anchored by Bass Pro — is using to transform their commercial endeavor at the 120 Bypass and Union Road. In both the case of River Islands and Orchard Valley they are shooting for a population of roughly 1,500 within walking distance that has successfully led to bustling “city center” or downtown revivals elsewhere.

The downtown zoning takes mixed use development to the next level. It essentially remake downtown by going up.

The zoning is designed to make investment by the private sector in downtown more appealing especially if they can cover costs associated with buying properties and trying to cobble together large enough parcels for development as well as the demolition and the actual construction.

The western boundary of downtown would be Elm Avenue, Goodale Court, and the Manteca Historical Museum on West Yosemite Avenue.

The eastern boundary would be Sheridan Avenue north of Yosemite Avenue and Manteca High south of Yosemite Avenue.

The northern boundary would be North Street west of Lincoln Avenue and North Street east of Sycamore Avenue as well as Alameda Street between Sycamore and Lincoln avenues.

The southern boundary would be Stockton Street west of Main Street and the railroad tracks across from Sherman Avenue east of Main Street. 

Also included would be parcels fronting East Yosemite between Manteca High and Lincoln School as well as parcels fronting South Main as far south as Lupton Avenue.

More job potential

The proposed preferred land use plan means Manteca’s biggest employment park development complete with highly coveted freeway access and railroad service could one day be built on the southeast corner of Highway 99 and French Camp Road.

The land along French Camp Road is not currently within the city limit but is within its sphere of influence that identifies land likely to be annexed at some point. The general plan assigns potential land use designations in advance to allow for long-range planning.

The area in question has land identified for industrial use that is slightly larger in area than the business park portion of Spreckels Park combined with the Manteca Industrial Park as well as an area between the two that flanks Industrial Park Drive that is currently being farmed.

The industrial portion is bordered by Highway 99 on the west and a point a quarter of a mile east of Castle Road. French Camp Road forms the northern border. At a point roughly three quarters of the distance south of French Camp Road to Verigin Road is the southern boundary that runs east across Castle Road at a point south of the “S” curve on Castle Road.

The rest of the area to Verigin Road is being designated as business industrial park, the same designation of Spreckels Park and Manteca Industrial Park. The industrial designation on the larger chunk allows more industrial style uses.

Most of the designated area to the north is farmland. There are existing homes on both sides of Castle Road until you get to the western bend in the “S” curve. There are homes to the south at that point and farmland to the north. After Castle Road heads north at the eastern bend it is bordered primarily by farmland.

The French Camp Road employment center is directly across Highway 99 where the Indelicato family has pushed for an agricultural industrial zone to protect the Delicato Vineyards winery from encroachment.  The city contends keeping the area in question as low density residential along with existing land use policies would protect the winery from encroachment.

Not only would the French Camp Road area have rail access but it is almost midway between two intermodal — truck trailer to train — operations with Union Pacific Railroad’s on Roth Road and Santa Fe Railroad’s on Austin Road. The bulk of cross-country truck trailer movements are by train.

The preferred land use map would accommodate Manteca’s biggest business park yet — the proposed development on the southwest corner of Airport Way and Louise Avenue — that could end with two of the largest distribution centers in San Joaquin County.

 Scannell Development wants to build a 1,360,000 square-foot plus 1,265,000 square-foot distribution style buildings among 4.9 million square feet proposed for the 229 acres that is approved for the building of 1,014 housing units.

The proposal changes the 229 acres to industrial.

The two largest buildings in the Scannell project would eclipse the larger of the two Tracy Amazon distribution centers that’s 1.2 million square feet and be bigger than the 1.1 million square-foot Wayfair distribution center now under construction in Lathrop south of the 120 Bypass along the San Joaquin River.

It could include 11 buildings with 4.9 million square feet, making it larger than all of the combined existing structures in the Spreckels Park Business Park, Pacific Business Park on Louise Avenue across from the Manteca Unified School District office complex, and CenterPoint where 5.11 Tactical and Penske Logistics are located.

The first phase of buildings could start construction as early as October 2019 with their completion in July 2020. it would include three buildings screened from Airport Way with landscaping between Louise Avenue and Crom Street consisting of 220,000, 192,000, and 180,000 square feet. The two mega-distribution centers are part of a second phase. The third phase south of Crom Street would consist of six buildings — 130,000, 120,000, 477,000, 448,000, 300,000, and 250,000 square feet.

In addition the proposal being presented Tuesday also includes creating additional industrial and business park zoning north of Roth Road and west of Airport Way. It is across the street from where Penske Logistics operates Lowe’s Home Improvement distribution center for Northern California. 

The preferred land use map eliminates 238 acres zoned for heavy industrial and 65 acres for business/industrial/professional use in the 1,040-acre Austin Road Business Park annexation in southeast Manteca and designates the land primarily for more housing.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email