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Ripon Unified campus planned in City of Manteca
mansion aerial
An aerial view of the 30,000-square-foot Hat mansion and its grounds taken in 2018 looking to the southeast.

The largest cluster of half-plexes ever built in Manteca — 112 — are being advanced for a project to convert what was a 184-acre grape vineyard into a new neighborhood with at least 739 homes.

 They are basically duplexes that are built so each unit can be sold separately. It is the first project ever proposed south of the 120 Bypass that is neither a traditional free-standing single family home or an apartment complex.

 It is also the first half-plex project in Manteca since 2005 when a dozen or so were built on Pearl Place off of Alameda Street west of Walnut Street.

The half-plexes are part of Richland Communities’ Hat Ranch project that is now going through environmental vetting through Feb. 23. The process is a precursor to annexation and development.

The development also would include another first. Some 16 acres are being set aside for the first Ripon Unified elementary campus. If it is built it will be the first Ripon Unified campus within the City of Manteca. Not only would it serve students from the future homes but also from existing homes to the north where students are now bused to Ripon schools more than four miles away even though they are within several blocks of walking distance to Woodward School that is part of the Manteca Unified School District.

 The project includes two park sites. One would more than double the existing Pillsbury Estates Park while the second would be adjacent to the school site that is less than a block west of Atherton Drive.

Forty-eight of the half-plex units would be along the extension of Polk Street that is now stubbed at the eastern boundary of Evans Estates. The design of interior streets in the Evans Estates neighborhood and the Hat Ranch project makes the most direct and fastest way for future half-plex owners to get in and out of the neighborhood is to use the Raymus Expressway.

The 77 dwelling units described as “half-plex court” homes will back up to Raymus Expressway and Atherton Drive in the southeast corner of the neighborhood across from the school and second park site.

The half-plexes are designed to offer smaller at-market housing units on smaller lots that would be more attainable for buyers who rely on Manteca based employment or that in nearby valley cities as opposed to significantly higher checks from Bay Area jobs.

More than half of the dwelling units — 410 homes — will be east of Pillsbury where the bulk of the higher density housing would be built along with a future elementary school site for the Ripon Unified School District. That is being done in an effort to get most trips to and from those homes to use the extension of Atherton Drive south of Woodward Avenue. Atherton Drive will have a connection built by Caltrans to Austin Road as part of the third phase of the $154 million Highway 99/120 Bypass interchange access to provide the shortest distance to local freeways.

Given the entire southern part of the neighborhood borders the alignment for the Raymus Expressway section that will be built is also key to minimizing traffic impacts on the existing section of Pillsbury Road as well as streets in adjacent neighborhoods.

There are four lots sizes for traditional single family homes ranging from 7,000 feet that will back up to existing homes on the same sized lots already in place to 4,500-square-foot lots. 

 The project includes two separate tentative maps. The eastern-most section of the parcel is where the 30,000-square-foot Hat mansion now stands. The vetting process will help decide whether the mansion will stay with severely shrunken grounds surrounded by tract homes or if it will be razed and replaced with smaller homes.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email