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Strong winds trigger dustup between city, residents
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The Bulletin 

When Phelan’s Lathrop Gateway Project is completed it will encompass more than 170 acres and include 10 buildings covering more than 3 million square feet of space. 

And while the project is expected to provide even more revenue for the City of Lathrop and help attract other high-profile light industrial tenants and create hundreds of jobs, one Lathrop couple that lives adjacent to the site – which is being developed near the intersection of Yosemite and McKinley Avenues – would just as soon see things go back to the way that they were before. 

For the last month, Christine and Frank Mendes have been reaching out to the City of Lathrop and anybody else they can get in touch with to voice their displeasure over a number of issues that they claim the development has brought about – from trucks that are parked blocking their driveway to dust storms that they say have coated their home and nearly everything in it in a fine layer of dust. 

And with the first winter storm of the season blowing in this week, the clouds of dust, they say, have been unbelievably bad. 

“We are furious at this time – we spent the weekend readying our home for a large Thanksgiving gathering and as we have stated prior this email we try to keep everything we own in pristine condition,” Christine Mendes wrote in a letter to the Lathrop City Manager Steve Salvatore and Lathrop City Attorney Salvador Navarrete that she shared with local media outlets. “We are too old to spend hours cleaning the inside and outside of our home due to the dust created by this project. We are working on Christmas projects that need to be painted in the shop, and it is impossible to do that today as everything is covered in dust inside and outside of our home.

“There is absolutely no way to keep it out.”

While large swaths of land that had previously served agricultural uses are developed in and around the community the City of Lathrop says it has been dutiful in making sure that the developers of those properties are following the guidelines for dust control that are outlined by the San Joaquin County Air Pollution Control District. 

But even with water application taking place as recently as this week, the high winds – which exceeded 40 miles per hour in some places in the valley – exceed even the most extreme mitigation measures. 

According to Salvatore, the dust issues that are experienced by residents around development is nothing new as the problem existed even back when the land was being used to grow crops, and while the city is sympathetic to the frustrations of residents who are tired of having to clean everything outside of their houses, there isn’t much more, he said, that they can do to alleviate the problem.