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Tent down; SSJID relooks at position on Qualex sale
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The South San Joaquin Irrigation District board Tuesday will consider supporting Assemblyman Health Flora’s bill that would allow the City of Manteca to sell the Qualex building to Inner City Action for $1 providing an amendment to the legislation is passed that would require the sale of the structure if it ever ceases being a homeless resource center.

Two weeks ago the board deadlocked 2-2 on the proposal as presented at the time that would have had the SSJID forgo $77,420 it would have been entitled to if the property at 555 Industrial Park Drive sold at auction for $1.5 million in order for the homeless resource center to move forward.

Meanwhile on Friday Inner City Action had removed the large tent that they had placed on the Qualex parking lot to serve as an interim homeless resource center until the fate of Assembly Bill 1732 was determined. 

The City Council on a 4-1 vote with Councilman Dave Breitenbucher dissenting on April 2 decided to suspend the city’s own rule that a conditional use permit was needed to allow the resource center in a light industrial zone. That decision was made against the advice of the city attorney and after several council members expressed dismay that the process to obtain a conditional use permit would take six months and would cost Inner City Action $9,514 to apply for it. Attorney John Brinton said the council had the authority to take such action but it wouldn’t be legal. The council wanted to have Inner City services available to combat homeless issues while the fate of the Qualex proposal was hammered out. They also did not appear in favor of Inner City having to pay $9,514 to be allowed to help the city with homeless issues.

Inner City had the tent back up in the Qualex parking lot by April 12. The tent had been previously there for a 23-day period ending on Feb. 17 on a temporary permit issued by the city manager. During that time period Inner City Action was able to get 23 homeless individuals off the streets including three children. 

Then on Tuesday the council concerned about the legality of the April 2 action voted 4-1 with Mayor Ben Cantu dissenting to rescind their decision to drop the conditional use permit requirement.

Cantu asked whether the city could essentially just look the other way and allow Inner City Action to keep the tent in place up.

“(Over the years) we, the city, have turned our eyes the other way in certain situations,” Cantu said in reference to letting the tent stay in place until a conditional use permit was processed.

It was not clear on Friday whether Inner City Action has applied for a conditional use permit.

During the six days the tent resource center was in place this time, Inner City Action was able to get another five homeless individuals off the street.

Also on Tuesday the Manteca Unified School District board went on record supporting the city’s efforts and would forgo the district’s $750,084 prorated share of the proceeds if the Qualex building sold at auction for $1.5 million providing the city entered into a memorandum of understanding that the school system would be made whole with the city’s share of proceeds from other RDA property that are proceeding to auction.

The SSJID board meets Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the district office, 11011 East Highway 120.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email