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Council: it depends upon where you are from
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This photo shows how bollards were used in one city to block though traffic on a residential street. Aksland Drive in North Street Commons will essentially be an extra wide sidewalk with bollards that emergency vehicles will be able to access. - photo by DENNIS WYATT

Approval of a plan to build 154 homes on North Main Street north of Lancaster Storage and across the street from Camino Real sparked a council discussion on what constitutes affordable housing in Manteca.

The council Tuesday unanimously approved the North Main Street Commons where the nation’s largest home builder — DR Horton — intends to introduce a new at-market housing option to Manteca featuring smaller  lots with homes from 1,547 square feet to 2,300 square feet. A representative for DR Horton said prices haven’t been determined but given the land use as well as the homes are smaller, the housing being built well likely be more affordable than most at-market housing now being built in Manteca.

Mayor Ben Cantu took staff to task over a reference that the project conformed to the  adopted general plan calling for affordable housing 

“I disagree with that,” Cantu said.

Cantu, who worked as a Manteca city planner for nearly 30 years before retiring, inferred the city has failed miserably when it comes to developing affordable housing.

He noted the rezone change needed to allow 23.72 acres to be switched from commercial mixed use to single family residential basically eliminated an opportunity to build apartments that are allowed in a CMU. The property owners for more than 20 years have tried to secure shopping centers and even a medical complex with apartments but have failed to find developers interested in building such projects on the site.

Cantu said while he supports the North Main Commons project said  “it doesn’t meet the definition of affordable housing.”

Councilwoman  Debby Moorhead  noted during the discussion that what is affordable housing is essentially “based on where you come from.”

Councilman Jose Nuño, who works at a non-profit that manages and develops affordable housing  throughout the Central Valley, agreed with Moorhead pointing out what is affordable to a buyer heading over the Altamont Pass is different than a buyer who relies on employment in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Cantu didn’t disagree, but doubled down on his assertion Manteca is failing to provide housing opportunities for all economic levels.

“We are not meeting affordable housing needs in this community and we haven’t for over 40 years.,” Cantu said.

Both Nuño and Cantu made the pursuit of affordable housing in Manteca one of their major campaign points.

To that end, Cantu is moving to put in place an Affordable Housing Development Committee to come up with strategies and implement a plan to make sure affordable housing is built in Manteca.

North Main Street Commons is Manteca’s first new Manteca subdivision modified so future traffic does not impact the quality of life of an existing neighborhood.  

North Main Street Commons originally called for extending Northgate Drive to connect with Aksland Drive to provide a secondary access from Louise Avenue.

Existing Springtime Estates residents concerned about the road connection increasing traffic were irked when a traffic consultant contended connecting the two streets would not increase traffic.

The City Council sided with existing residents and directed the street connection to be replaced with an emergency vehicle access. Essentially the two streets will “dead end” into an area that may be designed somewhat like a large sidewalk blocked off with bollards that emergency personnel can unlock if needed. It would still allow pedestrians and bicyclists to pass through.

 The extension of Northgate across Main Street and a street that will be built just north of Lancaster Storage  are the only access streets to serve the 154 homes.  All of the 154 homes would be to the south of the extension tying into the Northgate Drive and North Main Street intersection.  

Aksland Drive does not connect directly with Louise Avenue. That said, a half block drive from where Aksland T-intersects into April Way is Springtime Avenue that is straight shot to Louise Avenue and intersects with Lancaster Drive that ties into North Main Street with a traffic signal.

The extension also raised concerns with Springtime Estates residents for what is proposed on the north side of the Aksland Drive.

DR Horton will also help build new classroom space by agreeing to be part of a Manteca Unified School District Mello-Roos district.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email