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Would leasing parking lots help address homeless?
Dennis Wyatt
Dennis Wyatt

Inda Janus and fellow downtown business owners are preparing to float a possible solution to address the new de facto homeless encampment that has popped up in a downtown parking lot.

It involves the City of Manteca leasing the just improved parking lots to a coalition of merchants and property owners to maintain and “police.”

Under their proposal they would be responsible for clearing litter and keeping the parking lots tidy. It would also be their responsibility to “police” the lots to make sure they are used for the expressed purpose of parking.

It might require them to hire a security guard to keep the homeless away.

The city has an armed security guard that patrols the Manteca Transit station where no one is allowed to camp as well as the downtown parking lots. The city’s contracted security guard who works closely with police, can’t chase the homeless off for either gathering on parking lots for 17 hours a day that are owned by the city or camping on them from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

They are hoping that such an arrangement would allow the homeless to legally be cleared out if the parking lots are leased to a downtown organization for the expressed purpose of serving customers and staff of downtown concerns.

Such an arrangement — if it is doable legally — could also come in handy to avoid any parking lot spaces likely to be commandeered by future Altamont Corridor Express passengers that will be boarding at the downtown transit center when service starts in 2023 or thereafter. Given there are 1,400 plus boardings anticipated at the downtown station when  service starts, commuters’ vehicles could end up taking over spaces intended for downtown shoppers.

It’s an idea that might be worth a try.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email