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City leases 417 acres for farming
Hays road copy
The City of Manteca own 417 acres along Hays Road. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Five years ago, Manteca spent $3.4 million to buy 417 acres in the rural farm country to the south of the city.
The purchase of the farmland at 23000 South Hays Road near the San Joaquin River roughly over a mile west of the T-intersection of Airport Way and West Ripon Road was paid through sewer connection fees assessed on new development. It came out to a purchase price of $7,529 per acre.
The land was bought initially to allow Manteca to develop land it owns near the wastewater treatment plant where it is currently pursuing a 500-room hotel and waterpark resort and family entertainment zone. Work has already started on $8 million worth of infrastructure improvements to develop the property for a resort and FEZ.
 The Hays Road property gives Manteca the ability to pursue long-term options for wastewater disposal. The city has also toyed with the idea of using part of the site for its own composting operation for green waste the solid waste division collects and using the compost produced for the city’s 60 plus parks as well as landscape maintenance districts. The idea was even floated at one time to use the Hays property as a wetlands area.
Meanwhile the city is generating about $100,000 a year leasing the land for farming.
The latest proposal before the Manteca City Council when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center calls for Mizuno Farms to have a 13-month lease. The agreement calls for the city to be paid rent for sweet corn crops of $300 per acre farmed. For all other crops, the city will receive a percentage of all crops grown on the property including alfalfa grown for hay. A lease for the 2015-2016 fiscal year yielded the city $108,473.
Back in 2011, council was told by staff the acquisition of the land will enable the city to:
ucreate spray fields to pipe untreated agricultural waste water from Eckert’s for disposal.
uuse those same spray fields to actively go after securing food processors that seek locations to expand near crop production in the San Joaquin Valley that by some estimates could add between 5,000 and 1,000 jobs.
uthe relocation of spray fields plus the transporting of sewer sludge for drying to the Hays Road location will eliminate any traces of odors connected with the present wastewater treatment plant.
uto replace wetlands that are part of more than 100 acres of city-owned wastewater treatment property west of Costco and Big League Dreams to allow the land to be converted into prime commercial uses.
udevelop the city’s own green waste composting facility.
usecure a site for a possible regional wastewater treatment plant 50 years or more into the future.
ucreate the first wetland mitigation bank in San Joaquin County working in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers that they can then sell easements to other jurisdictions in the county for the replacement of wetlands when needed within their communities
State law requires wetlands to be replaced if they are altered. Wetland mitigation banks have been established throughout the valley to accomplish that mandate. The closest to Manteca is one near Galt. The city just recently paid $577,300 for wetlands credits to offset the wetlands it will be eliminated the FEZ project as well as replacing an open irrigation district drainage canal with buried pipe.
Altogether, some 110 acres attached to the wastewater treatment plant site is being targeted for development as part of a family entertainment zone, The Stadium Retail Center anchored by Kohl’s as well as Big League Dreams complex are built on land that was once a part of the treatment plant site. In addition, the city is planning a business park north of BLD on treatment plant land that are now used for spray fields.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail