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Manteca may pay Ripon Fire $180,000 as part of Austin deal
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Manteca will pay Ripon Consolidated Fire District $180,000 over 10 years when the 1,037-acre Austin Road Business Park project is annexed to the city.

The tentative agreement yet to be approved by either the Manteca City Council or the fire board is designed to keep the fire district “whole” from the loss of property taxes.

The property owners - in this case the developers - will end up saving in property taxes as they will no longer be paying a fire district tax. Property tax rates in cities are lower than in county areas due to special districts such as fire districts. The majority of the 1,037 acres are within the fire district.

The money is designed to offset costs that the fire district incurs from running its own ambulance service that covers the same territory as the existing fire district. The fire district will also continue to provide mutual aid to the area.

The ambulance service zones are covered by an agreement hammered out by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.  That means when the land is annexed to Manteca they will have no choice but to service the area even though its primary fire protection will be from the City of Manteca.

At a point in the future those boundaries could be changed by the Board of Supervisors.

The proposed agreement with the fire district would have the initial year’s payment at $18,000 with a 2 percent adjustment for inflation added in each of the remaining nine years.

The initial development is expected to start in the next two to three years will be a business park segment that is primarily outside the fire district’s boundaries.

It involves 218 acres heavy industrial - essentially large scale distribution centers. It also involves 24 acres of business/industrial/professional zoning or what you’d typically find in business parks such as the one now on Moffat Boulevard next to Crossroads Grace Community Church. It also includes 46 acres of public/quasi public use including an eight-acre site the Manteca Visitors Center envisions for a 5,000-seat amphitheatre and other convention-style uses. It also encompasses parkland that will double as major storm retention basic for the entire non-residential portion of the Austin Road project.

The 268 acres is located in the southeast portion of the project. It is bordered on the west by the existing Austin Road and on the north by the future alignment of McKinley Avenue that ultimately would connect with Highway 99 in a new interchange south of the existing Austin Road interchange.

The second phase would consist of 82 aces including the remaining 41 acres of business/industrial/professional plus 41 acres of commercial mixed use designed to integrate high density residential often in the same building but on upper floors of retail buildings as well as condos and apartments that are more urbanized. The land is all east of Austin Road.

It is not until the third phase - expected not to start for at least six years - that the majority of the housing will be built.

The impact of the project generally south of Highway 99 saddling Austin Road is so big it will:

•Possibly require a re-alignment of Highway 99.

•Generate 10, 200 residents or about a seventh of the existing population of Manteca.

•Convert 1,037 acres from farming and rural residential use to urban development.

•Impact Ripon Unified schools even bigger than Manteca Unified schools as most of the residential would be within Manteca city limits but within the Ripon Unified district. The number of students going to Ripon could easily exceed the current enrollment of Ripon High.

•The potential to create up to 13,000 jobs - or close to 50 percent of the existing jobs in the city.

•The residential portion alone represents the potential of creating $1.02 billion in today’s dollars.

• 84 acres of commercial mixed use that will blend high density residential with commercial uses designed to encourage a valley version of the much acclaimed Santana Row development in San Jose that combines commercial and retail to create a neighborhood where people can live and walk to stores, entertainment, and other diversions.

The project will require a new interchange further south than the existing Austin Road interchange.