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McKinley plan on hold
Manteca postpones expressway decision until 2013
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Manteca’s push for an alignment of a proposed McKinley Avenue expressway that would cut a swath through farms, rural estates, and the future site of a Catholic retreat and school has run out of gas - for now.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton Tuesday night indicated unless direction is given otherwise from the City Council staff is dropping any work on adopting an alignment until such time the next state-mandated general plan update rolls around in 2013. The general plan serves as the blue print for growth.

The two-year hiatus in the planning process for what is envisioned as a major street to handle future Manteca development 20 to 30 years from now gives opponents the opportunity - if they so choose - to build political momentum that could either permanently derail the expressway or force the city to pursue a more northern route that would impact even more rural residents.

The issue of the McKinley Avenue expressway alignment came up under citizens’ comments at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Rex Roberts - a rural Manteca resident who lives within Manteca’s sphere of influence that defines areas the county believes are best suited for eventual annexation to the city - asked whether the city was going to postpone any decision on the alignment until the next general plan update in 2013.

Community Development Director Frederic Clark indicated that was the case unless staff is given direction otherwise.

Councilman Steve DeBrum said he personally favored postponing such a decision until 2013 noting that an expressway was needed somewhere in the area.

The road is 20 to 30 years away from being built according to staff.

But even so, it wouldn’t be built unless a dry levee was created to the south that would protect it and future development from flooding.

No specific action has been taken regarding a dry levee let alone whether property owners - which in this case due to how far south it would go would be almost entirely farmers - would let it be built across their land.

There have been a series of Planning Commission meetings during which time a solid core of opposition has been raised to any alignment that is outside of the current city limits. While opposition was similarly limited to farmers and rural residents it had started to include city residents who believe such a roadway would induce additional traffic on streets in their neighborhoods as well as on Woodward Avenue.