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More homes will mean less water used
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Typically when an acre of California farmland is converted into an acre of subdivision  homes the water use is a wash.
That’s not the case with the 343-acre Griffin Park project south of Woodward Avenue and east of South Main Street/Manteca Road that will add 1,532 single family homes to Manteca.
A water analysis shows the current land uses — 261 acres of almonds, 45 acres of row crops, and 27 acres of small ranch-style properties — consume 1,686 acre feet of water a year. By contrast, the envisioned 1,532 homes, parks, and greenbelts will use 887 acre feet of water on an annual basis. The study noted Manteca’s sandy loam soil while fertile for crops does not hold water as well as other prime farm soils in the Central Valley. As a result, current irrigation practices such as sprinklers on a non-pressurized delivery system or flood irrigation requires more water to be effective in the growing of crops.
The City Council Tuesday approved a master plan for the first joint project involving longtime local builders Atherton Homes and Raymus Homes. It is the second master planned development involving multi-neighborhoods in Manteca. The first was Union Ranch that includes the neighborhood by that name, Del Webb at Woodbridge, and nearby commercial and planned apartments. They also voted to seek permission from the San Joaquin County Local Agency Formation Commission to annex the 334 acres to Manteca.
Developer Mike Atherton said the goal is to break ground within two years. Based on current market conditions Raymus and Atherton expect to see all 1,532 homes built over a five-year period.
The locally-based builders have already agreed to being included in a Mello-Roos district to assist in Manteca Unified school construction in addition to paying school fees for every square foot of homes built.
In terms of land use, 1,444 homes will be built in neighborhoods ranging from 4 to 7 homes per acre with 88 lots in a gated community with executive lot sizes ranging from 0.5 to 4 homes per acre in the southern part of the project as the transition starts to agricultural uses. The project borders the west side of Main Street/Manteca Road from a point just south of Atherton Drive where SaveMart plans to anchor a shopping center to Sedan Avenue in the south. Part of Griffin Park reaches the west side of Tinnin Road with a fairly large chunk at one point crossing Tinnin Road.
Instead of being designed as a series of subdivisions, Griffin Park is envisioned as neighborhoods tied together with a series of linear parkways interconnecting four of the five planned parks as well as to bike lanes planned on Main Street. The fifth neighborhood park will have a linear parkway connecting it to the Main Street bike lane.
The linear parks will be similar to the east side of Van Ryn Avenue between Atherton Drive and Woodward Avenue that was developed by Atherton Homes. It will feature a meandering pathway with heavy landscaping along a sound wall and trees within a wide grass area between the sidewalk and the curve. No driveways will cross the pathway.
The design is made so every home built will allow its residents to reach parks without driving or riding bicycles on two collector streets that would crisscross Griffin Park. Every home built will be within 2,500 feet of a park.
The also will be 65,340 square feet of commercial on the corner of the east-west collector and South Main Street north of Sedan Avenue. The building design standards would require that they blend into the neighborhood much like Pleasanton required with commercial areas immediate south of the Alameda Fairgrounds on an arterial in that city.