Owners of homes to the southwest of Sierra High — and along the Airport Way corridor — may think they have no skin in the game when it comes to the $168 million levee upgrades even though they are in the 200-year flood-plain.
Talk so far about financing the work has centered on undeveloped land where houses, retail, and industrial projects will be built. And the big hammer for moving forward has been emphasized as the need to get a plan and financing mechanism in place by July 1, 2016 or else the state will stop all development within the 200-year flood plain.
But as City Manager Karen McLaughlin pointed out Tuesday to the Manteca City Council, failure to have a plan in place for levee work 15.5 months from now means existing homes and business will not be able to add on to existing buildings or even get a permit for an out structure such as a shed. The same goes for the city’s wastewater treatment plant and Big League Dreams sports complex.
At the same time, it was noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been pushing for mandatory flood insurance for all properties with mortgages backed by the federal government inside identified 200-year floodplains that lack adequate protection. That could add in excess of $2,200 a year onto the cost of owning a home.
McLaughlin stressed the alignment of a controversial cross-levee protecting Manteca that would leave those to the south of it vulnerable to intense flooding may not be determined until 2017.
McLaughlin said the general design, specific upgrade work identified for existing river levees, and the financing mechanism have to be in place by July 1, 2016 to avoid the state shutting down development in areas of Manteca, Lathrop, the Weston Ranch portion of Stockton, and San Joaquin County. Work would start first on enhancing existing river levees.
She also said studies involving the future alignment of the Raymus Express that will connect the envisioned McKinley Avenue interchange on the 120 Bypass with a new interchange on Highway 99 midway between Austin Road and Jack Tone Road will go forward in tandem with discussions on where to place the cross-levee.
The expressway has to be on the north side of the levee to stay out of the floodplain.
Rural residents south of Manteca have major reservations about a levee plowing through their property as well as the expressway. They also fear that the levee will mean when flooding does occur it will be worse on their property since water will be stopped from flowing northward.
The preliminary plans call for the cross levee to be extended across Airport Way and almost all the way to Union Road.
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