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No walling of Woodward west of Main
Oleander Estates blends in with existing homes
New development along Woodward Avenue west of Main Street - including Oleander Estates - will blend in with the existing homes. - photo by HIME ROMERO
The walling of Manteca neighborhoods - softened with landscaping - won’t continue unchecked as Manteca develops south of the Highway 120 Bypass.

Design changes to the previously approved Oleander Estates project being advanced by Raymus Homes to make it conform with the new design for Woodward Avenue west of Main Street means the familiar walling off of new subdivisions that’s taken place since the 1980s won’t happen in what is now a semi-rural area of Manteca.

Instead of extending Woodward Avenue with its wide four lanes and center median that can be found east of Main Street, it will have a much wide center median, lanes in just two directions, and will have homes accessing Woodward via circular or hammerhead driveways. The emphasis won’t be on moving traffic as much as retaining - and creating - a neighborhood feel.

There are literally dozens of existing homes on half-acre to two-acre  parcels along Woodward that were running the risk of being boxed in by new subdivisions. The new design prevents that from happening. It also eliminates a potential for “overkill” as Atherton Drive is being developed as a four-lane arterial just about a quarter of a mile to the north.

The Manteca City Council approved revisions to the subdivision map and development agreement that also reduces the number of approved lots down from 544 to 536.

The new neighborhood is south of Woodward Avenue and straddles Oleander Avenue. It also bumps into Peach Avenue midway between Union Road and Oleander Avenue and will border a part of Union Road.

Manteca’s fourth gated single-family home neighborhood will also be a part of Oleander Estates. It consists of 118 lots accessible from Woodward Avenue.

It also will include Manteca’s new emphasis on roundabouts to slow down traffic with three planned for the project including one where interior roads intersect with Oleander Avenue.

The developer has the option of creating a homeowners association to cover the cost of street lighting, park maintenance and general landscaping. If for some reason that fails to materialize, those functions will be covered by a landscape maintenance district or LMD.

In order to make growth pick up the tab for ongoing expenses they create wherever possible, the City Council three years ago started including neighborhood park maintenance costs as part of LMDs. A year ago they started including the cost of street lighting. The LMD costs are assessed proportionally to all parcels or home within a neighborhood.

The biggest change in terms of Manteca development patterns was the second look at future traffic circulation planning that stressed the need to reduce costs as well as to de-emphasize catering to shaving seconds off of trips at the expense of neighborhoods. It means Woodward Avenue is now being viewed as a two-lane collector street as Manteca grows south of the Highway 120 Bypass.

That would make Woodward Avenue a collector street much like Powers Avenue, Crom Street, Hacienda Avenue, and Tannehill Drive with three huge differences - wider lanes, deeper setbacks of homes, and a much wider median landscaping strip. It is all part of an effort to blend new development with the existing free-standing homes.

The width of Woodward is proposed at 76 feet from the back of sidewalks on each side of the street. There will be a 14-foot wide median planted with trees flanked by 11-foot travel lanes along with 5-foot bike lanes by the curb. There will also be a 10-foot wide landscaping area with trees between the curb and five-foot wide sidewalk. In addition all new homes will have a minimum 30-foot setback from the back of the sidewalk. In the case of an existing sound wall or a project that has been already approved but not built, there will be a 19-foot setback from the back of the sidewalk that will be landscaped with a 7-foot masonry wall.

On-street pocket parking will also be incorporated into new residential projects along Woodward Avenue.

Driveways will be designed to allow vehicles to enter and leave the roadway in a forward direction. This can be accomplished with circular or hammerhead driveway designs.

No more than two adjacent homes will have the same front yard setback just as is the case along existing Woodward Avenue.

Since setbacks are deeper, front yard landscaping shall incorporate a mixture of drought-tolerant trees, shrubs, and ground covers. It may include the installation of natural landscape features such as rock and stone, walkways, plazas, courtyards, and structural features such as fountains.