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River Islands asks to use Bantas sewer capacity
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LATHROP – Development is humming in Lathrop.

The signs might not all be there – nobody has moved into help augment anchor-tenant Target at the Watt shopping center at Louise Avenue and I-5. Additional commercial projects that were once whispered about around City Hall water coolers have yet to pan out.

But last week when River Islands asked the City of Lathrop for permission to use sewer capacity that was previously set aside for the Banta Elementary School District, which will serve the master-planned community, they sent up a flare that signaled that things were rebounding.

Local elected officials have been pointing at River Islands – a testament to the benefits of long-term development and planning and not the quick-flip development attitude – as a sign that things in the community are turning around. The completion of a bridge over the San Joaquin River was a major sign. The first 200 rooftops are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The move, which was approved by the council, will essentially allow River Islands to “borrow” sewer capacity for 100 additional homes while the district waits to connect to the system sometime in 2014. The district is currently on a septic system. The developers will cover the $50,000 “stand-by” fee until the Lathrop Consolidated Facility expansion is completed sometime in 2014.

Initially Banta paid more than $650,000 for the necessary sewer capacity for its schools. The city will hold that money until River Islands replaces the capacity  allowing Banta to connect to the city sewer system.

Things got ugly back when Lathrop High School first opened after a misunderstanding between Lathrop’s elected officials and the Manteca Unified Board of Education left the site without any sewer hookup less than a month before it was supposed to open.

Even though Manteca Unified had a letter from Mayor Kristy Sayles that guaranteed they’d have the sewer capacity necessary, developer Richland Communities had begun defaulting on its payments to contactors, and the Sacramento-based outfit tasked with constructing the sewer lift station halted construction.

The school still opened on time, but had to switch to a septic system. Sewage was trucked out as students got accustomed to the new digs.

To contact Jason Campbell, email or call (209) 249-3544.