By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Does this mean McMansions on smaller lots?
Placeholder Image
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
What a revelation.  It seems that the mayor has finally awakened to the idea of rethinking how housing is built in Manteca.  Unfortunately, it is not a new concept; in fact, the subject was raised many times for many years and summarily ignored by the current and previous administrations.  During my tenure as the city planner for this community, I repeatedly raised the very subject many times to both the administration and to the local builders without success, and to my detriment.  In 2007, when the mayor asked a select committee of residents and business people to review the very subject, and that report noted the need to rethink housing opportunities in Manteca, the City Council and the Mayor shelved the study.

I wonder what unknown factor related to housing in Manteca has recently come to light that has awakened the mayor to the need for expanded housing opportunities in Manteca.  Why is there a need today, while the need was ignored previously?  It seems the mayor believes that rethinking how housing is built in Manteca is going to whittle away at unemployment.  This line of thinking is tantamount to throwing rocks at a 600-pound gorilla to move it aside.  I favor any appreciable means of reducing our unemployment and improving our economy, but someone with the proper knowledge and experience in these local matters is required.

During presentation of the 2007 study, a suggestion was made that existing conventional subdivision lots could be cut in half to accommodate smaller homes, that concept faded away.  Be careful, mayor, rethinking the housing standards in Manteca will likely result in McMansions on smaller lots.  That is exactly what happened the last time the housing development standards door was opened.  The intent was to relax the standards and to provide the builders a bit of flexibility to encourage the development of affordable housing units.  That did not happen.

Who is going to pay the developers to re-subdivide their already constructed subdivisions to accommodate smaller lots; the utilities are already in the ground, the environmental studies would need to be updated to reflect an increase in density, the neighborhood parks would be too small, etc.  Do not get me wrong, I support smaller lots with smaller houses, but a retrofit of an already improved subdivision is not likely, and the re-subdivision of an already approved development of paper lots is also expensive.  In this respect, I wonder in rethinking how housing is built in Manteca, how much the existing city residents will end up paying the developers for costs incurred to change their already approved plans.  

The wise approach is to formulate and to adopt additional housing development standards and a favorable approval process that can be put to use by receptive housing developers on new ground.  There is no reason for the local builders to change their existing plans.  The failure in this whole matter falls squarely on the current and previous city administrations for adopting standards and regulations that only accommodate the development of McMansions.
Benjamin Cantu
Nov. 24, 2009