Editor Manteca Bulletin,
I read your upbeat article in the Jan. 24, 2017, Manteca Bulletin about the 5.11 Tactical story as a soon to be tenant in the CenterPoint Properties development along Airport Road. You seemed thrilled as we all should be about being able to provide facilities to keep industry local to our community which translates into jobs and more tax revenue.
However, for a minute or two I would like you to put on your investigative reporter hat and look at the dark underbelly of how we got to this point — lax enforcement of the City’s master plan for this area on top of broken promises made to the community by both CenterPoint Properties and City staff.
For buildings with a setback of 110 to 120 feet from the curb along Airport Way:
Promise 1: These buildings were to have a non-industrial appearance according to the Airport Way Master Plan. From the Master Plan: “Where large buildings are to be placed adjacent to the Airport Way right of way, the apparent mass of the buildings should be reduced by introducing variations in wall setbacks and heights, additions of projections, porticos, windows and other openings, using different materials or finishes, and similar methods.” The way this was promised to the community by City Staff and CenterPoint Properties people was that these buildings would appear like an upscale outdoor mall in any city. Instead, what we have is a pure industrial looking building. In the City Staff Site Review, Staff stated: “The color and style of the building resembles that of a typical industrial warehouse building …”. Through their own statement in a public document, City Staff admit this building will not follow the requirements of the City’s master plan but yet they let it go through without a fuss.
Promise 2: With the required 5-foot high berm and 6-foot high hedge at full growth in place along Airport Road, the building was to be of a height that would be under the line of sight of a motorist driving in the northbound lanes of Airport Road. This calculates out to a maximum building height of approximately 26’ to 27’ in height. This building for 5.11 Tactical is designed to be over 46 feet tall at the front, 20 feet higher than was promised, and is going to have a pure industrial warehouse look to it.
Promise 3: Buildings with this setback were to have loading docks only on the west side which would be accommodated by a spline road along the property border between the UP facility and the CenterPoint property. The design of the building for 5.11 Tactical provides loading docks on both the north and south sides of the building within full view of traffic on Airport Way and with lateral drives/roads in/out bound from Airport Way with a stipulation they should be built to STAA standards. STAA refers to the big thru-freight trucks that are illegal to be driven on Lathrop Road and Airport Way as well as Roth Road east of the UP facility entrance. These roads were not designed nor engineered to withstand the loads placed on them by these large trucks. Does anyone really think these truck drivers are going to inconvenience themselves by using the back entrance when they can easily break the law and utilize the Airport Road entrances?
For anyone wishing to investigate this further, the Northwest Airport Way Master Plan is available on the City’s web site to be downloaded. Further, I am in possession of the renderings prepared by City Staff and CenterPoint Properties for the multiple presentations made to the community to quiet the ground swell of opposition that was growing against this overall project prior to City Council approval of the development plan. A recent development is that, unknown to many of us, the County of San Joaquin has rezoned all the land east of Airport Way and south of Roth Road as low density residential. So now we are going to be mixing residential with commercial/industrial uses without even a semblance of trying to screen one from the other. Is this really what our community leaders want? While I applaud and appreciate 5.11 Tactical coming to Manteca for their base of operations, it could have been accommodated without broken promises and lax enforcement of the City’s master plan for that area. Now, with the next CenterPoint Properties project soon to come before the City Council, will this trend continue?