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Mayor: Council decision did not ignore city zoning or state laws
letter to editor

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

In response to your recent letter, Mr. Silverman you clearly do not have a good understanding of the General Plan, the zoning codes, and state law. The action that Council took on the use of the Qualex building as a homeless resource center by Inner City had nothing to do with the General Plan; there was no change of land use parameters or variance to its policies or goals. 

State law does not require a conditional use permit. The requirement of a conditional use permit is a local provision of the Zoning Code. A conditional use permit is required when in the opinion of the community a proposed use may include operational features that would require special consideration or development conditions.

What took place was a decision of expediency; there was no deviation of the code. As you know, the matter of establishing a homeless resource center in the former Qualex building is on a narrow and short timeline for submittal of documentation to the state for consideration. Under “normal” conditions the requiring and processing of a conditional use permit would have involved months of time, a time factor that the city council does not have.

Since there is no guarantee that the City will be successful in its attempt to secure approval from the other taxing agencies and the State legislature; and the Council wished to continue without interruption the success Inner City was having with Manteca’s homeless; Council decided to proceed based on the premise of allowing temporary placement of the tent while the city proceeded through the state legislative process. This decision included the understanding that appropriate city permits would be secured as part of formally establishing the homeless resource center once the legislative approvals are secured; if the City was however not successful, the entire matter would be rendered moot and a new site would be sought. 

As for legal staff’s opinion, Council’s decision did not ignore established zoning rules and state law. Frankly, what took place are simply a common sense approach and the City Council thinking-out-of-the-box to meet an identified community need and manage a constrained timeline; it was not an “illegal” act, nor was there an illegal waiver, nor was the requirement of a conditional use permit bypassed. 

I would be happy to explain at any time the city’s regulations, policies and goals, the General Plan, and associated permits and processes to you and the community; they can be difficult to understand and to interpret their applicability.

Benjamin Cantu

Mayor, City of Manteca