Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I read your editorial regarding workforce housing and the Winters project. I really do not believe you wrote the editorial or did not have your heart into writing the editorial; it was not representative of the editorials you have composed in the past. I will go out on a limb and say that the article was representative however, of the mindset of the local developers that fear the potential loss of sales of a few McMansion homes if more affordable housing products are available. Moreover, it has been common practice to introduce irrelevant and erroneous bits of information just prior to a public meeting to generate controversy where there is none.
I did not receive a telephone call regarding the Winters project or about workforce housing in general prior to the editorial. Therefore, it is important that I correct a few things. One, concrete alleys at the rear of the homes is not a superior design, it is one of many designs commonly used throughout the country. The best design is based on the local environs, topography, community need, the surrounding setting, and so on. In the case of Winters Colonial Estates, the project design is representative of the types of housing most common in Manteca and the neighborhood, namely, single-family detached homes on individual lots. Other than scale the Winters project offers the same amenities and living environment that the McMansions offer, except of course, the homes are more affordable to the local workforce— safety personnel, school teachers, warehouses workers, waitresses, nurses, and so on.
Of the tens of thousands of single family detached homes constructed in Manteca over the past 40 years, only a couple of hundred represent workforce housing, and they were built by the Raymus family and one out-of-town developer. From my experience with the Raymus family, they have been the only builder that has made effort to provide affordable housing for the existing residents and workers in our community, while still providing homes to newcomers as well. The out-of-town builder was from another community where workforce type housing is common; he saw a need in our community and filled the need, and the homes sold quickly. In each of these local cases, the projects have not developed into parking problems nor damaged the community or neighborhood in any way, but they did respond to an ignored housing need sector of our community, the local workforce, our safety personnel, schoolteachers, nurses, etc.
To be perfectly honest, the Winters Colonial Estates project design can be changed very easily to become a conventional subdivision with McMansions, without altering streets or utilities. However, is that what the community needs or what the City Council was seeking in 2007 in response to the call for workforce housing? The answer is no. The Winters project offers the community residents another housing opportunity, other than an apartment or a McMansion.
Oct. 5, 2009