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Container yard gets go-ahead for construction
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If you build it, they will come. 

At least that’s the assumption of CenterPoint Properties, which got the greenlight Tuesday from the Manteca Planning Commission to construct a 153-trailer container yard on a 6.8-acre parcel as part of the larger 190-acre intermodal facility that the company is constructing near the intersection of Airport Way and Roth Road. 

According to William Lu, a Senior Vice President of Development for the Los Angeles-based company developing the property, the container yard is being constructed on speculation with a handful of potential future tenants in mind, marketing it as attractive for use as an overflow space for existing businesses already operating in the intermodal sphere, like Union Pacific, or a potential asset to a company that could come in the future. 

CenterPoint has no plans to manage the lot independently, but rather lease it to a company that could do just that if it fits within its business model. 

The unanimous blessing of the commission clears the way for the company to begin the process of completing some of the conditional upgrades, which include constructing Interconnect Way — a connector road between North Airport Way and Intermodal Way — as well as extending Intermodal Way to the north where it will connect with the existing northern portion of Intermodal Way which will provide access to the facility from Roth Road. 

The location of the container yard, according to the staff report, “supports an aspect of the Economic Development Element of the General Plan, which places priority on designating adequate land for industrial growth specifically along Airport Way.” The report specifically states that one of the goals of the North West Airport Way Master Plan, was to implement the goals, objectives and policies of the Manteca General Plan as they relate to future development projects in the area — noting that the growing industries of warehousing and distribution play an important role in developing Manteca’s economy, and that one of the goals of the NWAWMP is “for it to become a warehousing intermodal center.”

Not everybody, however, is thrilled about some of the implications that the container yard introduced. 

Mary Meninga, who has been an outspoken opponent of some elements of the CenterPoint project because of the increased level of traffic along Lathrop Road, called for the commission to table the proposal until the developer could adequately answer questions about the traffic the project would generate and discuss possible mitigation measures with homeowners whose properties would be adversely affected. 

Moving forward without taking the time to work out all of those issues, Meninga said, could open the door to potential lawsuits down the road from homeowners demanding certain concessions that would ultimately be paid for by taxpayers. 

An environmental impact report was previously completed for the area that includes the storage yard and staff concluded in the report prepared for the commission that the project was consistent with the development as analyzed within the document. 

According to Lu, access to the storage yard that was approved on Tuesday will only be from Roth Road, so in order for trucks traveling down Lathrop Road to access the site then would have to come down to Airport Way, drive down to Roth Road and come back to the entrance. 

While he said that his company prepared a traffic analysis as part of the project, he couldn’t immediately answer the question off of the top of his head as to where the majority of the trucks accessing and site would come from and where they would go once they left.  

The lot, which will not utilize stacked storage of trailers, is slated to be fenced, landscaped and lit in accordance with the city’s existing codes for projects of its type. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.