By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Manteca balancing act: Wine, jobs, farming, houses smart growth & avoiding a misleading referendum
lovelace union
What eventually happens in the area in all four directions from the intersection of the present-day Lovelace Road and Union Road in Manteca is at the heart of the efforts to derail a potential referendum on the general plan update from appearing on the March 5 ballot.

Just how much do the Indelicato family and the development community like Manteca?

We may find out in the coming weeks.

That’s because city officials — elected and otherwise — are now doing the heavy lifting.

The goal is to do growth right and do right by agriculture and the community.

And it all has to do with avoiding a March referendum that will not deliver what almost every voter that signed the petition to have it on the ballot believes it will do nor really protect the future viability of Delicato Vineyards and its 500 or so jobs.

Tossing the current general plan doesn’t slowdown or stop growth per se. It also arguably provides less protection for what is now the world’s fifth largest winery.

That’s because the legal basis of all growth decisions in Manteca will be the general plan adopted in 2005 if the referendum passes.

Rest assured, people who vote for the ballot measure and if it passes but don’t see a direct slowdown in more homes being built or vehicles on city streets are going to be extremely angry.

And anyone who thinks the lea- up to the election — whether the referendum passes or fails — isn’t going to see a lot of “grenades” lobbied in the public square are living in a fantasy world.

Most likely agree that 1983 was a much more polite — and less divisive — political climate than today.

That said the 1983 recall of three Manteca City Council members — the last citywide referendum — unleashed toxicity into the community that took close to 20 years for the final traces to dissipate.

What Manteca needs — and that includes everyone who lives here and will live here, businesses, employers, agriculture, and developers that are the physical catalysts of a changing community that brings much of what people want and/or need — is for elected leaders to seizes the opportunity.

They need to find a way to avoid a catastrophic election process that — if all sides are honest — will do nothing to address anything.

Elected leaders are trying to pursue a solution that derails a referendum while at the same time creates proverbial lemonade from lemons that everyone can share and enjoy from residents to Delicato Vineyards to the development community.

Behind-the-scenes everybody is at the table but reportedly not on the same page.

That, however, knowing the history of everyone involved that includes more than a few storied names that have woven the cloth called Manteca for the past 70 plus years — the Raymus and Indelicato families, to name a few — and those who have devoted much of their lives in the trenches as businessmen, public servants, and community volunteers that now serve on the council, may not be entirely true.

They are on the same page.

They want the best for Manteca.

And while their perspective of best clearly differs, the common thread is a strong and vibrant Manteca.

The seven-year gestation period for the general plan update now being held in abeyance while the referendum is in play  provides some clues as to what may be going on.

During that time strategies such as an enlarged business park/industrial area, a community park larger than Woodward, and even a school site were all tossed about as ways to create a buffer.

That buffer involves uses that have substantially less conflicts with the noise, smell, and nighttime lights of a working winery for the world’s fifth largest purveyor of wines.

Take a drive in northwest Manteca and you can see some interesting investments in play.

CenterPoint is building a distribution center encompassing 295,176 square feet for a beer and beverage distribution center along Iintermodal Way.

Literally across the street, Union Pacific Railroad has started physical work on expanding their intermodal — rail-to-truck — operation sandwiched between the cities of Manteca and Lathrop off of Roth Road.

When done, it will triple the facility’s capacity.

That translates into 91 trucks leaving or departing in an average hour on a 24/7 basis as opposed to the current 39.75 per hour.

Yes, it is truck traffic,.

But that misses the point.

Truck traffic moves goods.

The are the lifeline of commerce from manufacturing to retail points.

As such, trucks are literally the vehicles that makes almost every other job created possible.

With 80 percent of trucked goods ending up on rail flatbeds for long haul movements, it means Manteca has an opportunity to create one of the most muscular areas in Northern California for distribution and goods assembly.

In doing so, it will dovetail in with what is happening further up along the Airport Way corridor in Stockton.

Together, the additional job creation capacity could easily surpass that of the Amazon-anchored area east of Tracy as well as the International Park of Commerce on Tracy’s western flank.

It’s a short trip from anywhere in north Manteca to the UP intermodal facility  — or even the Santa Fe Railroad version just seven miles to the northeast at Jack Tone and Arch roads.

And while everyone likes to dump on new homes being built in Manteca unless they’re the ones buying them, it is important to remember two things.

All of the long-term solutions everyone wants to see from seamless arterials such as along Airport Way, to efficient and larger capacity interchanges on the 120 Bypass at Airlport Way as well as Main Street, another community park and more are predicated on “X” number of homes being built to foot the bill.

There are almost 1,000 existing homeowners — and 2,400 future homes that are in the works and can’t be blocked — in southwest Manteca.

They are what will do the financial heavy lifting for 200-year flood protection.

The $260 million levee project also will protect the city’s wastewater treatment plant, and the ACE station, Sierra High, as well as the Stadium Retail Center/Big League Dreams/Great Wolf area.

Without a solution moving forward, it opens a large swath of Manteca households to costly insurance coverage that could easily be tripled compared to what they are paying today due to flood exposure.

What exactly is going on behind closed doors is anyone’s guess.

But the fact such talks are taking place is an encouraging sign.


This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at