Where’s the beef?
Or in the case of the six-figure exercise in lining the pockets of a consultant where is the plan to guide Manteca’s growth through 2030?
After nine public meetings talking about the fat — well-meaning policies about how growth should look — no one has unveiled the meat. The thing that really matters the most and drives reality is what an updated general plan designates as the future use of land.
Yes there are currently general land use designations in place on land within the city and its sphere of influence which is a fancy term for areas with a high probability of eventually being annexed to the city. While it may not be within the city or in development’s path for 10 to 20 years how it is designated is critical for the best development of land within the current city limits as well as for those who reside, farm, or simply own land within the sphere of influence to plan their futures even if it is mounting a resistance to city expansion.
Perhaps the most glaring lack of transparency or dearth of a frank discussion is what should happen north of Lathrop Road and south of French Camp Road.
There are some big issues that aren’t seeing the light of day.
uHow will the city protect the Delicato Vineyards winery?
uShould land north of Lovelace Road be residential or designated for business parks?
uWhat is the future of the Lovelace Road Transfer Station that in a less enlightened age might be referred to what it really is — a temporary dump for garbage?
uShould Airport Way all the way from Wawona Street to French Camp Road be the DMZ separating business park use on the west from residential on the east?
Perhaps the biggest question being ignored is the ultimate future of the transfer station.
There are some that believe because it is there it will therefore dictate use of land north of Lovelace Road for business parks.
Such myopic vision had it been in place in Manteca back in the 1970s would have stopped westward residential growth at Union Road and would have resulted in a business park where Manteca Marketplace anchored by SaveMart is now located on West Yosemite Avenue at Union Road, That’s because nine holes of the Manteca municipal golf course are built on the site of the former city dump. The other nine holes are where the former wastewater treatment plant once stood.
And perhaps even more important why would the city of Manteca want to encircle what is a close cousin of a dump?
Yet there has been no public discussion whether it is good planning for growth to retain or relocate the county-owned facility.
Now is when the discussion needs to take place among the impacted “stakeholders” as planning types like to call landowners, residents, and developers affected by general plan documents.
If not the city will repeat the McKinley Avenue/Raymus Expressway debacle that was a direct result of the city sidestepping a similar discussion during the last general plan update about how that road project would impact landowners, residents, and developers. When pressed back then the consultant and city dismissed the need for a more robust discussion by saying the line arbitrarily placed on a map for the road extension wouldn’t need to be discussed until 2030 or beyond.
Just like McKinley Avenue being extended, whether the transfer station ultimately goes or remains has a huge impact on future growth.
To say it’s there so we will work around it is disingenuous at best and poor planning at worst.
The consultant could argue the question regarding the status of the transfer station is not within the scope of a general plan update. If he does then he is wrong. General plans are riddled with policy statements and goals that are designed to help guide future actions.
A transfer station in the middle of an urban setting most certainly has impacts the city needs to consider while planning for growth.
The fact city staff might advocate for the area north of Lovelace Road to be business parks because of the transfer station being there underscores its impact.
In the long haul would it make sense operational wise for a transfer station to remain there as the area surrounding it is urbanized?
The discussion needs to take place. The general plan is about planning for the best possible growth. If it is not, why have a general plan?
Yes, the city only needs to meet certain state requirements when they update the general plan. That said, if anyone believes having housing and/or modern-style business parks surrounding a transfer station that takes in and ships out tons of garbage and trash on a given day is good planning they should ask why all the cities that are viewed as the best when it comes to being livable and do business in aren’t working to accommodate a transfer station in the path of growth over the next 20 or so years.
Manteca needs to work with the county and the community and do so sooner than later.
That way if everyone agrees the transfer station should be located elsewhere a special zone on developable land within a certain radius of the facility that once it is annexed to the city could pay a development fee toward moving it elsewhere when a building permit is requested.
The future is fairly clear. Either move the transfer station or trash Manteca’s future.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.