Brown lives on East 12th Street, a block west of Tracy High School, and is fed up with parents and students racing through his neighborhood, blocking his neighbors’ driveways, throwing litter on his lawn and verbally abusing residents who just want some peace on their streets.
“I’ve probably been hit five or six times now. It’s all during school hours. The streets are fairly narrow, there’s lots of traffic and it’s very difficult for people to get by them,” Brown said at the regular meeting of the City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 21.
A group of neighbors on the 200 blocks of East 12th and Berverdor Avenue took their grievance to the council, asking for the city to establish a permit parking area on their streets.
“It is a daily struggle,” a 12th Street resident named Melissa said. “If we go out there and ask them to move, we are called every name in the book.”
Melissa, who would not give her last name, said the daily disruption was made worse by litter from uncaring Tracy students and parents.
“Saturday mornings, we have everything you can imagine on our lawns, on our streets. From condoms to pizza boxes to hot dog wrappers. Everything,” she said.
City engineer Kuldeep Sharma told the council the city has tried to work with Tracy Unified School District to alleviate the concerns of the 34 residents on both streets. In 2008, Sharma said, the city painted red zones on both sides of every driveway to prevent residents from getting blocked into their own homes.
“After completion of these initial remedial measures, there have been some improvements,” Sharma said. “However, the residents are still inconvenienced.”
The city engineer said the city received a letter from TUSD Superintendent Dr. James Franco, dated Oct. 29, objecting to the proposal to make 12th and Berverdor permit parking zones.
“There’s no one in this community that deserves our respect more than Jim Franco, but I disagree with him on this issue,” Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel said. “I would have loved to have seen the school be more proactive about this. I think they have allowed their problem to become the community’s problem.”
TUSD spokesman Joel Danoy released a written statement Thursday, reiterating the work the district had already done with the city on the problems in the neighborhoods.
“Now that the City Council has adopted a plan,” Danoy wrote, “the district wants to work with students and the city to resolve this long-term issue.”
Maciel was not the only member of the City Council who expressed frustration with TUSD’s inability to mitigate the concerns of the residents.
“I’m a little disappointed in the school district that they allowed things to get this far,” Councilman Charles Manne said. “Unfortunately, it’s now on our table to fix and address an issue that the school district didn’t.”
Councilwoman Nancy Young supported establishing the permit parking zone but added her doubts that any ordinance would solve the residents’ problems.
“You’re going to still have people that are driving down those streets every day. You’re going to still have people that are dropping off their students,” Young said. “A parking ordinance is not going to take away the litter on the streets. Some people are just going to be rude. Some people are just going to be mean.”
Mayor Brent Ives proposed a different solution.
“I’m not for an ordinance here. What I am for is calling this a pilot project where the city pays for the signs. Where the city sets this up for a definitive amount of time,” Ives said.
The mayor suggested studying whether the permits worked through the end of the school year in June 2015.
At the end of the discussion, Manne moved to ask the city staff to draft an ordinance establishing a pilot program to address the parking concerns on the two streets and send to the council soon for approval. Councilman Robert Rickman seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.
Sharma said installation of signs marking the permit parking zones could be installed three weeks after the council approved the final ordinance.
“The other thing this is going to do,” Ives said, “is put the school district on notice that we’re not going to just take it. We’re going to do something about it, and they need to come to the table and help us with this issue.”
Other council business
Ellis project amended
Just before the permit parking issue was taken up, the City Council got a report from the staff that Surland Communities LLC had amended its Ellis development, at the corner of Linne and Corral Hollow roads, and negated the need for city staff to research an override of a decision by the San Joaquin County Airport Land Use Commission.
The Ellis Specific Plan called for four to nine homes to be built per acre in the outer approach departure zone of the Tracy Municipal Airport. The land-use commission had found during its regular meeting Sept. 26 that the plan was inconsistent with the 2009 Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan, which includes a safety zone at the end of one of the airport runways that cuts across the southeast corner of the Ellis development.
The finding meant Surland could not build as many homes as planned.
Surland had asked the city to override the decision from the ALUC, which it has the power to do, and during the regular City Council meeting Oct. 15, the council asked the city staff to research an override and the implications.
City planner William Dean told the council Tuesday that Surland had amended the Ellis plan to remove the request for an override.
Amazon applies for more space
During the city manager’s report at the end of the meeting, Leon Churchill announced that developer Prologis had applied to expand the Amazon Fulfillment Center by 575,000 square feet. That space would increase the size of the 1 million square foot facility at 1555 N. Chrisman Road by more than half.
• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at 830-4231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.