Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Delivering the Report to the Manteca City Council

HUGE step forward! What a night! After months of research, writing, and preparation, last night I delivered "Valentines" to fifteen of my closest friends at City Hall during the City Council meeting.

While I read the two-and-one-half minute Introduction, the City Clerk handed out the pound-and-a-half books. The Introduction [see last post] is included in the book so all recipients can reread it at their leisure. The city personnel in attendance appeared surprised that someone was so well prepared in advance. Those not receiving books were curious as to its contents, but probably relieved they didn't have to deal with whatever problem it contained.

Just before the meeting closed Councilman John Harris acknowledged my need for resolution to this problem, and Councilman Steve DeBrum, acting as Mayor Pro Tempore, echoed that and offered to sponsor my item onto the city council agenda on March 3rd.

Today, I confirmed with the City Clerk that my item is indeed on the draft agenda. "Draft agenda" means the mayor and councilmen have the opportunity to "play politics" before the agenda is finalized mid-next week. So it's still a fluid situation until the agenda is published to the public.

Anyway, here is the Executive Summary of my report:

Allen & Brassey: TLC on Fishback Street

Executive Summary

The purposes of this research document are:

First, to establish from public records (apparently for the first time) the timeline of ownership and prior uses of the property at 810 Fishback Street;

Second, to document the unlawful commencement, enlargement, and continued operation of TLC Catering as an unpermitted, nonresidential use;

Third, to prevent this unlawful use from attaching to the land because of the major error classifying the property’s business use as “legal but nonconforming;” and,

Fourth, to ensure the comprehensive and complete rehabilitation of 810 Fishback Street to its residential-only status.

Research conducted in December 2008 and January 2009 produced these findings:

►Finding #1: There was no legal nonresidential use attached to the property prior to the December 17, 1986 annexation. (That is, no valid San Joaquin County Planning permits existed for any such use.)

►Finding #2: Allen & Brassey purchased the property eleven months after annexation and, therefore, have no claim to grandfathered property rights for nonresidential use. (The prior owners lived on the property until April 1987. Allen & Brassey’s deed was recorded November 10, 1987.)

►Finding #3: There has never been a valid Home Occupation permit, or its earlier counterpart, issued by the City of Manteca for a business use on that property.

TLC Catering’s use of 810 Fishback was not grandfathered through the December 1986 annexation, was never issued a land use permit by Manteca before 1992 to establish a legal use and, therefore, could not be grandfathered through the 1992 Home Occupation ordinance as a legal but nonconforming use. (That declaration in the June 29, 1993 letter from the City of Manteca was in error, based on unverified information from the lawbreaking owner.)

►Finding #4: Allen & Brassey’s jealously guarded Health Permits are sanitation permits.

Physical addresses supplied to the Health Department facilitate inspections for sanitary conditions; the permits do not grant land use permission in any jurisdiction.


In simplest terms: They never were legal - they are not operating legally now – and, they never can become legal under current ordinances.

The Manteca Municipal Code, Chapter 17.25 Home Occupation Permit, states: “In no case shall a home occupation be conducted without prior issuance of a home occupation permit… [and] all activity relating to the existing home occupation [for which no home occupation permit has previously been issued] must cease until such time a valid home occupation permit is issued…”

My intention has never been that they go out of business, but it is definitely my goal to see that they do not continue unlawfully to operate their business next door to my residential property, thereby allowing the noncompliant use to attach to the land mistakenly classified as a nonconforming use.

In order to effect a comprehensive rehabilitation of this residential property to its business-free state, an awful lot of shit has to be shoveled. With no grandfather protection and no home occupation permit, every piece of currently used (and previously used but now abandoned) business equipment is on the property illegally, and the TLC Catering and Commissary business operation is an illegal land use.

The same jeopardy applies - twice over - to the mobile home abandoned by a former property owner. The unpermitted structure should not be there at all and Allen & Brassey are utilizing it as part of their unlawful business use. It must be removed from the property.


1) The City of Manteca correct and re-issue the letter of June 29, 1993 (see Exhibit Y), reclassifying the business use as noncompliant, and begin the process of conforming it to current ordinances.

2) These property owners have a choice to make – and, it is their choice.

Option #1 - Move all business operations and present and former business equipment to another property in a commercial zone and continue in business.

Option #2 - Go out of business - and remove, through selling, scrapping, or storing off-site, all present and former business equipment from the Fishback property.

Because of the unimaginable length of time they have been operating illegally from the property, a reasonable deadline (no more than a few months) could be given to find a new location and make the move.

The "story" and its references are in the next post.


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