Mountain House is making a push to become San Joaquin County’s eighth incorporated city.
A study commissioned by the Mountain House Community Services District is expected to be completed later this year to determine the feasibility of becoming California’s 483rd incorporated city.
If that happens, it will replace Ripon as the sixth largest city in the county. Ripon has a population of around 16,000 while Mountain House has surpassed 20,000. The five largest cities in San Joaquin County in descending order of population are Stockton, Tracy, Manteca, Lodi, and Lathrop. The other city is Escalon.
Steve Pinkerton, who as city manager guided Manteca through the Great Recession and got the ball rolling to ultimately land the Great Wolf Indoor Water Park resort opening this summer, is the general manager of the Mountain House Community Services District. Pinkerton resigned from his Manteca post to take a similar job as Davis city manager to be closer to his wife’s job. After Davis he was hired in 2013 to oversee the Incline Village community services district. Pinkerton took the Mountain House post in June of 2019.
Mountain House — located 20 miles northwest of Manteca — would be the western most city in San Joaquin County if it is incorporated.
Mountain House has just completed a $31 million town hall and library. The two facilities were scheduled to open to the public in mid-March but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The library is the third largest in the county behind downtown Stockton and Lodi.
Next on the community amenities list is a 2,500-seat outdoor amphitheater adjacent to the library and then a $35 million expansion of the community’s Central Park. That will feature a recreation center with a lap pool and play pool. If building occurs at the pace that has been happening during the past year developers anticipate the park expansion to start in 12 to 18 months.
Safeway plans to break ground in the near future as the anchor project for an 83,000-aquare-foot commercial area near the town center. A 500,000-suare-foot business park was recently completed
The median household income for Mountain House is $106,109. Manteca’s median income is $68,019, Tracy’s is $74,748, Lathrop’s is $63,087, Ripon’s is $75,420, Lodi’s is $52,244, Stockton’s is $70,745, and Escalon’s is $57,971.
Most of the homes now being built in Mountain House are on smaller lots and sell for less than $600,000.
In the early 1990s, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors entertained proposals for development of a new community to help serve growth generated by an influx of Bay Area workers.
There were initially three areas in the running. An area along the Stanislaus River southeast of Escalon was rejected as being too problematic and would have created stress on established cities due to commute issues.
That left New Jerusalem and Mountain House in the running.
New Jerusalem is southeast of Tracy along Highway 33. It can be accessed from Manteca by taking Airport Way south which turns into Durham Ferry Road once it crosses the San Joaquin River and then heads to New Jerusalem. The biggest drawback was what was viewed as a disruption to agriculture.
Mountain Hose is located near the foothills of the Diablo Range of the Coastal Mountain. The community borrowed its name from the historic Mountain House two miles to the northeast in Alameda County that was established at a waystation for miners heading from San Francisco to the Gold Country.
County supervisors gave Mountain House the green light in 1994, approved the community master plan in 1996, and approved most of the governing documents in 2000. Construction started in 2001.
It is expect to have roughly 15,000 households when completed to house a population of 44,000.