In November, Brentwood voters will have the opportunity to do what Antioch voters did in 2005 and that was to approve a new housing development and undo what the five members of the Board of Supervisors did to a few landowners and the plans by Antioch and Brentwood. On the ballot is Measure L, which will annex about 800 acres and approve 2,400 new, upscale homes, 80% of which will be for seniors.
The land in the Measure L plan has been inside both the City of Antioch’s and City of Brentwood’s planning areas for decades. However, it’s not been in either city’s sphere of influence or city limits. It was also inside the voter-approved Urban Limit Line, until the County Supervisors played political games and moved it out, in 2003. That included the land that was planned for the Roddy Ranch housing development surrounding the former Roddy Ranch golf course, as well as all the land north of the ridge line that runs on the south side of the former golf course and continues into Brentwood behind Heritage High School and Adams Middle School. So, it makes sense the land is moved back inside the Urban Limit Line and the homes built.
1998 was my final of four years serving on the Antioch City Council, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, and the State Route 4 Bypass Authority. That year, while serving as chairman of the Bypass Authority, we bought the right-of-way for the extension to Highway 4 from Lone Tree Way to Balfour Road for four lanes of traffic and two lines of transit, down the center.
The plans and funding for the Highway 4 widening and bypass/extension, as well as the major roadways in Antioch, included those homes. In fact, a total of 12,000 homes were included in the planning for the regional roads in East County. Now, the plans in Antioch include only 4,000 homes, and the 700 homes at Roddy will never be built because that land was sold to the East Bay Regional Park District and is permanent open space.
The homes in Measure L will not create urban sprawl as some opponents are claiming. I laugh when I hear that about growth in Contra Costa County. I grew up in Southern California and was a chauffeur while attending college in Riverside, driving clients into Orange County and Los Angeles where I saw the results of urban sprawl. But, in our county, the Urban Limit Line protects about 65% of the land in the county from subdivision development. This land is inside the 35% of the land that the voters said could be built on. That’s why the land was purchased by developers years ago – before the Supervisors arbitrarily moved the line in.
It’s time either Brentwood or Antioch voters corrected their action.
If Brentwood doesn’t want them, those are the kind of homes Antioch wants and needs for our housing mix, especially now that Roddy Ranch is permanent open space and the homes planned for the western Sand Creek area might never be built.