Results in 63 fewer homes built
BRENTWOOD, Calif., Sept. 11, 2020 – West Coast Home Builders, Inc., a development company owned by the Seeno family, and the Brentwood Union School District have entered into an agreement that opens the door for the district to acquire a prime piece of Bay Area real estate, well below market value, for the construction of a new elementary school.
School district staff recommended approval of the agreement, and the school board members unanimously approved the agreement on Aug. 19, 2020.
The Brentwood Union School District has been trying for years to find suitable land to build a much-needed elementary school to help relieve overcrowding at some of its elementary schools and accommodate future growth in the district. The agreement between West Coast Home Builders and the district is a significant step forward and an important opportunity toward making this new elementary school a reality.
The impact on the district will include reducing overcrowding, a lower student-teacher ratio, and reducing the use of portables.
“We’ve been negotiating a school site there for a very long time,” BUSD Board Trustee Emil Geddes confirmed. “We just hadn’t achieved the final solution with Seeno, until now.”
“We approved that we want that site,” he continued. “But we haven’t come to the final purchase price and agreement for the property.”
It will also mean 63 fewer homes will be built at the site, as was an option in the Vesting Tentative Map overlay. (See Site Plan above)
In 2016, Brentwood voters passed Measure B, a school bond measure that will fund much of the proposed elementary school construction costs. School construction costs have skyrocketed in California, so building a new school is very difficult for districts without some form of subsidy. In this case, West Coast Home Builders will be subsidizing the cost of the land, which is critical to making a new elementary school a reality.
The 11.35-acre school site is located within the proposed Bridle Gate community, west of Highway 4 (bypass) and south of Sand Creek Road in Brentwood, California. The proposed development will bring much-needed housing to the Bay Area, which has been chronically undersupplied for years, leading to the current affordability crisis. The project’s proximity to both highway and commercial areas, coupled with a school site that will be walkable for students and parents, also lowers environmental impacts to the area.
In a dramatic savings to the district, an appraiser will value the school site land as agricultural rather than residential. Residential land values are substantially higher than agricultural land values. This essentially means the district will be paying pennies on the dollar for the land. This is a true partnership between a growing school district and a longtime community builder, who is committed to supporting local schools and children.
The sale of this land to the district is contingent on West Coast Home Builders receiving the necessary environmental and project approvals from the Brentwood City Council for the Bridle Gate project. West Coast Home Builders has included this school site in its proposed development plan, and the city has included this school site in its environmental analysis of the housing project.
The project will be up for approval before the city council during a special meeting next Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 7:00 p.m. According to California Government Ethics Law in Government Codes §§ 87100 and 87103 a public official may not make, participate in, or influence a governmental decision that will have a reasonably foreseeable and material financial effect on the official, the official’s immediate family, or any of the official’s financial interests. Because Councilwoman Claudette Staton’s personal residence is too close to the project site, she will have to recuse herself and not participate in voting on the project, as it could affect the value of her home. The decision will therefore be left up to the other four council members.
State Letter Says Staton Can’t Vote on Project
UPDATE: Upon request from the Herald, Staton provided a copy of the August 10, 2020 letter from the state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) to Brentwood Assistant City Attorney Katherine Wisinski which provides the reason why Staton cannot vote on the project due to her conflict of interest under the state’s Political Reform Act. In the letter, the FPPC asks the following question: “Under the Act, may Councilmember Staton take part in governmental decisions pertaining to a city development project that would involve the construction of hundreds of new homes, among other significant developments, and potentially affect property views, traffic levels, and air quality, given that she owns real property less than 1000 feet from the project site?”
The FPPC’s letter then answers the question writing, “No, given the scope and impacts of the project, as well as the proximity of Councilmember Staton’s real property, it is reasonably foreseeable that the project would have a material financial effect on Councilmember Staton’s property by changing its market value and income producing potential, and air quality. Accordingly, Councilmember Staton is disqualified from taking part in project decisions under the Act, and consequently must recuse herself from those decisions.” Read the entire four-page letter, here: FPPC Ltr re Staton Bridle Gate vote Final A-20-085
To read the agenda item and details click, here.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.
’16 Measure B follow up, helping his budget etc.).