Will Antioch take the land if Brentwood does not pass Measure L?


We know this because of the events of last summer, when Antioch voters pushed back on the development of thousands of houses in the nearby Sand Creek Focus Area in Antioch. To stop the development, the “Let Antioch Voters Decide” initiative was put forward. 10,000 Antioch voters signed the petition, and the Antioch city council subsequently adopted their residents will, and passed the initiative into law.

Unfortunately, their city council kind of made a mess of things, also approving another measure that did allow one project by Richland that would otherwise have been excluded by the “Let Antioch Voters Decide” initiative. So, a suit was filed by the other developers who also want to build in the area, and now the “Let Antioch Voters Decide” initiative seems headed to the November 2020 ballot. The City of Antioch is still pursuing an appeal to this ruling as reported in a news article dated August 6, 2019. If they win the appeal, then the law could stand and not need a new vote.

In a summary posted by the group supporting the “Let Antioch Voters Decide” initiative, they explain it does four things:

  • Designates 1800 acres west of Deer Valley Road as the Initiative Area and zones it Rural Residential, Agriculture and Open Space.
  • Limits development in the Sand Creek area between Kaiser Hospital and Black Diamond Mines, where the city is proposing thousands of houses.
  • Requires Antioch Voter approval to allow more intensive development. It Lets Antioch Voters Decide if they want to allow bigger developments.
  • Permanently Requires Voter Approval Of Amendments To The Urban Limit Line. The current Antioch Urban Limit Line is only voter approved until December 2020. Our measure would continue to require voter approval for any changes.

Note that last one about permanently protecting the ULL. It is a key provision in this initiative, and Antioch voters seem sure to pass it. Consider that in the last Antioch City Council election only 30,326 votes were cast, and that 10,000 petition signature number becomes very significant. “Let Antioch Voters Decide” would have only needed 15,164 in the last election if the same number of people voted on it as voted on the City Council election. Granted 2020 is a presidential election year and Antioch population has gone up some, but still, with that much of a head start, it is hard to see how the “Let Antioch Voters Decide” initiative would fail. Also, in that same article from August 6, Save Mount Diablo, who helped the residents qualify the Initiative in 2018, vows to educate the public to get this passed.

Way back in 2010, when Measure F was brought to Brentwood to allow development of the land just south of the Measure L area, that would have put houses all around and behind Heritage High and Adams Middle Schools, this same threat was proclaimed loudly and with certain conviction. Pass Measure F, or Antioch will surely and certainly take that land. It never happened. It was never going to happen. Past votes and actions by both Brentwood and Antioch residents and voters continue to discredit this baseless threat.

Ask yourself who is spearheading this Measure L initiative. Is it Antioch or is it wealthy developers who pay for petition-gatherers, who pay for elections, who pay for focus groups to figure out what buzz words they need to print, racking up costs to the tune of $645,000? The proponents of Measure L always tell us that Antioch “will” take the land. But if anyone says Antioch will not take it, they always switch to saying they “can” take it or “it is possible they might” take it. And anything is possible. A meteor can come crashing out of the sky, through your roof, and land in your living room. If the proponents want to say that Antioch taking this land is as likely as a meteor landing in your living room, then maybe we would concede that point. But realistically, a meteor will never land in your living room, and Antioch can’t just take this land if Measure L is defeated. Contrary to the message they keep conveying, we do have other options, and the sky is not falling.


Will this development improve traffic?


Brentwood’s General Plan’s Circulation Diagram makes clear the plan to extend American Avenue. We do not need this developer’s plan to do this. In addition, the developer’s plan:

  • Removes public access of the new portion of Hillcrest as it will be private and gated for the new communities
  • Reduces designation from Major to Minor Arterial for the new portion of Hillcrest
  • Removes direct connection of American to Hillcrest

Under the developer’s plan, vehicle traffic will be routed further west down Balfour. Currently, traffic from the schools flows east on Balfour and to West Country Club. With no new roads out of the area, this means that the newly routed traffic would still have to cross the existing Balfour/American intersection. It also means that the traffic would be flowing toward the steady stream of students that cross Balfour on the western side of American.

Also, the land where the extension would be constructed is county-controlled and so the county would have to be in favor of constructing such extension. The county would be looking at a number of variables with respect to the construction, including habitats that could be impacted.

Does Brentwood need more housing?

NO! Brentwood is already over ⅔ built out according to the General Plan’s targets, and less than ⅓ built out for jobs. Cities that rely on property taxes as a primary source of income run out of money down the line, which diminishes their ability to provide the quality of life residents are used to. More houses mean more residents, which means more commuters and more traffic, and more pressure on city services like police, fire, and maintenance–without a long term increase in tax revenue.

Will this development add an impact to schools or traffic?

The development is currently planned for 80% of units for “active adult” and 20% of units as market rate. Developers can label their projects whatever they want, and simply change it down the line which is exactly what happened recently in Antioch. An “active adult community” is not legally binding. Just ask…Once houses are market rate, anyone can move in–including families with children who will need to go to school and working parents who will need to commute to job centers across the Bay Area. If each home has an average of four people, that’s almost 10,000 more commuters on roads and school children in school.

Further, “active adult” refers to adults 55 and over. How many 55 year olds do you know that don’t leave the house?