July 10, 2019

ACTION REQUESTED: 
Complete Brentwood’s workforce survey:
https://www.opentownhall.com/7603

Currently, Brentwood is less than ⅓ built out for jobs and 88% of employed Brentwood residents leave the city for work. In order to bring a better job-housing balance to Brentwood, one of the guiding principles of the General Plan is “Attract and retain businesses and industries that provide high-quality and high-paying jobs so that residents can live and work in Brentwood”.

In April 2019, Brentwood hired a new Assistant City Manager, Terrence Grindall to focus on “promoting Brentwood’s development potential; increasing the city’s per-capita sales tax base through retail recruitment; and attracting high-quality local jobs.” See The Press article dated May 23, 2019.

Now, Brentwood is asking residents to complete a workforce survey so that the city can better evaluate the workforce here in order to attract businesses that match. See The Press article dated July 11, 2019. You help the city understand our workforce by completing the survey here: https://www.opentownhall.com/7603

-Nicole

July 4, 2019

Hello family & friends.

Happy Independence Day, the day the Continental Congress declared the 13 American colonies no longer subordinate to the monarch of Britain. Enjoy your day, have fun, and be safe!

On another note, just wanted to pass along a message from Brentwood City Clerk, Margaret Wimberly:

The City would like to provide you as much notice as possible that at the City Council meeting of July 9, staff will be recommending the regular City Council meeting of July 23rd be cancelled, and a special meeting be held on Thursday, July 25th at 7:00 p.m. in order to provide a full 30 days for the preparation and presentation of the 9212 report, which will provide additional information to the public on the Vineyards at Deer Creek development project.

Brentwood City Clerk, Margaret Wimberly

Please amend your calendars to attend this important special meeting. The Council is set to decide which election to send the Vineyards @ Deer Creek initiative to, either a special election in the fall of 2019, or the next General Municipal Election, November 3, 2020. I, as well as the Alliance for a Better Brentwood, are advocating for the 2020 election. We deserve to have a draft and final Environmental Impact Report prior to voting on this life-changing ballot measure. The City is not sure when this will be available to us just yet.

We continue to find new and revealing information about the claims made by the developers that people need to know. Please check our website regularly for new information and sign-up for our Newsletter. We will be holding several important meetings over the coming weeks and will communicate those accordingly.

Thank you for listening and your support. Brentwood is near and dear to my heart, where my children grew up, and where some live with our grandchildren. We need to guide it into the future and help protect it for generations to come.

Kat

June 29, 2019

ACTION REQUESTED: 
Join us Tuesday, July 23rd Thursday, July 25th at 7 pm 
for the City Council Meeting
where the Council may decide whether to
send this to a special election or a general election

Happy wonderful weather Saturday friends and neighbors.

Just posting a thank you for all of you who wrote the Council or attended the Tuesday evening City Council Meeting to stand up for Brentwood and our Urban Limit Line, and encourage the City Council to order the informational report vetting the required components of the Vineyards @ Deer Creek development as dictated by Election Code Section 9212.

Karen Rarey also added 2 components as allowed under the provision which analyzes the project under a different lens than an EIR – see the list of criteria in the Council agenda packet.

Many concerned residents spoke both under the Public Comments section, and on the agenda item of the ULL expansion project. Thank you to leadership team member Sinziana Todor for preparing the Alliance for a Better Brentwood’s unified 6-page message, and I might add there was not one pro-development speaker! You can view and listen to the entire Council meeting at the City’s website, choose the video from 6/25: http://brentwoodca.iqm2.com/Citizens/default.aspx

Regarding the informational report which stands to cost the City around $60k, the City only has 30 days to hire a company to prepare it, and bring it back to the Council. We can all expect that reveal at the Tuesday, July 23rd Council Meeting – please put that date on your calendars. That evening could be the night Council decides on which election they will send the measure to:

  1. a special election Fall of 2019, costing Brentwood a whooping $104k-$173k; or
  2. the regularly scheduled General Municipal election on 11/3/2020, only costing $43k-$60k.

The developer can be asked to enter into an agreement with the City for reimbursement of all these costs, but there is no guarantee. The Alliance is advocating for the 2020 General Election because of historically higher voter turnout statistics and because we don’t even have a Draft nor Final Environmental Impact Report yet to make an informed decision on the measure.

We will continue to oppose this ULL expansion project because Brentwood does not need to expand –

  1. we have 6,075 housing units of various types in the queue, and 33 commercial projects, and that’s only Brentwood;
  2. we have abysmal fire & emergency services for which this development offers the SAME FIRE FEES to the City as any housing project AND adds more service territory;
  3. the CHP is extremely concerned about the traffic this project will generate, and has reported that the project’s current configuration appears to not have the capacity to accommodate increased traffic on both Balfour & the Bypass, and will severely hinder their ability to do their job by increasing response times, collision potential, traffic congestion and negatively impacting the safe movement of people & commerce.
  4. the initiative will completely take the City Council, Planning Staff, and its residents out of the equation by making all their plans law, over-riding our General Plan and zoning regulations;
  5. if we do need to expand at a later date, Brentwood has a plan for the SPA2 area for ranchette estates & very low density housing on the parcel, and will also complete American Avenue AND extend Hillcrest through to Balfour.

Thanks for your time today, and please do not hesitate to contact me with any concerns, questions or input regarding this deplorable Project. We have new information to share shortly supporting our opposition – don’t forget to sign-up for our news blasts at our website, or check our site regularly: www.AllianceforaBetterBrentwood.org .

Now get out an enjoy Brentwood’s amazing weather and amenities while you can!

Kathy

June 28, 2019

On June 25th, the Brentwood city council had to decide between:

  1. Placing the Measure on the ballot for the City’s next regular election (November 3, 2020); or
  2. Placing the Measure on the ballot for a special election; or
  3. Providing direction to prepare an informational report in accordance with section 9212 of the Elections Code.

Voters need more information before we move forward on this and so the council unanimously voted for Option 3. However, this report will not be as detailed as a full EIR which is also in progress. It is not known when the draft EIR will be released.

The 9212 report will cover the following topics:

  1. Its fiscal impact.
  2. Its effect on the internal consistency of the City’s general and specific plans, including the housing element, the consistency between planning and zoning, and the limitations on City actions under state laws prohibiting discrimination in housing and governing density bonuses.
  3. Its effect on the use of land, the impact on the availability and location of housing, and the ability of the City to meet its regional housing needs.
  4. Its impact on funding for infrastructure of all types, including, but not limited to, transportation, schools, parks, and open space. The report may also discuss whether the measure would be likely to result in increased infrastructure costs or savings, including the costs of infrastructure maintenance, to current residents and businesses.
  5. Its impact on the community’s ability to attract and retain business and employment.
  6. Its impact on the uses of vacant parcels of land.
  7. Its impact on agricultural lands, open space, traffic congestion, existing business districts, and developed areas designated for revitalization.
  8. Any other matters the City Council requests to be included in the report.

Watch the entire city council meeting here. YES, it is long, but we heard concerns from CHP and Fire as well as many residents. Concerning is that the person from FIRE stated our insurance rates could increase and CHP noted the increased safety concerns. Additionally, it was pointed out that the builder has CROSSED OUT the General Plan and updated it with verbiage that will allow them to do whatever they want on the site (overriding the City and the existing General Plan).

June 16, 2019

ACTION REQUESTED:
Join us June 25th at 7 pm
for the City Council Meeting
where the Council will either order a staff report, or decide to send the measure to a ballot

Hello friends and neighbors,

First and foremost, happy “Hallmark Holiday”, Father’s Day to all our fantastic fathers out there. It’s not just one day, it’s a lifetime.

Posting a quick update for The Alliance for a Better Brentwood. Yesterday, we secured another 55 opposition signatures denouncing the Vineyards @ Deer Creek Project. This was in just the few hours we spent at the Farmer’s Market. As the developers proclaimed in Friday’s Brentwood Press article, they will soon be bombarding our mailboxes with thousands of dollars of marketing propaganda – with money our grassroots efforts couldn’t begin to have. It’s too bad they’ll be wasting all those precious trees with an item we can’t even use for toilet paper. Here’s the link:

Brentwood urban limit line expansion to appear on future ballot
Kyle Syzmanski, The Brentwood Press
Read the full text here

We need as many residents as possible to attend the June 25th City Council Meeting @ 7pm where the Council will act on the Project – either order a staff report, or decide to send the measure to a ballot. We know the developer wants a costly, quick special election in November 2019 – why would are City representatives authorize that when we don’t even have a Draft Environmental Impact Report yet? We need to have every review possible of this Project so the public can analyze it. Let’s come out in force to tell them, hold up signs, fill the room to show them just how many of us are against this Project. As we understand it, the Council has until August 9th to make the election date decision.

Regarding the fire & emergency services deficit, more taxes are not necessarily the answer. I received the link to the fees that developers pay for EACH housing unit in Brentwood yesterday from Planning Manager Erik Nolthenius. Of the $41,706+ received per housing unit, only $880.95 dollars goes to fire…what?! That’s absurd. Only Administration and Solid Waste are less than that; Parks and Trails gets $6,200, Roadways gets $12k and Water $11k…WOW. What exactly is the priority of our City, you might ask. I know these are 1-time fees, but couldn’t the fire allocation at least be boosted in this equation? Here’s the link to the City’s Development Fee Program.

As always, The Alliance as well as myself welcome your thoughts, facts and figures, and keep the dialog going! Enjoy this glorious day!

Kat

June 14, 2019

ULL Ballot Measure Info Table

Brentwood Farmer’s Market 6/15

Hello friends and neighbors, join me at the Alliance for a Better Brentwood Information Table tomorrow, Saturday, June 15 from 8:30am-11am to learn more about the looming ballot measure to move our Urban Limit Line west for yet more houses.

It’s our position that there is no reason to lose control of our urban boundary now. Brentwood has a commitment to its residents to boost fire/emergency services to safe levels, attract and retain good jobs, and add more retail and commercial development here BEFORE we expand outward for any reason. Our urban limit lines both east and west of town are in force until 2026.

We need to vote NO on this ballot measure to prevent unplanned urban sprawl, and then help guide the current plans on Brentwood’s horizon – how about we see how those affect our town before adding more to it.

Hope to see you there!

June 12, 2019

Hello friends and fellow Brentwood neighbors,

Today, I spoke at the Contra Costa County Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) Meeting in Martinez. This particular meeting was acting on requests for Sphere of Influence (SOI) and Annexation requests as part of LAFCO’s role as our County’s independent, regulatory agency with discretion to approve, wholly, partially or conditionally, or disapprove, changes of organization or reorganization.

LAFCO is required to consider a variety of factors when evaluating a proposal, including but not limited to, a proposal’s potential impacts on agricultural land and open space, provision of municipal services and infrastructure to a project site, timely and available supply of water, fair share of regional housing, consistency with regional plans, and various other factors.

In regards to the ULL-busting proposal of Blackhawk Nunn Partners, the Vineyards @ Deer Creek, I sited numerous LAFCO values and guiding principals that the project would violate. We will need LAFCO to deny the SOI and Annexation request by this particular developer and their specific project as it does not represent the actions and goals set forth in our own General Plan.

Here is my 3-minute LAFCO address:

“Hello LAFCO members,

I’ve lived in Brentwood for 22 years, and address you today representing the Alliance for A Better Brentwood.

Currently we are faced with an Urban Limit Line challenge from developers Blackhawk Nunn Partners – The Vineyards @ Deer Creek. Their goal is to move Brentwood’s ULL west to build 2,400 homes we don’t need. As this challenge would result in a subsequent SOI change and Annexation request that will come before you as the regulatory agency governing such requests in Contra Costa County, I’m asking for your support to deny the request.

Development of this 815-acre parcel would have an adverse impact on agricultural land and open space under your control, and is currently dry-farmed. We have plenty of regional housing, with a total of more than 16,000 housing units in the queue across Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Bethel Island and Discovery Bay; we don’t need this Project’s additional housing now and a big concern is we have no fire & emergency services to cover the 249-square miles of planned development as it is. This Project is not consistent with regional plans as it changes Brentwood’s General Plan significantly to build it. The traffic impacts are devastating, as we know Deer Valley Road was never intended nor can it accommodate any additional traffic load, especially with the development of the housing and commercial ventures in the Antioch Sand Creek Focus Area. The current MOU between Antioch & Brentwood so stipulates that neither City will ask for SOI or Annexation through 2022, Brentwood’s ULL is in force until 2026, and Antioch collected over 10,000 signatures last year to establish a permanent ULL at the northern end of this parcel – all powerful arguments to keep this parcel the ag land it is, and to permanently establish this property as the necessary Community Separator between the 2 cities. In LAFCO Executive Director Lou Ann Texeira’s 6-page letter to the City of Brentwood, she sites numerous concerns with the Project, and the 7 subject areas that the EIR must address. She also comments that she doubts a programmatic EIR will be sufficient to evaluate all the necessary concerns LAFCO would have for this Project. In summary, I ask that you comprehensively evaluate any request for a west Brentwood SOI or Annexation action according to your agency’s guiding principals, and based on those, I’m confident that you will deduce this request is contrary to the very values and regulations you uphold as LAFCO, and deny the request.

Thank you,
Kathy Griffin”

Thank you for your continued support!

May 23, 2019

NBC Newscast regarding the Alliance for a Better Brentwood’s ULL opposition to Vineyards @ Deer Creek

Good morning Friends and Neighbors,

The NBC Newscast about the ULL challenge by the developers of the Vineyards @ Deer Creek aired at the 5:35 am mark into the 5:00 am newscast. It should re-run at the 11:00 am-11:30 am program.

Unfortunately it’s so short, they did not include the messages from Bryan Scott on fire/emergency services, nor Tony Allegro—sorry gentleman, it could have been so much better. However, I think we had the better part of the report with our messaging and the channel showing our website information.

So the developers latest message is to check the traffic in front of their retirement communities? What about their 20 years of construction in an already overcrowded area, bulldozing 600 acres for more houses we don’t need, tearing up Balfour Road, the eventual houses that John Wong will want on his south-side property once they extend American Avenue, everywhere else they will cause traffic, congestion, and service deficits?

Our fight is genuine, our message is clear—no expanding our City limits until such a time as we solve our circulation and fire/emergency service deficits, and the residents and City management of Brentwood plan that parcel, not a developer.

Kathy

May 22, 2019

Hello Friends & Neighbors,

NBC News interviewed me on Monday, 5/20 regarding our Brentwood Urban Limit Line challenge and the Alliance for a Better Brentwood’s opposition to Blackhawk Nunn’s development plan to move our western ULL and bulldoze nearly 600 acres of dry-farmed ag land.

Bob Redell, NBC’s reporter, and his cameraman Isaac were extremely friendly and professional. They asked me a series of questions, so as is common with newscasts, I’m not sure which “snippets” will be used.

Also interviewed on behalf of the opposition was Bryan Scott, local resident and fire/emergency services deficit expert, as well as long-time friend Tony Allegro who lives on the County side of this development. If it makes it to the ballot, Tony and his wife Cheryl are not able to vote on this issue and yet this project would have a profoundly negative impact on their home property, traffic on Deer Valley in both directions, as well as all the projects overall devastating environmental consequences.

The City Clerk received the ballot petitions as complete on May 15th. Currently, the petition signatures are being validated by the County. Unfortunately, as with past elections, the City of Brentwood only asked for a random sampling of signatures to be verified. I know from the Antioch initiative last year that if the County finds irregularities, they will do a total verification of all petition signatures, and I hope that this will be the case. We know that most of us were aghast with the methods of trickery and rudeness practiced by the petition personnel hired by Blackhawk Nunn.

The developer is rushing this ballot measure through, and hasn’t even waited until the City’s Environmental Impact Report is complete. Word has it that if they do qualify the measure for the ballot, they will push our Council hard to schedule a special election in November 2019; this could cost the Brentwood taxpayers up to $100,000! We need to send the Council a strong message that we are not happy about this, and also if they are given the decision, to place this ballot measure on the next regularly scheduled election, March 2020. The e-mail address to send them all a message is CityCouncil@brentwoodca.gov. , and I would suggest you copy the City Clerk Margaret Wimberly, MWimberly@brentwoodca.gov. Lastly, we’ll need to fill the Council chambers at the Council meeting in which they will make this decision FOR SURE!

The NBC News story will air tomorrow, Thursday, 5/23 in the 4:30 am – 7 am time slot, and again between 11:00 am – 11:30 am; Bob Redell is not sure about any evening time slot as yet. As part of the story, Bob Nunn, Ron Nunn’s son was interviewed. Obviously, the story will contain the initiative from both sides, and I’m hoping the opposition message is received loud and clear.

Thank you for your continued support and HOLD THE LINE!

Kat

May 13, 2019

Hello friends and neighbors,

Writing a quick update to the weekend’s efforts in the opposition to move our Urban Limit Line for housing and construction we don’t need. We manned and womanned a table at the Farmer’s Market which was very successful in affirming our base opposing Blackhawk Nunn’s plans for SPA2, the ag land County controlled parcel in west Brentwood.

People would come by and ask, “Are you for it or against it?” When we said, Against, they asked where do we sign, and two even took the form to rescind their signature on their petition. While we don’t have a petition, we ask that you not sign there’s to get their plan on the ballot.

Remember, they are asking you to move the ULL west AND to build what they want to build – an imbedded development plan, a HUGE red flag.

Their petitioner was shouting, “Why aren’t you letting the people vote? Why are you crushing their ability to vote?” Well, perhaps because we’ve already voted on this urban border like 3 times!!! We need to hold that line until we have to make a decision, and that’s in 2026 when I’m hoping our town will make that line permanent—like Antioch made theirs permanent on the northern border of this 815-acre parcel just last year.

Many thanks to all that came down to help: Rod, Consuelo, Antonio, Sinziana, Jeff and Mia, and forgive me if I’ve missed you, it was quite crazy down there!

We continue to distribute our flyers throughout the City with all the information about this egregious plan, and everyday talk to Brentwoodians that have not heard about this development. We will continue to explain our opposition, and convey new information that we receive daily to stop this thing.

Today, City Management will be supplying me with the revenue the City will take in for services based on our current residential & commercial projects in the works; certainly we don’t have to expand outward anytime soon.

As we pointed out last week, the money the developers claim they’ll get us for fire services, it’s the same fees that ALL developers pay to build here, nothing special. With a figure of $17M to run 3 fire stations for a year (as an estimate say if Brentwood had their own fire department), their contribution of $2M over 20 years will hardly offset the environmental damage their housing plan will cause and the added service territory.

Brentwood has 711 parcels and 1,026 acres inside our City limits available to develop. Although I would really want a building moratorium City-wide due to our alarmingly deficient service levels, traffic, school overcrowding to name a few reasons, I’m sure our City could not afford that.

Have a great week—the weather is glorious! Get out in the fresh air if you can, pick some cherries, gaze at Mt. Diablo and know you are helping to protect our western border and defend Brentwood as the best little City east of, well, our Urban Limit Line!

Kathy