Kyle Syzmanski, The Brentwood Press, July 18, 2019
The Brentwood City Council has scheduled a special meeting for July 25 to hear an independent report on the impacts of a proposed urban limit line (ULL) expansion initiative that could usher in a large residential development.
The proposed measure — spearheaded by a group of local developers including longtime Brentwood farmer and developer Ron Nunn — would move the mark at which urban development must stop, clearing the way for a proposed 815-acre project of up to 2,400 residential units (at least 80% age-restricted, active adult-specific), with other elements, situated north of Balfour Road, east of Deer Valley Road and west of the Shadow Lakes and Brentwood Hills neighborhoods.
The analysis will reveal the proposal’s possible effects on such things as emergency responders, schools, land use, housing availability, employment, infrastructure funding, open space and traffic. But it can’t halt the measure from being sent to voters, since the development group collected more than the required 3,500 verified resident signatures qualifying the measure for the ballot.
After hearing the report, the council will decide only whether the measure will appear on a ballot later this year or will wait until 2020.
“The signatures have been gathered and verified to put the initiative in front of the voters,” said City Manager Gus Vina, “so the council does not have an option of not sending it to the voters.”
The council ordered the report in late June after a number of project opponents stepped forward expressing concern about the measure’s possible detriment to the community’s traffic, emergency responders, schools and the environment at large.
Kathy Griffin, who has spearheaded a community action group opposing the proposal, said this week the group plans to speak up at the meeting to encourage the council to send the measure to the 2020 ballot, giving residents time to fully digest the proposal and its ramifications.
Aside from not knowing how long the public will be able to view the impact report, Griffin said, a separate environmental impact report — a portion of which will analyze the proposal’s potential effects on the area’s population and housing, public services, traffic, utilities, service systems and many other components — has not yet been released.
Additionally, she said the proposed initiative could alter future zoning, general plan and municipal code regulations.
“I don’t think people realize their 193-page initiative is not the one paragraph you are going to see on the ballot,” she said. “It’s 193 pages, and it changes Brentwood law. It locks out any decision making by Brentwood residents and city management if it’s voted into law.”
Development group members have said they feel the project will address community concerns and benefit the area.
The group has said it plans to meet with the fire district to address the agency’s obvious resource shortage that could be further strained with new development. The district’s three current stations cover 249 square miles and an estimated 119,000 residents.
Project plans also call for several roadway improvements, including extending American Avenue — which currently terminates in front of Adams Middle School — to form an additional intersection with Balfour Road; widening Balfour Road from near its intersection with American Avenue to the southwestern corner of the project site; and making several safety improvements to Deer Valley Road.
The development group has also asserted that the project construction would generate local jobs, and that senior communities generate less traffic than conventional housing projects, garner money for schools without adding children, add disposable income to the community and could attract improved medical services.
“We are proud of the plan for the Vineyards at Deer Creek because it will provide unparalleled benefits to the city of Brentwood, a town that my family has called home for more than 125 years,” said Bob Nunn, who noted that the group is committed to preserving at least 225 acres of open space onsite, and are in the process of securing nearly 1,400 more acres offsite to be protected as open space, in perpetuity. “Our city is extremely important to us and that is why we spent a lot of time listening to the residents to hear the types of benefits our neighbors were looking for in a new community, and structured our project in a way that was most beneficial to our city.”
The development group is expected to reimburse the city for the report’s cost of up to $60,000.
It would cost the city between $104,232 and $173,870 to hold a special election this year, or between $43,467 and $60,584 to wait until the general election next year — although the development group is also expected to reimburse the city for the special election costs, according to a city staff report. However, the developers have not indicated whether they would consider reimbursing the city for the cost of a general election.
The meeting to present the impact report is scheduled for 7 p.m., July 25, inside the city council chambers.