Amanda Brown-Stevens, CEO, Greenbelt Alliance, The Brentwood Press, October 15, 2019
Editor: Like so much of the Bay Area, Brentwood has been growing exponentially, and it now faces a decision that will have huge implications for the type of city it will become.
A developer, Blackhawk Nunn Partners, is planning a sprawl development on 800 acres of Brentwood farmland — a 2,400-unit subdivision outside the urban limit line, a voter-approved boundary line meant to discourage urban sprawl and contain development within city limits, beyond which urban development is not allowed. The proposed development includes housing and commercial development.
The project will also require several off-site infrastructure additions, including the extension of a new off-site sewer line, extension of a new irrigation line within Balfour Road, and the extension of American Avenue west and north to Balfour Road.
Any such development outside the ULL requires voter approval, and the developer has succeeded in placing Measure L on the November ballot, which, if passed, would extend the ULL and allow the development project and its associated environmental impacts to occur.
The recently completed environmental impact report for the proposed project identifies many significant and unavoidable impacts, including a substantial degradation in visual character and quality of the site, conversion of locally important farmland, and increases in air pollution, ambient noise levels, traffic congestion and delays at several intersections along Balfour Road.
These are all inevitable results of sprawl development. Our organization, Greenbelt Alliance, exists to discourage such sprawl and encourage smarter growth throughout the Bay Area — that is, growth that creates new homes, shops, and workplaces within existing cities and towns. Done right, it can deliver economic, environmental, and quality-of-life benefits to the Bay Area, including Brentwood, while easing development pressure on the greenbelt of natural resources that exist beyond our cities and towns. For this reason, Greenbelt Alliance (as well as other groups, such as Sierra Club and the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council), urge voters to vote “no” on Measure L.
In Measure L lies Brentwood’s choice: Do residents want to double down on sprawl, destroy Brentwood’s farmland and agricultural heritage, and continue its trajectory toward being an outpost for other, more thoughtfully planned cities? Or will Brentwood choose a different future — one where Brentwood residents walk, bike and bus to work right in town, where homes that are affordable across the income spectrum are built close to services and amenities; where the agricultural economy is dynamic and alive; where the surrounding open space is full of coyotes and hawks and the agricultural land is full of tomatoes and cherries?
Faced with these options in the past, Brentwood has chosen the latter. Now, Greenbelt Alliance is hard at work with our community partner, Brentwood Alliance Against Measure L, to ensure the city protects both what makes their community special and the Bay Area as a whole. Please vote “no” on Measure L, and help preserve the natural resource values that make Brentwood a great place to live, work, play, and retire.
CEO, Greenbelt Alliance