Op-Ed: County’s Urban Limit Line threatened
Contra Costa’s Urban Limit Line was established in 1990 and strengthened in 2004. Its purpose was to prevent urban sprawl into virgin agricultural land and preserve for the county’s citizens open space for their enjoyment.
A developer is now petitioning the county’s supervisors to approve a so called 30-acre development that breaks the ULL and will build 125 homes in rural Tassajara Valley. In 2006, Contra Costa voters approved Measure L that further strengthened the ULL by requiring an election and a majority vote of the county’s voters to approve any development outside the ULL. An exception was granted to allow the supervisors to approve developments not exceeding 30 acres and if one of seven named exceptions could be cited.
It is very important that this development be stopped. The developer is offering the county a check for $4 million and to dedicate another 500 acres for non-urban use. While enticing, this offer should be rejected by our supervisors. If the county accepts this “deal”, it will establish a precedent for other developers to “break the line”. The blueprint of a $4 million check and land donation will have been established.
Measure L required five year reviews by the county’s Department of Conservation and Development to determine if the ULL needed to be adjusted for reasons that included population growth and the availability of land for development within the ULL. This department concluded in their December 20, 2016 report to the supervisors that there was sufficient developable land within the ULL through the year 2036, i.e., no need to build outside the ULL.
Our supervisors, Federal Glover of District 5 and Diane Burgis of District 3 have good environmental records. Indeed, supervisor Glover has consistently supported the ULL. In a May 2016 interview by another news source, Glover stated: “I have always contended that the Urban Limit Line was necessary so that our region would not grow more than what our infrastructure could handle. Traffic, police services and schools are the main services that suffer when growth happens too fast.” The recently elected District 3 supervisor, Diane Burgis, has strong environmental credentials having established them in her position as executive director of Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed.
The proposed development, “Tassajara Parks”, will be coming soon before the Board of Supervisors for a vote. While this development is not in the eastern portion of our county, the precedent that this development would set will make all lands outside the ULL susceptible to development. Write or E-mail your supervisor and make your voices heard. Tell them not to compromise, reject this development project and protect the ULL. Our supervisors will listen to us, the voters. E-mail Supervisors Glover and Burgis at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. More information is available at tassajaravalleypa.org.
Tassajara Valley Preservation Association