Read the history of the Zeka Ranch project and why you should vote no on Measure T

ZEKA RANCH PROJECT HISTORY – OVER 30 YEARS OF WORKING & WAITING

3 Votes by the People in 1990, 2005, & 2006 Establish Urban Limit Line, Allow Homes in the Sand Creek Area. This 4th Vote Attempts to Devalue the Land – Unfair & Illegal!

  • INTRODUCTION: Zeka Ranch is a thoughtfully prepared, new home community, in the City of Antioch that fulfills the City’s vision for the Sand Creek Area on housing, nestled within the unique, existing natural features of the site. The mix of densities, housing types, their location within the master plan and interaction with the site’s natural topography makes Zeka Ranch an exceptional master planned community, which could be the preferred location of executive type housing that the City lacks and has continuously expressed interest in developing
  • PROPERTY HISTORY AND EXISTING CONDITIONS: The Zeka Ranch site, formerly known as the Higgins Ranch, comprises approximately six hundred thirty-nine plus (639+) acres situated in the westerly limits of the former Sand Creek Focus area. The site is bordered by the East Bay Regional Park District, Black Diamond Mine Regional Preserve to the west, Roddy Ranch to the South, Empire Mine Road and Richland Communities proposed Ranch project to the east and public open space to the north. The 639+ acres are subdivided into five independent parcels held by five separate entities.
  • The proposed plan creates an opportunity to implement product diversification that caters to executives and other demography looking for higher end housing, in a setting that is distinct from anywhere else in Antioch. The community will be a synergy of planning, architecture, landscape and engineering. The use of narrower and slower streets, Low Impact Development (LID) Techniques, native and drought tolerant landscape elements, ability to integrate smart technologies and sustainable measures in the homes, integration of trails and open spaces with the surrounding regional open spaces would make this a destination for higher end housing that the City has coveted for so long
  • The proposed land uses of the Zeka Ranch project are in compliance with the existing City of Antioch General Plan. As envisioned in the General Plan, Zeka Ranch is a mix of two housing types – Hillside Estate Housing and Executive Housing.
  • HISTORY – 1980’s City of Antioch grants General Plan allocation of up to 2 homes per acre on 640 acres at Higgins Ranch.
  • 1989 City of Antioch began planning for homes in the Sand Creek area, which would be referred to as Future Urban Area 1 (FUA1). Zeka begins process of purchasing the Higgins property.
  • 1990 Contra Costa VOTERS APPROVE Urban Limit Line cutting off 65% of land in the county from subdivision development and allowing new homes to be built on 35% of the land. The Sand Creek area and Zeka Ranch are INSIDE County’s Urban Limit Line.
  • 1990 Zeka was approached by an adjacent property owner to participate in the City’s planning effort, for the area. Since then, Zeka paid 25% of the costs for the City studies and plans for the FUA1 area, even though later Zeka significantly reduced the number of units on their property. The City’s initial plans for FUA-1/Sand Creek area include over 8,900 homes, plus 700 homes at Roddy Ranch, for over 9,600 homes.
  • 2000 Zeka purchases land for a huge amount of money from Higgins family and begins process for approval of upscale, high-end home project. Initial plans included 1,100 homes, but in the interim, they reduced to 740 homes. The East Bay Regional Park District threatened to sue City of Antioch if they allow Zeka development on much of their acreage. Instead of fighting it, Zeka Group voluntarily reduces plans to 338 homes on 196 acres, leaving 440+ as future open spaces.
  • 2003 Antioch City Council approves General Plan, formally allocates 2 homes per acre on Zeka’s land, allowing only 4,000 homes total in Sand Creek Focus Area.
  • 2005 After County Supervisors moved in the Urban Limit Line to cut out the Roddy Ranch, the people of Antioch voted overwhelmingly to approve Measure K, move the line back out and establish Antioch’s own Urban Limit Line. Sand Creek area and Zeka Ranch are INSIDE City’s Urban Limit Line.
  • 2006 County voters, once again approve County’s Urban Limit Line. Sand Creek area and Zeka Ranch are inside the Urban Limit Line!
  • 2017 Save Mount Diablo representative suggests Zeka sell the Zeka Ranch property to other developer in Antioch for open space use, which would have drastically downgraded and devalued Zeka Ranch property, involuntarily.
  • 2017 Zeka Group ready to submit plans. City staff says hold off. City wants to wait until neighboring developer’s The Ranch project is approved. The Ranch project finally approved on 5-0 vote of Antioch City Council on July 28, 2018. Yet the City Council rejected Zeka Ranch PDP Application submittal after its adoption of Let Antioch Voters Decide (LAVD) initiative a month later.
  • 2018 Out-of-town environmentalists launch initiative effort to downzone Zeka Ranch property to just 1 home per 80 acres to only 8 homes on 639+ acres! Antioch voters are misled by them saying they could stop 8,000 homes. That wasn’t true!
  • According to Save Mt. Diablo’s representative, their initiative ONLY AFFECTS LAND WEST OF DEER VALLEY ROAD. By then the City had already approved 1,200 homes at east of Deer Valley Road, 301 homes are planned in a gated, senior community south of Kaiser, and 121 homes are planned around Kaiser. Plus, 221 more homes are now being processed by the City. So, the most the initiative could stop is about 900 homes, not 8,000! The environmentalists KNEW IT.
  • A few years ago Save Mt. Diablo suggested Zeka Ranch sell their land to other developers for open space. Zeka respectfully declined the offer.
  • 2018, instead of letting the voters decide – like the title of the initiative – the environmentalists asked and got the five council members to decide and adopted the LAVD initiative and rejected Zeka Ranch project application! That forced the landowners to sue both the City and environmentalists in court – Zeka and Oak Hill Park Property won, not once, but twice!
  • 2019 Judge rules City Council has to place LAVD initiative on Nov. 2020 ballot.
  • 2019 October, in response to California’s housing crisis, Governor Newsom signs SB330 into law which says effective January 1, 2020 development applications for residential property cannot be downzoned either by city council action or by initiative. So, the Let Antioch Voters Decide initiative, if passed, should be of no effect for voters at the ballot under the SB330 law.
  • However, the environmentalists want to still win and have voters to pass Measure T. They hope it will force the future city councils to vote NO on the projects, only to forcing more lawsuits costing the City, taxpayers and landowners more money. Zeka wants respectfully to tell the out-of-town environmentalists and their local supporters: NO!
  • Today, after 30 years of waiting and planning, Highway 4 has been widened to Antioch, Highway 4 Bypass/extension built to Balfour Road in Brentwood, and the BART extension to Antioch is completed. (Major roads in Antioch, plus the Highway 4 widening and extension were designed for 12,000 homes in the Sand Creek area and Roddy Ranch)
  • Zeka Ranch has duly resubmitted PDP application to Antioch Planning Department for proposed development of 338 home lots under the Law of SB330 and the application plans currently being reviewed.
  • Zeka Ranch community project will be working in nature, for improvements and beautification of nature. It represents less than 8.5% of total 4,000 home allocations within Sand Creek Area and will provide about 70% of open space within its lands in proactive mitigation.
  • NOW is the time for the Voters of Antioch to VOTE NO on Measure T. We wish to work with the new City Council for approval of Zeka Ranch plans, so, NICE, UPSCALE HOMES, on VIEW LOTS, surround by hundreds of acres of OPEN SPACES can be built, like those in Blackhawk, the San Ramon Valley, Walnut Creek and Brentwood. They will attract executives and business owner investors to Antioch who will bring new companies to the area, creating the LOCAL, QUALITY JOBS for Antioch residents.
  • All the new homes will pay their own way, with more police and fire protection, and road impact fees to help complete Antioch’s long-planned roadways and the Highway bypass/extension widening to Marsh Creek Road and beyond.
  • CONCLUSION: Zeka Ranch will be a diverse, well designed, well amenitized and secure master planned community that will provide high-end housing within the City boundary and inside both the 3-times voter approved County and City Urban Limit Lines, which the City of Antioch envisions for this location. The Zeka Ranch team looks forward to working with City Staff, other agencies, the Planning Commission, City Council, residents, and many stakeholder groups as we create a legacy community within the City of Antioch.

For more information visit the No on Measure T page on this website at http://antiochherald.com/no-on-measure-t/.

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