Payton Perspective: No growth initiative backers being dishonest, for the sake of Antioch’s future please don’t sign

Sand Creek Focus Area proposed approved and proposed developments

By Allen Payton

The leaders behind the initiative to stop the new home developments on the west side of Deer Valley Road in the Sand Creek Focus Area, and their supporters are not being honest with Antioch residents in their efforts to obtain signatures to get it on the ballot. They’re claiming the city wants to build 4,000-8,000 homes in the area and that they will be able to stop them with the initiative.

Post on the initiative’s Facebook page.

It’s Not 8,000 Homes

The fact is the City’s General Plan only allows a total of 4,000 homes in the Sand Creek area, and so far, 1,178 have already been approved and another 300 are planned on the east side of Deer Valley Road. The initiative only covers the west side of Deer Valley Road. So, the most they can do is to stop 2,522 homes, if it passes. Currently there are only about 1,700 homes planned by two of the land owners, both of whom are developers.

What the public may not be aware of is the area has been planned for new home subdivisions for over 20 years, as a result the land is privately owned by developers, and there have already been two votes by the public to allow for homes in that area. First, the public voted in 1990 for and passed Measure C, the countywide Urban Limit Line, which protects approximately 65% of the land in the county from subdivision development. Then in 2005, the people of Antioch voted to approve Measure K, creating our city’s own Urban Limit Line, moving the line back out to include the now defunct Roddy Ranch development and golf course. The land in the Sand Creek area is both inside the county’s and Antioch’s ULL’s inside the 35% of land allowed for subdivision development.

In fact, there were originally 8,950 homes planned for the Sand Creek area, plus the 640 for a total of 9,490 homes south of the current homes. So, the total number of new homes allowed in the area has already been reduced significantly.

Infrastructure Supports the Growth

Another claim is that the city’s infrastructure and Highway 4 won’t support the new homes. That’s just false. I pointed out in my previous article about the initiative from those who planned and approved the infrastructure and Highway 4 widening, that they included in their plans 12,000 homes in the Sand Creek area.

The fact is Dallas Ranch Road was built four lanes wide because of the plans to eventually connect to and become Sand Creek Road, which will cross Deer Valley Road giving another access from the homes in south Antioch to the Kaiser medical center. The road will also continue to connect to Highway 4 in Brentwood. The new homes in The Ranch project, which the initiative seeks to stop, will pay for the road up to Deer Valley Road. Actually, the developers will pay for the costs of construction of the road and get reimbursed from the sale of their new homes. Another fact, the Kaiser medical center was built out there with the expectation of the new growth, and only half of the ultimate size.

The New Homes Won’t Kill People

But, the initiative advocates use of doubling the amount of homes that are allowed isn’t the only dishonest argument being made to support the initiative, yet. Now, one of their signature gatherers is actually saying that the new homes will kill people. That’s what he told me directly. His argument is because people will have to drive farther from the Sand Creek area to their jobs and other places. He only wants infill and high-density development of new homes. So, he is still for more homes in Antioch which will still allow people to drive to their out-of-town jobs and will still blow smoke out of their tailpipes. But, their commute will be a few miles shorter, which I guess won’t kill people. Hmmm.

One older gentlemen, who was signing the petition the other day, said the new homes should be built in Stockton. Really? So, let the people move further out and drive farther to their jobs, blowing more smoke out of their tailpipes, longer? How is that protecting the environment and keeping the new homes from killing people? As if they did. That just doesn’t make any sense. I wonder if he would have said the same thing when the home he’s living in was being built.

All Part of a Master Plan

It’s all been part of the master plan for Antioch. There’s been a method to what the out of town environmental groups and no-growthers in Antioch see as madness.

Growth in Antioch is Planned, Balanced & Limited

Growth must be planned, balanced, and limited and Antioch has all of that with the General Plan, the Urban Limit Line and a 200-acre employment area set aside 20 years ago. Plus, it will take as much as 20 years for all the homes in the Sand Creek area to be built. Some of the homes approved in Antioch before 1989 are just now about to be built, today. It takes that long for the infrastructure to be built and paid for. Plus, the housing market goes in cycles. So, just because the homes may get approved now, doesn’t mean they’re all going to be built right away.

Most of the property owners/developers in the Sand Creek area have been waiting for the past 20 years for Highway 4 to be widened and BART to be extended to Antioch, before moving forward with their plans. Some have owned their property for almost 30 years, waiting for the right time.

Local Job Creation

What the one young man who said the new homes will kill people doesn’t accept is the argument that those homes will attract business owners and executives who will bring their businesses to Antioch and Brentwood. They can locate them in the long-planned 200-acre employment area, formerly known as Future Urban Area 2 (FUA-2) along Highway 4, north of Slatten Ranch Road, as well as in Brentwood between Lone Tree Way and Sand Creek Road. That area in Brentwood is just now getting the zoning finalized and it will be mostly for commercial, which includes retail and employment. The young man’s views are in spite of the fact history has shown it to occur, over and over. For example, the upscale homes in Blackhawk and the San Ramon Valley attracted business owners and executives to locate their companies in Bishop Ranch in San Ramon. The same thing happened in the Tri Valley area, with the new homes in Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin attracting employers to the Hacienda Business Park in Pleasanton. The same happened in Walnut Creek and Concord and it can and will happen, here, especially now that the BART station will soon open in Antioch. But, only if we allow it. Signing the initiative and passing it will prevent our chances of becoming a complete, self-supportive city and kill the efforts to bring jobs closer to where our people live.

Lot Sizes As Large As 2 Acres

I also heard another argument from a friend who opposes The Ranch project, because she expected the lots to be half-acre in size, not the sizes proposed of 5,000-9,000 square feet on average. Yet, the homes in Blackhawk aren’t all on half-acre lots. Many are on 5,000 square foot lots. I frankly was surprised to learn that, recently myself. Plus, the Zeka Ranch project, on the old Higgins Ranch property, on the west side of The Ranch project, includes home lots from 8,000 square feet up to 2 acres in size. So, there will be that option for those who want and can afford that size of lot.

Parks & Police Fees

Two more positives from the development are the park fee all the new homes will pay, which will help to complete the 115-acre Prewett Park, finishing the unimproved area between Deer Valley Road and the parking lot. The homes will also be assessed an annual police fee – the first one in the city’s history – to help provide additional police services.

It Is To Stop The New Homes

Some initiative supporters say it’s not no-growth or to stop the homes from being built, but that it’s just allowing the people to have a vote. But, they know the reality is, the voters will oppose any new subdivision brought up for a vote. Besides, why do we elect city council members who are empowered to represent us and make those decisions on our behalf if we’re just going to put each individual development project on the ballot?

At a time the state and Bay Area are facing a housing shortage, efforts to stop long-planned homes in voter approved areas for new home subdivisions is irresponsible, contributing to the high-cost of housing, as well as homelessness.

There’s a saying that the new home for the pinks and reds, the socialists and communists, is the greens. It’s acceptable to be an environmentalist, but not a communist. Although, these days, without truly understanding the implications of the philosophy, many think it’s acceptable to be a socialist.

The environmental leaders behind the initiative and some of their supporters are basically wanting us to be like a communist country with all future generations living in high-density apartment and condominium complexes. What’s the difference between their thinking and that of the central planning of the soviets and the results they, North Korea and Cuba have produced for their people?

Not everyone wants to live in that type of housing.

The initiative supporters’ map of the projects already approved, proposed on the east side of Deer Valley Road, and The Ranch and Zeka Ranch projects they’re working to stop. This map doesn’t show the Sand Creek Road crossing the area and connecting to the end of Dallas Ranch Road, and future extensions of Hillcrest Avenue and Heidorn Ranch Road.

Why Do I Care So Much?

People wonder why I care about approving the new growth area so much. It’s for two reasons, the first one is for the benefit of Antioch and the second one is a bit self-serving.

First, I want to see Antioch succeed as a city with the needed, local, well-paying jobs, city services and a safe community.

I grew up part of my life and graduated from high school in Walnut Creek. I’ve seen the positive side of the upscale housing and local job centers that came to both Walnut Creek and Concord, as well as the San Ramon Valley, as a result. In fact, I worked for a small developer that built the first $300,000 home subdivision in Concord. Antioch needs to have what those and other cities, like our neighbor Brentwood, as well as those in the San Ramon Valley have – namely upscale homes, and in gated and senior communities, on larger lots and view lots, which will attract jobs and money to our city. No, the jobs haven’t yet come to Brentwood. But, they will with the extension of BART to Antioch, and the zoning of the land along Highway 4.

Business owners and executives want to live close to their businesses, in nice, larger homes and usually on larger lots. The long-planned Sand Creek area accommodates those desires, especially the proposed homes west of Deer Valley Road.

Plus, seniors don’t impact commute or school traffic, and they stay in town during the day, shopping at our stores and eating at our restaurants, helping them be successful, and generating more sales tax revenue, which pays for more city services, with police being number one for our public safety.

Second – and this is the self-serving reason –  I and others I’ve spoken with, would like to continue to live in Antioch as we get older, and preferably in a nice, senior community, and not have to move to Brentwood, Rio Vista or elsewhere to accomplish that. The Ranch project includes an “active adult” community in their plans and will help provide that type of housing for our own, aging population, and maybe even me, by the time it’s built.

Let’s Have All Types of Housing

I do support other types of housing, including Transit Oriented Development (TOD) which makes sense and is one of the businesses I’m in. But, again we as Americans want choices and options, and that goes for housing, as well. Many of us also want space between ourselves and the next resident if we can afford it. So, let’s approve all types of housing. The council just approved the first TOD project, near the Antioch BART Station which is great. But, what we don’t have in our housing mix right now is the upscale, gated and senior housing. That’s what the Sand Creek area provides.

Honesty and Information

Here’s the bottom line. If the people want to put an initiative on the ballot to vote to stop more homes from being built, that’s their right. But, the leaders and supporters need to be honest in what they’re telling people to get them to sign their petitions. Plus, the voters of Antioch need to be fully informed before merely signing or worse, voting for, something that sounds alarming, but in fact really isn’t. My encouragement is that you don’t sign the petition, recognize that now is the time to move forward with these long-held plans, and support the efforts to help Antioch become the complete, successful city it can be.

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One Comment to “Payton Perspective: No growth initiative backers being dishonest, for the sake of Antioch’s future please don’t sign”

  1. Thomas McNell says:


    I signed the initiative, not because I am for or against the development, but because I believe the voters should have the right to decide.

    I was a proponent of Measure K with a high end golf course with executive housing at Roddy Ranch but that is now gone. I also sat through years of FUA-1 planning meetings with other residents to fight for a 100 acre business park.That business park area was recently rezoned for some of the already approved housing that you site in your article. I can not express how disappointed I was with that decision. Antioch has seen bait and switch too many times.

    Where is the Bishop Ranch or Shadelands that will provide jobs and help alleviate the congestion on Highway 4? We need commercial development more than homes.

    If developers promote good well rounded projects where people can live and work in the same community I am sure the voters will approve. If not, the voters most likely will disapprove.

    Let’s see great projects we can approve. But if significant changes are made as has been the case in the past I believe those approvals should be voided.

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