Archive for March, 2021

Contra Costa to enter Orange Tier April 7, Supervisors extend protections for commercial tenants until June 30, accept rental housing grant

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

Will allow indoor worship services, indoor dining and movie theaters at 50% capacity, gyms at 25%

Sheriff: Jail Population Down 27% Due to COVID-19

By Daniel Borsuk

During their meeting on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors were given good news from the county’s health officer about COVID-19 restrictions, accepted a federal grant to assist residential tenants and extended protections for commercial tenants through June 30.

County to Enter Orange Tier on April 7

Contra Costa County Public Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano told supervisors that by April 7 the county should move from the Red Tier to the less restrictive Orange Tier as the county’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate begins to decline.  Dr. Farnitano said the county’s current hospitalization rate 5.8 percent per 100 persons is too high and must get to a 4.2 percent hospitalization rate.

When the county goes from Red to Orange Tiers, indoor worship services, indoor dining and movie theaters can increase from 25 to 50 percent capacity, and gyms can increase from 10 to 25 percent capacity with modifications.

Dr. Farnitano said that cutting the distance for student desks in classrooms from six feet to three feet “will provide additional flexibility for school districts to bring back students safely.”

Accept Federal Rental Housing Grant  

Supervisors unanimously approved a $514,445 Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program grant that will assist households with up to 80 percent Area Medium Income with a priority for those up to 50 percent AMI with a funding focused to ensure rental arrears are addressed to stabilize households and prevent evictions.

The program will be administered by three non-profit housing organizations – RYSE Center, which convenes the more than 200 member West County COVID Community Care Coalition, the Family Justice Center that covers Concord. Pleasant Hill. Martinez, and the East Contra Costa Community Care Alliance.

Protections for Commercial Tenants Extended Through June 30

Supervisors unanimously approved Urgency Ordinance No. 2021-11 to continue the temporary prohibition on evictions of certain small-business commercial tenants financially impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic. This protection now continues through June 30, 2021.  Protections for residential tenants were unchanged by the urgency ordinance and last through June 30, 2021.

“As we make progress together toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses in our community are still struggling and need help,” said Board Chair Dianne Burgis of Brentwood. “Today’s board action will extend that helping hand for small businesses even as we continue to help eligible renters and landlords during this time. Let us continue to work together to find resources and ways to move forward.”

The ordinance also bars landlords from charging late fees to small business and non-profit tenants, and extends to August 31, 2021, the grace period to pay back rent.

Sheriff ‘s Office Responds to Public Protection Committee/Racial Protection Committee Questions: Jail Population Down 27% Due to COVID-19

In a consent action, supervisors approved a Public Protection Committee report where the Sheriff’s Office and Health Services responded to questions about the treatment of inmates in jail facilities.   It marks the first time the Sheriff’s Office has responded to questions emanating from the committee with input from the Board of Supervisors’ Racial Justice Oversight Body.

Main Conclusion:  due to the COVID- 19 pandemic, jail population is down 27 percent.

In a Feb. 18 report to the Public Protection Committee, Assistant Sheriff Steve Simpkins reported as of Jan. 15, 2021, “We have released 1,574 arrestees who were eligible for $0 bail. This information was to comply with a request on information about how many inmates were detained because they cannot afford cash bail.”

The Sheriff’s report stated, “In January and February 2020 (pre COVID-19) the Sheriff’s Office received an average of 1,753 arrestees being booked at the Martinez Detention Facility. The monthly average of arrestees booked between March 1 2020 and December 31, 2020 (during pandemic) is 946, a drop of nearly 50%.” the report said.

“The average daily inmate population in February 2020 (pre COVID-19) of all physical facilities combined was 1,093.  The average daily inmate population in December 2020 (during pandemic) of all physical facilities was 795. That is a 27 percent sustained reduction in the average daily inmate population.  This morning’s population was 715 (1/22/2021).”

“Seventy Sheriff’s Office employees from the Custody Services Bureau have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  All have recovered,” the report said, “and are back to work except for the most recent three who ae out for quarantine.”

 

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Enjoy the Rivertown Easter Egg-stravaganza! Saturday, April 3

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

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Most Antioch students will continue distance learning until end of school year, 50 learning centers for in person learning to open in April

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

The Antioch School Board members and district staff met on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Trustee Mary Rocha was not online, but participated by phone, again. Video screenshot.

Program qualifies for district to receive state funds for school reopening of over $4.5 million

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Wed., March 24, 2021 the Antioch School Board approved staff proposals that most district students would continue in distance learning for the remainder of the school year. Specifically, the board approved remaining in distance learning for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, opening 50+ learning centers across the District for students who would benefit from a classroom environment, providing an in-person learning option for students with disabilities in grades K-5 who attend Special Day Classrooms, and providing an in-person learning option for students with disabilities in the Community Based Instruction program.

The district staff report reads:

“Throughout the pandemic, our core values have remained the same:

To open schools for in-person learning in a manner that is safe, is the least disruptive to families, and provides the most instructional time as possible.

At this time, the majority of parents surveyed would like to continue in distance learning through the end of the school year. However, we also recognize that some families would like their children to be in a school environment. To meet as many of our families’ needs as possible while staying true to the core values stated above, staff is recommending the following:

Remain in distance learning for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.

Open 50+ learning centers across the District for students who would benefit from a classroom environment.

Provide an in-person learning option for students with disabilities in grades K-5 who attend Special Day Classrooms.

Provide an in-person learning option for students with disabilities in the Community Based Instruction program.”

Superintendent Stephanie Anello said “as you may be aware, we did a survey of parents, last week…it remained steady at 10,000 votes, 60% of parents wanted to remain at distance learning, because of the enormous disruption of dropping off students at 8 am then picking them up at 11 a.m.”

Associate Superintendent of Educational Services, Christine Ibarra spoke of “many hours and sleepless nights” developing the proposed plan.

“The health guidelines are constantly changing,” she continued.

“Many of our schools will have large screen TV’s that will take a picture of groups of students to determine if any has a temperature,” Anello interjected.

“We are grounding our decisions and our recommendation in what our values are,” Ibarra stated. “That’s with the least disruption” to families. “The majority of our parents prefer distance learning at this time.”

Learning Centers

Ibarra shared that each school would have multiple learning centers and the district will reach out to those parents who prefer in-person learning for their students. They will open April 19 for K-6 and on April 26 for grades 7-12.

“Students will be wearing masks at all times,” she continued. “We will be taking temperatures. Appropriate social distancing of desks will be followed.”

Asked how many hours the learning centers will be open, Anello responded, “We still have to negotiate that with the teachers.”

About 50 public comments were then read, which lasted for over two hours, with most from district staff members in favor of Anello’s recommendations.

Board members then gave their input.

Trustee Gary Hack said, “I do have some thoughts to share. One is I trust the current leadership at this district. I trust the employees of the district…who make their best efforts to educate and keep safe those 17,000 students. I trust the surveys and the feedback. Most of the surveys showed 60% to 70%…support distance learning. I don’t believe COVID-19 is history, yet.”

Trustee Antonio Hernandez asked, “does this plan qualify for some of the money set aside for school districts to open?”

“I have run this plan by school services of California and we have been assured it does…because we are bringing students back,” said Assistant Superintendent Jessica Romeo. “The money begins when school returns on April 1st. There are nine days of instruction that we will not receive. So, we will receive about 91% of the $5 million.”

“Do we know what summer and fall will look like?” he asked.

“We’ve been taking this pandemic one day at a time,” Anello responded. “We expect to have programs during the summer. Whether or not they’ll be in person we’ll have to decide.”

Hernandez asked about the survey responses. Anello said they were in line with attendance, but slightly over the average for the parents of Hispanic and white students and below average for Black students.

“We’re not going to be able to make everyone happy,” he said. “Everyone’s going to be upset no matter what the decision.”

“To say I’ve been thinking about this, a lot would be an understatement,” Board President Ellie Householder said. “No matter what we do there are going to be some people who will be unhappy. This has been very difficult. This is probably the most consequential vote that I will make in my life here at the school district. I’ve really made myself sick…worrying about this. I’m the first person to be critical of some of our programming overall. I say that to say I think this is the best plan we could have come up with. The hybrid model just wouldn’t work for folks. We live in a commuter city. It is a difficult plan. It is truly tailored to our community. I thought it was cool how you came up with this model with learning centers.”

“It all came back to keeping people safe…and asking for out of the box thinking,” Anello responded. “It was a group effort. Credit has to go to Ms. Romeo for proposing the idea.”

“We tried to come up with a plan that would meet the needs of the 60%,” Romeo then said.

“The playbook is out the window,” Householder said, referring to the plan as “in between distance learning and a hybrid model.”

“This is an elegant solution to a messy problem,” she concluded.

Trustee Dr. Clyde Lewis spoke next thanking the staff. “Making these decisions that have the impact on our students, on our community…is not easy. I want to appreciate as a parent the concerns that are still there.”

“The decisions we’re going to make, tonight they’re not easy,” he continued.

“From the plan that we have…the parents who want to stay in distance learning have that option?” Lewis asked.

“The PODS are specifically for

“The learning centers are not. Those are separate. Those are additional,” Anello responded. “They will be in a supervised setting, but they will be logging in with their teachers.”

He then asked about time and hours.

“It will depend on the amount of students at each school,” Romeo responded. “The more learning centers we can open, we will expand as there is a need to expand.”

“For those students who come to class without materials, will the school district be given materials?” Lewis asked.

“Yes,” Ibarra responded.

“I want to highlight. I know there’s going to be some blowback no matter which side we decide to sit on,” he shared. “This is an opportunity if you are unhappy to engage in dialogue to find out how these decisions were made.”

Trustee Mary Rocha asked, “will the learning centers be a lot of age difference?”

“We wouldn’t put high school kids with younger students,” Anello responded.

The number of learning centers at each school will differ based on the interest.

“It depends on the amount of students, is that it?” Rocha asked. “Yes,” Anello said. “It could be that you fill it up with all first graders because that is the interest.”

“At least we’re giving the parents the opportunity which way they want to go,” Rocha stated. “At least we’re given that child the opportunity to get some help with a para-professional.”

“What is happening with the band, the music and choral?” Rocha asked.

“As of Monday, band performances are allowed at sporting events,” Anello responded.

“If you’re going to get mad at somebody don’t get mad at the teachers,” Householder said. “But it’s the board’s decision, tonight. I’ve really felt like part of a team, even though I’m board president, I really feel part of a team.”

“I encourage you, if you have a disagreement engage in dialogue,” Lewis reiterated. “It’s about what’s best for the kiddos.”

Rocha then made a motion to approve the recommendation by the superintendent for the Fourth Quarter learning. Hack seconded the motion and it passed 5-0.

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Antioch July 4th fireworks returns to Rivertown this year, fundraising underway

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

The annual Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks in Antioch will return to historic, downtown Rivertown, this year with the show being shot from a barge on the river. Organized by Celebrate Antioch Foundation (CAF) and Rivertown merchants, fundraising has begun, and you can be part of making it a reality. Costs will be close to $60,000 and your help is needed. Following is the fundraising letter from CAF:

Dear Friends,

We at the Celebrate Antioch Foundation hope you are staying safe and well and that you, your businesses, friends and family are weathering these most extraordinary and difficult times. Last year, at this time, we were preparing for a full year of celebrations for our Antioch community that included our annual events such as the May Art and Wine Walk, our September Peddlers Faire, our Fall BBQ Cook Off and Beer Crawl, our Christmas Holiday Parade and of course, our signature event, our 4th of July Fireworks and celebration. As we all know, COVID-19 had other plans and we were unable to hold any of our events in 2020. Although we are not out of the woods yet on the pandemic, we hope you see, as we do, that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we can carefully plan for events for 2021. We also know that all planning must take into consideration enhanced Covid-19 safety measures and protocols for all events so when the County health Department allows us to open for events, we will be able to move forward expeditiously.

Our all-volunteer foundation believes that as vaccine distribution continues to expand and are looking at most of the adult population to be vaccinated by May 2021 that our community and families are now more than ever, in need of reasons to celebrate. Bringing vibrancy and celebration to our community has been our mission for over 10 years and we are committed to continuing this legacy.

Our fundraising this year and our request to you for sponsorship and support is specifically for our 2021 4th of July Fireworks celebration. We are ecstatic to be bringing our annual 4th of July Fireworks back to downtown Antioch with what we believe is one of the best pyrotechnics shows in the Bay Area. And with the City of Antioch’s upcoming 150th (Sesquicentennial) anniversary on July 4th, 2022, we cannot think of a better way to kick off a year of celebration for one of the oldest cities in California. We hope to include in this year’s 4th of July celebration our annual parade, live music, and a huge car show, depending on COVID-19 restrictions. Although restrictions may not allow us to include all of these usual amenities of our celebration, we are confident that restrictions, if any, will still allow for a socially distanced Fireworks show over the river that can be enjoyed by our Antioch families and east county residents.

Costs for our Fireworks Spectacular will be close to $60,000. Although we have a reserve in our Foundation, we will not be able to bring this celebration to our community without support. We are immensely proud of our 10-year history in bringing safe and family friendly celebrations to our residents and families. We know that these types of events promote a healthy quality of life, economic vibrancy and community pride. We hope you will join with us by donating for our 4th of July celebration as we look to recover, rebuild and celebrate our great community.

We have attached our sponsor’s levels information for you to review. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. We are a nonprofit 501c3 organization and your sponsorship may be tax deductible. We look forward to your support and participation in another great Antioch 4th of July. 2021 Antioch July 4th Sponsorship Levels

Yours in Service,

Joy Motts

President, Celebrate Antioch Foundation

To make a donation please visit www.celebrateantioch.org or make your check payable to: Celebrate Antioch Foundation ID# 46-1820212. Mailing Address: P.O. Box 121, Antioch, CA 94509.

For more information contact Joy Motts at (925) 813-0036 or Michael Gabrielson at (925) 642-7031.

 

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Antioch Council votes to pursue mental health response team to respond to crises instead of sending police

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

Antioch City Council members and staff participate in the regular meeting on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Video screenshot.

Leaves open option to be pilot city for county’s new program

“Deep down in my heart I think Mr. Quinto would still be with us if we had something like this in our community,” Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson.

By Allen Payton

A request for proposal (RFP) to hire a consultant to design a model for a mental health crisis response team, to be sent out on certain calls instead of police officers, was approved on a 5-0 vote by the Antioch City Council during their meeting on Tuesday night, March 23, 2021. It’s part of the mayor’s police reform proposals at the urging of Mayor Pro Tem and District 4 Councilwoman Monica Monica Wilson.

All the public comments were in favor of the city pursuing a team.

“I did have a conversation with someone, today. It was in the context of the CAHOOTS model,” said District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker. “I want to say I agree with a process that includes residents who have lived an experience. I’d also like to consider that we have something that is specific to our city, but how we also draw down resources from the county. Some kind of way the CORE program is involved. But not enough. So, we need to do something. If we’re asking for oversight and transparency of the police department, we wouldn’t move forward on a process that doesn’t include that for a mental health response program.”

“I haven’t seen a mental health response program that doesn’t include a police involvement…that they at some point they don’t call law enforcement in,” Torres-Walker stated. “We have to decide what those triggers are. There are some things that our law enforcement department should not respond to.”

“One of the things I didn’t like about the county model, it just focuses on mental health,” she continued. “A person could use substances for so long that they develop mental health issues or have mental issues that they use.”

“There are some models where you can work with fire…which we do not have in this city which is unfortunate,” Torres-Walker added.

“This has been a long-time coming,” Wilson said. “With mental health in particular with deregulation and funding being taken away…and now, all they can call is our police department. Yes, CAHOOTS is the first organization I reached out to in pursuit of multiple models. Definitely I want something that’s going to be 24 hours that deals with mental health and drug addiction.”

“Yes, I believe the community should be involved in the input into what is unique to the City of Antioch,” she continued. “I would just really like the city manager to move forward to prepare an RFP so we can work with a consultant. I’m definitely very excited.”

“Deep down in my heart I think Mr. Quinto would still be with us if we had something like this in our community,” Wilson concluded.

“I definitely support some kind of response team…someone with the training who can step in,” District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica stated. “My only concern is we’re hiring another consultant on the eve of the county program being implemented in 90 days…and they’re looking for a pilot city. I’d love to be the pilot city.”

“I’m not sure about hiring a consultant…who would go outside and look for a resource,” District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock said. “A 5150 or a 5185 they’re going to have to go to county. I think that because of the county’s program coming up in a short period of time, we could throw our hat in…we are the second largest city in the county.”

“Concord is doing a 2-11 CORE team…with the county, something like a mental health crisis team,” she continued. “If we want to jump in and get something started…we can work to be the trial city.”

“As we learned from homeless, we’re better off designing our own,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe said. “I heard nothing but county. I think their process is going to be much longer.”

“I also want to look at the cost. The CAHOOTS model is $2 million,” Ogorchock said. “I don’t think the county would have that same issue.”

“A vote on this isn’t saying we don’t want a program, it’s just saying we want a consultant?” Barbanica asked.

“I think it would bring in some estimates,” Thorpe responded.

“So, if we say yes to getting a consultant, it’s going to take a while,” Ogorchock said. “I would ask that we not stop pursuing the county option.”

“It could be both, and. The county is supposed to provide these services to our community, anyways,” Torres-Walker said. “I do think it could be a both, and, and we should discuss what that would look like.”

“I don’t want us to have amnesia. The reason we’re talking about providing homeless services, is because the county is not providing it,” Thorpe said. “I see the limited staff that they have…there is no infrastructure out here.”

“Going this route does not eliminate the county,” Wilson stated.

“When we’re under resourcing it’s a recipe for disaster,” Thorpe said.

“I’m glad that Mayor Pro Tem Wilson and Councilwoman Torres-Walker agree that we can do both,” Ogorchock said.

The motion by Torres-Walker, seconded by Wilson to direct staff to develop a request for proposal to hire a consultant to develop a plan for a crisis response team passed on a 5-0 vote.

 

 

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Antioch Council bans future acquisition of surplus military equipment on 4-1 vote

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

Including safety and other free equipment the Pentagon no longer needs

“The chief hasn’t gone out and ordered a bunch of weapons. These are safety items for our officers,” – Councilman Barbanica

Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks rides in his department’s MRAP vehicle during Antioch’s 2017 Holiday DeLites Parade.

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday night, March 23, as part of the mayor’s police reform efforts, immediately following public comments that were mixed on the matter, with some in support and others opposed, District 1 Antioch Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker made a motion to “ban the acceptance and or acquisition of surplus military equipment in the future.” Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson seconded the motion. It does not prevent the Antioch Police Department from using the equipment it already has, including the MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle.

District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica spoke against the motion saying, “in our city in the last 12 months we’ve taken over 400 guns off the streets. We’re taking over a gun a day off the streets of our city. This equipment is free to our city. The government doesn’t allow us to sell it. The chief has reached out through this program. We’ve talked about the rescue vehicle. But other things, a robot that can deliver a phone when there’s a hostage situation or someone is in mental crisis, instead of sending in an officer.”

“Some sights for patrol rifles that we didn’t have to go out and buy, for free,” he continued. “First aid kits. The chief hasn’t gone out and ordered a bunch of weapons. These are safety items for our officers…to keep our community safe, as well.”

“I think this is a mistake,” Barbanica concluded.

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock asked, “my only request is, can’t we do this on a case-by-base basis and not say ‘none’? It’s got to come before council and if the council decides, we can just say ‘no’.”

“The last time we had this conversation, it was my understanding we had very little military grade equipment,” said Torres-Walker. “This says, ‘in the future.’ Some of us remember the militarization of police happened on the heels of the war on drugs. And we had the theft of property. It has negatively impacted people of color, especially Black people.

“If we’re doing our jobs well, we won’t need military equipment,” she continued. “Most of these people acquire these weapons by breaking in your home and stealing your stockpile of weapons.”

“Stop tinkering around the edges,” Torres-Walker added.

“For the record, I don’t believe our police department…you don’t get trained to use military equipment,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe said. “Military equipment is not the standard across our nation. Those are unusual aspects of policing. We’re choosing not to move in that direction anymore. I trust our police officers to do their jobs and not need military equipment to do them.”

The motion passed on a 4-1 vote with Ogorchock voting yes, after a bit of a hesitation, to ban “the City’s future procurement of surplus military equipment by transfer or acquisition.” Barbanica cast the sole vote against the motion.

Federal Program

The U.S. Defense Logistics Agency’s 1033 program allows the Pentagon to give extra military equipment to local police departments across the United States. It’s part of their mission of disposing obsolete and unneeded excess property turned in by U.S. military units around the world. The type of property ranges from military-specific equipment and vehicles to generic office furniture, computers, medical items, and shop equipment. DLA Disposition Services disposes of this property in a variety of ways, including reutilization or transfer to other military components or federal agencies, donating through programs like computers for schools, destruction for scrap metal and resale to the general public.

In the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal years 1990 and 1991, Congress authorized the transfer of excess DoD property to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Congress later passed the NDAA for fiscal year 1997, which allows law enforcement agencies to acquire property for bona fide law enforcement purposes – particularly those associated with counter-drug and counter-terrorism activities. The program has been named the “1033 Program,” which refers to the numbered section of the 1997 NDAA that granted permanent authority to the Secretary of Defense to transfer defense material to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

A bill introduced by Congressman Hank Johnson will “prevent transfers of equipment inappropriate for local policing, such as military weapons, long-range acoustic devices, grenade launchers, weaponized drones, armored military vehicles, and grenades or similar explosives.” But the bill faces an uphill battle for passage in the Senate.

According to a report on The Hill, “former President Obama curtailed the 1033 program in 2015 after local police suppressed protests in Ferguson, MO, using military-grade equipment. But the Trump administration rescinded the restrictions in 2017. President Biden has been expected to issue an executive order reimposing limits on the program.”

Antioch will no longer be allowed to receive any of the surplus equipment.

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Council unanimously approves Antioch’s second gated new home community

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

Site map for Creekside at Sand Creek project ACC032321.

220-home development on east end of Sand Creek area south of creek

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday night, March 23, 2021 the Antioch City Council unanimously approved a new, 220-unit, single family home subdivision in the Sand Creek Focus Area known as Creekside at Sand Creek. It will be the city’s second gated home community and located immediately south of the Vineyards at Sand Creek new home project, along the city’s eastern boundary with Brentwood. It’s the second phase of the land development project by GBN Partners. The first gated community is the Cielo new home project on the north side of Sand Creek.

The council also approved final maps for both the 641-unit Vineyards at Sand Creek project and 641-unit Aviano Farms project on 5-0 votes. The actions confirmed acceptance of all the improvements required and that the developers have fulfilled all the conditions when the projects were approved in 2016.

Creekside at Sand Creek location map.

Creekside at Sand Creek

Antioch city staff presented the details of the 158-acre project, sharing that the proposed residential units would consist of either non-age restricted units, senior/active adult units, or a combination of both, at the discretion of the developer. The project improvements would include parks, trails, landscaping, and traffic circulation improvements. The remainder of the site, including Sand Creek and the associated buffer area, would be retained as open space.

The project required the approval of a General Plan text and map amendment to the Sand Creek Focus Area to change the land use designations of the site from Open Space/Senior Housing and Hillside, Estate and Executive Residential/Open Space to Medium Low Density Residential/Open Space. In addition, the text of the General Plan is being modified to allow single family units on small lots that are not age-restricted.

Finally, the project will include the construction of a bridge over Sand Creek to connect to and extend Hillcrest Avenue.

Matt Beinke of Blackhawk Services Company and GBN Partners, LLC, made the owner’s presentation on the project.

“It’s been several years in the making dating back to the Vineyards at Sand Creek. It’s always been envisioned as an extension and a phase of that community,” he stated.

“Non-age restricted. It’s a gated community. There are no impacts on Antioch schools. This is in the Brentwood schools,” Beinke stated. “It will build out infrastructure. This has a PLA (project labor agreement) on it so it will be a union construction project.”

There was no opponent to speak during the public hearing.

There were six written comments, all in support.

“One prevailing issue…is the need for more affordable housing. You have the ability to address this tonight,” wrote former Antioch Mayor Don Freitas.

Another was by Derek Cole, an electrical workers union member, asking the council to support the project for the jobs it will create.

Thomas Lawson called in and said he was the business manager of a construction union, speaking in favor of the jobs and apprenticeship program, saying it will bring “union jobs, infrastructure and tax revenue to the City of Antioch.”

“How many local jobs will this bring into our community?” asked District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica.

“This is going to go on, the field work for a year, and the buildout for five years. The vertical construction, the jobs…it’s in the 100’s,” Beinke responded.

“I’m not excited about the small lots,” Barbanica added.

“I’ll add…one of my first meetings as a new elected council member, then-Mayor Sean Wright and I want out to this property,” Thorpe said. “Mr. Beinke presented the concept.”

District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker said, “it would have been nice to see the project labor agreement part of it to understand and what number of those jobs will be local. When we say hire local, union it’s my understanding this won’t guarantee Antioch residents will be hired.”

“Staff doesn’t usually address the issue of project labor agreements. That’s outside of our scope,” said Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs. “We know council likes to have that from the proponent.”

“Likewise, in our presentation, because our time is limited…we don’t have them (union partners) specifically as part of the presentation team,” Beinke explained. “The apprenticeship part of this is huge.”

“I just think that for myself it would be good to understand, you know, good jobs. Who wouldn’t want that?” Torres-Walker asked. “How many would be those coming from outside of our community?”

“I’m excited about this project,” she concluded.

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock then made the motions to approve the project, including a General Plan Amendment and they each passed on 5-0 votes.

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Antioch council approves new car wash on Lone Tree Way

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

Rendering of the future Ducky’s Car Wash approved by council for Lone Tree Way in Antioch on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. From owner’s presentation.

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday night, the Antioch City Council approved Ducky’s Car Wash on Lone Tree Way near the intersection of Country Hills Drive and Mokelumne Drive on 5-0 votes. Ducky’s Car Wash ACC032321

Richard Miller, the owner, said, “We are bringing forth a project that we think will be very positive for the citizens of Antioch. I am a family-owned business. We have nine other car washes and this will be our tenth.”

He also owns one in Brentwood at the corner of Balfour Road and Brentwood Blvd.

“We had a prior approval and then the great recession hit that caused everyone to pause. But now we have a very clear path to constructing this project,” Miller continued. “It’s a real sleek and heavily landscaped corner.”

“We use the most environmentally conscious processes,” he shared, and said that they participate in the community with fundraisers.

There was no opponent nor any public comments on the matter.

The green area will be the location of the future Ducky’s Car Wash in Antioch.

District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica asked about how the number of jobs and local hire.

“100% local. We will only hire local,” Miller responded. “The staffing requirements will vary, from between five and seven. We’re rally giving people their first jobs. It’s not a big number. But you can imagine there’s a big turnover. So, we’ll employ about 20 per year.”

“I love the concept, here. The color and the sleek design,” said District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock. “I hope we have more out of the box designs like this one, here. This type of business will bring a lot of recognition because it’s so different. I’ve gone to the Ducky’s in Brentwood because it’s right next to the bowling alley.”

She asked if the same concept could be applied to the Antioch location.

“It’s actually an express car wash,” Miller explained. “What you’re asking about in Brentwood, is a flex serve. This model is for those who want a fast, clean car wash in three minutes. This is not your self-serve car wash. No. We clean your car, we dry it then you go into the vacuum lanes. You have that option. What you’re asking me…is whether or not we can provide an additional service. It’s really a customer-generated response. We’ve seen demand in Brentwood for that and we may see the demand for that in Antioch. If so, we will offer that.”

“That’s not an expectation we should have, now,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe said.

“We are going to be totally responsive to what the public needs,” Miller added. “We have the flexibility in our business model to respond to the customer, because that’s what we do.”

The council approved the motions by Barbanica and Ogorchock for both the California Environmental Quality Act requirements and final development plan on 5-0 votes.

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