Archive for the ‘Growth & Development’ Category

Supervisors aim for all electric, no natural gas for new houses by 2026

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

Could add more than $2,200 to cost of a home; revise nepotism policy

NOTE: This article was inadvertently overlooked due to the publisher being sick at the time it was submitted. However, the information is still timely. Apologies for the delay in publishing it.

————————

By Daniel Borsuk

Will all new houses built in Contra Costa County feature all solar powered electric appliances and lights with no natural gas by Jan. 1 2026?

That’s the game plan of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors who, on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, instructed the county’s Department of Conservation and Development (CCCDCD) to draft an ordinance that would require home builders to construct residential buildings with all electric powered appliances. (See Subcommittee Report and staff presentation)

Just when CCCDCD will have an ordinance ready for supervisors to consider is up in the air, but the supervisors’ action demonstrates their keen interest in environmental issues. Should the supervisors eventually pass an ordinance calling for all solar powered, electric new housing, natural gas-powered water heaters, heaters, stoves and clothes dryers will be taboo.  From then on, everything will be solar powered. (See Cost-effectiveness Study)

Supervisors expect the proposed ordinance will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2026. (See Ad Hoc Committee on Sustainability Committee’s recommended Building Electrification Ordinance for New Construction)

Just when planning officials will have an ordinance prepared for supervisors to review and act on is up in the air, but Area 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville raised questions about the cost effectiveness of such a proposed ordinance.

“I have serious reservations about the California Energy Commission’s recommendations to replace natural gas with all electric powered homes,” said Andersen. “We need better cost analysis.  There are some estimates going around that all-electric could add $2,000 to the cost of a house.”

Andersen cast the one dissenting vote in instructing CCCCDP officials to draft an all-electric new residential ordinance.

Lisa Vonderbrueggen of the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area also cautioned supervisors about the genuine costs associated with electric powered versus natural gas-powered houses. She said a California Building Industry Association study found that an all-electric home is $421 less expensive to build, including the cost of appliance, “but estimates from homebuilders show increased costs of more than $2,200 per home.”

Vorderbrueggen wrote: “Will California’s aging electric grid hold up under an all-electricity design.  The state is already anticipating major demand increases from electric vehicle charging needs.”

While a letter from PG&E supporting the county’s move to promote all solar-powered electric homes generated scant interest from the general public, District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond said,“I appreciate PG&E’s statement and it has provided in-depth analysis. But I am very hesitant to move forward on it.”

“Do everything you can do to eliminate gas,” pleaded Richmond City Councilmember Eduardo Martinez. “I liken natural gas to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“We need to act quickly,” said Lisa Jackson, an environmentalist.  “We cannot wait for the state to act. PG&E even supports this.  Let’s move forward to eliminate this potential safety hazard.”

Before casting his vote, District 1 Supervisor Gioia, who drives an electric-powered car said: “It’s all about full electrification as our main source of power.”

Nepotism Policy Revised

After not updating its nepotism policy since 2011, supervisors took the plunge and loosened its the rules on appointments on boards, committees and commissions for which the board of supervisors is the appointing body.

Supervisors voted 4-1, with supervisor Gioia casting the dissenting vote, brother-in-law and sister-in-law from the prohibited relationship list.

The revised policy now states:

“A person will not be eligible for appointment if he/she is related to a Board of Supervisors’ Member in any of the following relationships:

  1. Mother, father, son, and daughter.
  2. Brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, grandson, and granddaughter.
  3. Husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepson, and stepdaughter.
  4. Registered domestic partner, pursuant to California Family Code section 297.
  5. The relatives, as defined in 1 and 2 above, for a registered domestic partner.
  6. Any person with whom a Board Member shares a financial interest as defined in the Political Reform Act  (Gov’t Code 87103, Financial Interest), such as a business partner or business associate.”

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Supervisors approve two home developments, one outside the Urban Limit Line

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

Tassajara Parks General Plan Amendment land use maps. From presentation.

Tassajara Parks in the San Ramon Valley and Pantages in Discovery Bay will add 417 single family homes in Supervisorial District 3 with support of environmental groups

Approve Ameresco Renewable Natural Gas Processing Facility and Pipeline at Keller Canyon Landfill

Flash green light for further study moving Byron boys ranch to former Martinez Juvenile Hall

Tassajara Valley vicinity map. From presentation.

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors worked on solving the county’s complex housing shortage during their meeting on Tuesday by approving two major housing developments, the 277-single family housing unit Pantages residential project in Discovery Bay and the controversial 125-housing unit Tassajara Parks residential project near San Ramon, both in District 3, board chair Diane Burgis’ turf.

The more controversial Tassajara Parks Residential Project drew the support of major environmental groups like Green Belt Alliance, Save Mt. Diablo and East Bay Regional Parks District mainly because the developer’s moved to do a “fee simple transfer “of 727 acres of land to the East Bay Regional Park District.

“This fee simple conveyance to the EBRPD will ensure that the Dedication Area is protected and preserved in perpetuity for the following non-urban uses only: agriculture, open space, parks, recreation, scenic uses, wetland preservation and creation, and habitat mitigation,” the supervisors’ background information states.

Save Mt. Diablo Land Conservation Director Seth Adams called the land transfer “a great trade off” and will go a long way in the preservation of wildlife, especially raptors and eagles.

“It’s a 30-acre adjustment to the Urban Limit Line which is allowed by a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors based on at least one of seven findings,” Adams shared with the Herald. “Here it was the creation of an ag preserve by two more agencies.”

The Danville city council opposed the project contending the open space trade offer was inadequate especially when California is in a drought. “The city council felt that the scope and magnitude of the project with 125 homes in exchange of open space was insufficient.  The city council did not feel it was worth the trade off, “said City of Danville Manager Joe Calabrigo.

The approved Tassajara Parks Urban Limit Line realignment. From presentation.

District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen of San Ramon, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said she was concerned any action by the supervisors would require approval of the voters to adjust the urban limit line.

“I know we need the right mix of housing,” said Andersen. “If we move the urban limit line, that is up to the voters.  I have strong reservations about the environmental impact report.  Then there is no source of water for this project.”

Before supervisors approved the Tassajara Project on a 4-1 vote, District 1 Supervisor John Gioia successfully added to the board’s resolution several conditions, one that included that the developer must install solar panels and EV charging stations inside the garage or carport.  In addition, he added the installation of high efficiency appliances and insulation to zero net energy and to meet the standards to be solar-ready as defined by the California Building Standards.

The developer agreed to Gioia’s additions to the project’s resolution of approval.

Pantages Bays site map. From presentation.

The Tassajara Parks project also garnered support from parents of Tassajara Hills Elementary School parents who were pleased the developer plans to make safety corrections to the school’s parking lot. The school is immediately west of the project’s northern side.

Pantages Bays General Plan Amendment maps. From presentation.

Dave Rehnstrom, EBMUD Manager of Water Distribution Planning, said contrary to the developer’s proposed water conservation efforts, “EBMUD finds this project’s water conservation measures are insufficient.”

Mainly because developers of controversial the Tassajara Parks Residential Project have proposed to dedicate 727 acres of land to the East Bay Regional Park District, that move won the support from a few environmental organizations especially Save Mt. Diablo.

After several failed attempts to obtain state and federal regulatory permit approvals since 2013, developers of the proposed Pantages Bays Project near Discovery Bay, the new project proposed would subdivide the same site into 277 residential lots, which is 15 lots less than the original 2013 project.

With two public trail systems providing 5,200 linear feet of trails and walkways, the proposed project consists of two lakes, Lake South approximately 23 acres in size, and Lake North, about seven acres in size.

Of the 277 units planned for Pantages Bay Project, about 42 units are required to be set aside as affordable housing units. Eighty percent of the affordable units, 33 units, would be affordable to Moderate income households and 20 percent of the required affordable units, 8 units, would be affordable to low-income households. “An in-lieu fee will be paid for the remaining 0.55 units,” the county planning department document states.

“This project will help alleviate a lot of the illegal dumping that occurs in that area,” Burgis observed.

Approve Amersco Natural Gas Processing Facility and Pipeline

Without receiving any public comments either in favor or in opposition, supervisors approved on a 5-0 vote Ameresco Renewable Natural Gas’s (ARNG) proposal to construct a new 48,000 square foot renewable natural gas facility on the Keller Canyon Landfill site in Pittsburg.

The publicly traded Ameresco that has been operating on the Pittsburg landfill site a RNG operation since 2009 now proposes constructing a newer RNG processing facility of about 48,000 square feet or 1.1 acres on a level pad of about 84,000 square feet. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the operation would be overseen by two operators for 40 hours per week.

According to a press release from Republic Services, which owns the landfill, “The dedication of the Keller Canyon Landfill gas-to-electricity project marks the second time this year that Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) and Ameresco have partnered to develop and expand renewable energy sources for California and to provide power to residents of and businesses in Palo Alto and Alameda.”

“Most of the equipment would be less than 10 feet high except for the proposed enclosed flare, and a few larger pieces of equipment that would vary in height from 25 to 35 feet,” the Conservation and Development Department background document stated. “The proposed enclosed flare would be approximately 50 feet in height, similar to the two existing flares at the Keller Canyon Landfill enclosed flare facility.”

The project also calls for a new RNG underground pipeline to a proposed PG&E metering station located near the eastern edge of the Keller Canyon Landfill.  The Ameresco project has drawn some concern from Concord-based Discovery Builders that the proposed pipeline will be near a proposed residential development in Pittsburg.

A spokesman for Ameresco would not answer how much the new RNG facility and pipeline will cost.

During the supervisors’ meeting, Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg said through his office, Ameresco has agreed to pay the county at least $50,000 a year into the Keller Canyon Land Fill Mitigation Fund to help moderate any economic or environmental impacts stemming from the RNG project.

Every year, millions of dollars collected from Republic Services, operation of the Keller Canyon Landfill, are distributed to nonprofit organizations in the Bay Point and Pittsburg area through Supervisor Federal Glover’s office.

Supervisors Seek More Information on Orin Allen Youth Rehab Center Closure

Supervisors also instructed Contra Costa County Chief Probation Officer Essa Ehmen Krause to proceed and collect additional information, including cost figures, about a proposal to potentially move juvenile inmates at Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility in Byron (Byron Boys Ranch), closing that facility and transferring the inmates to a renovated former juvenile hall on Glazier Drive in Martinez.  The former juvenile hall facility is now used or storage.

The proposal was presented to supervisors who are attempting to figure out how to best use resources and address the educational and psychological needs of juveniles at the aged Byron Boys Ranch, constructed in 1960 and is now out of compliance with the American Disability Act.

Due to state legislation and local juvenile rehabilitation efforts, there are now about 15 youths housed at the Byron Boys Ranch, which is used for youths convicted of non-capital crimes.  For youths convicted or charged for capital crimes, they are housed at the 209-bed John A. Davis Juvenile Hall constructed in 2005.  There are now about 24 inmates at juvenile hall, Krause told supervisors.

Expect Krause to give periodic updates on the potential closure of Orin Allen and the reuse of the former juvenile hall facility.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

New state budget includes funding for five Bay Area affordable housing pilot programs

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

The fiscal 2021-22 state budget signed into law Monday by Gov. Newsom includes a $20 million appropriation for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to underwrite the work of the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA). BAHFA, which is jointly managed by MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), plans to use this money to seed five new pilot programs designed to ease the Bay Area’s housing affordability and homelessness crises.

“BAHFA was established to transform how the Bay Area delivers on housing affordability and stability,” explained Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza, who also serves as Chair of both MTC and BAHFA. “We appreciate the Legislature investing some of the state’s budget surplus in BAHFA so we can start working immediately on the five pilot projects that take a comprehensive approach to solving the crisis. The state’s commitment will support many of the Bay Area’s most vulnerable residents today and put us firmly on the path to long-term change.”

The five BAHFA pilot programs include an online platform known as Doorway to connect residents with affordable housing opportunities throughout the Bay Area; financing and technical assistance to support and increase the acquisition and preservation of affordable housing to help combat the displacement of low-income residents; a database to track the development or “pipeline” of affordable homes across the region to help match available funding with projects in areas with the most urgent needs; establishment of an anti-displacement services network to link service providers focused on keeping tenants housed, share best practices and ensure the efficient and equitable distribution of rent-relief dollars; and a partnership with San Francisco-based nonprofit All Home to design and implement a regional homelessness prevention system.

Berkeley mayor and ABAG Executive Board president Jesse Arreguin emphasizes BAHFA’s regional approach to solving the Bay Area’s chronic housing affordability problems through what are known as the Three Ps: producing more new housing at all income levels, protecting current residents from displacement, and preserving existing affordable housing.

“The crisis is a combination of complex and inter-related problems that has been growing for decades. But by working together at a regional scale, our nine counties and 101 cities and towns no longer have to try to solve every problem on their own,” he said.

Established in 2019 by state Assembly Bill 1487, BAHFA is the first regional housing finance authority in California. While BAHFA is comprised of the same membership as MTC, its procedures also are managed by the ABAG Executive Board; and both boards must approve any decision to put a regional housing finance measure on a future ballot. Oakland mayor and MTC Commissioner Libby Schaaf serves as Chair of MTC’s BAHFA Oversight Committee.

ABAG is the council of governments and the regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Contra Costa Supervisors approve Regional Housing Needs Allocation

Friday, June 25th, 2021

Source: MTC-ABAG

Extend ban on residential rent increases through September 30; inadequate county housing policy fuels crisis

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted to extend the prohibition on residential evictions and rent increases through September 30 even though a driving factor for the county’s housing crisis can be linked to the county’s preference to permit the construction of more high-income housing than low-and-moderate-income housing.

While supervisors heard citizens make requests that the rental moratorium be extended through December 30, supervisors resisted those pleas and preferred that extension go through September 30.

“If another extension is needed after September 30, we can then take it up at that time,” said District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff.

The action the supervisors took on Tuesday marks the fourth rental moratorium that the elected officials have passed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2019.

“The trouble is we already have a blanket moratorium on any rent increase,” said District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen.  “I don’t want to go through this again at the end of the year.”

Approve Housing Needs Allocation

But supervisors did not publicly comment on an approved consent item that reflects the county’s longstanding preference to have far more above moderate-income housing units – 3,147 units – constructed in the unincorporated areas of the county from 2023 to 2031, according to the recently released Association of Bay Area Government’s (ABAG’s) Final Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).

The ABAG RHNA item was passed as a supervisor’s consent item and was not publicly discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

RHNA also shows Contra Costa County is designated to permit 2,082 very low-income housing units, 1,199 low-income units, and 1,217 moderate income units from 2023 to 2031.

Conservation and Development Department Director John Kopchick said the county will appeal ABAG’s RHNA findings on grounds the Draft Allocation is 5.59 times as high as the county’s allocation for the prior period (which was 1,367).

“As of the end of 2020 the County had issued building permits for 1,881 new housing units,” Kopchick wrote in a memo to the supervisors. “While we have met the overall allocation for the 2015-2023 period, we have so far met only 16% of the allocation for very-low income and 53% of the allocation for moderate income. Staff is concerned that an allocation that significant change is likely not achievable.”

Kopchick added, “The increase in the county’s allocation from prior cycle is larger than the increase for the Bay Area as a whole (5.59 times higher for the county versus 2.35 times for the region as a whole). In the view of staff, the amount of the increase relative to the region may not be equitable. The county’s draft allocation is almost 2,000 units higher than the largest allocation for any city in the county. The county’s allocation is the second highest allocation for a county in the Bay Area (only San Francisco is higher) and is the 9th highest among the 110 jurisdictions in the Bay Area.”

The county and cities have until the July 9th deadline to submit an appeal of the Draft Allocation.

ABAG will conduct public hearings in September and October on the RHNA appeal. ABAG will act on the final RHNA in January 2023.

Other Board Action

Among consent items supervisors approved were:

·         Sanjiv Bhandari of Alamo was appointed to a (District 2 – Supervisor Candace Anderson) four-year term to the Contra Costa County Planning Commission.  Bhandari is president and chief executive officer of BK BC Architects, Inc. of Walnut Creek.

·         Discovery Bay resident Bob Mankin was reappointed to the District 3 seat on the Contra Costa County Planning Commission.  Recommended by Board Chair Diane Burgis, he will serve a four-year term.

·         A $100,000 contract with Loomis Armored US, LLC for armored cash transportation services for the County Treasurer-Tax Collector for the period July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2024 with two possible one-year extensions. This marks the first time that the County Treasurer-Tax Collector has used another vendor for armored courier services to transport cash/check deposits because over the past several years, the County Treasurer’s Office became “increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of service provided by that vendor….”

·         Authorized Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston to applied and accept the United States Department of Justice Programs, DNA Program Backlog Reduction Grant in an initial amount of $250,000. This grant will reduce the number of backlogged DNA tests in the Sheriff’s Criminalistics Laboratory for the period of Jan. 1, 2022 through the end of the grant period.

·         An update on the formation of permanent regulations for the cultivation of industrial hemp will be presented to the board of supervisors by June 30.  Kopchik said a draft ordinance is scheduled to be considered by the County Planning Commission at a public hearing on June 23.  Subject to the Planning Commission’s review of the draft zoning ordinance, staff expects that it will present both draft ordinances to the board of supervisors in July or August.

Supervisors Select September 14 to Reopen In-Person Sessions

Supervisors set Tuesday Sept. 14 as their first in-person session meeting to be conducted in the new David Twa Public Administration Building in Martinez.

At a price tag of $60 million, the new building with 72,000 square feet will be open to the public with COVID-19 public health safeguards in place, in other words face masks if required.

Supervisors also promoted the hybrid meetings with both in-person and virtual or telephonic public comments.

 

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Judge rules in favor of Sand Creek area developer striking down almost all of Measure T, long-planned homes can be built in Antioch

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

The Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative known as Measure T on the November 2020 ballot cannot be implemented.

Environmentalists claim victory with Urban Limit Line extension

By Allen Payton

In what amounts to a final blow to Antioch’s Measure T and the environmentalists’ efforts to stop the long-planned new home developments in the city’s Sand Creek area, on June 7, 2021, a Contra Costa Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Oak Hill Park Company in their lawsuit against the City of Antioch to prevent the council from implementing the provisions of the measure. The initiative’s full title was Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative (LAVD) and would have devalued Oak Hills’, Zeka Ranch’s and other neighboring property owners’ land by over 98%, downzoning it from two homes per acre to just one home per 80 acres.  Measure T Statement of Decision 060721

In his tentative ruling on June 2, 2021, Judge Edward G. Weil wrote, “The Court finds that the LAVD Initiative, with the exception of Section 22, conflicts with the Housing Crisis Act and is therefore void. The Court further finds that, with the exception of Section 22, the individual provisions of the LAVD Initiative are not volitionally severable. The Court finds that Section 22 is valid and enforceable.” 2021-06-02 Tentative Ruling of Oak Hill

That meant that other than Section 22, none of the other sections of the measure could be separated from the rest of the initiative and applied on their own. The Housing Crisis Act, known as SB330, which was signed into law on October 9, 2019 and went into effect on January 1, 2020, forbids cities from reducing the zoning of residential property until January 1, 2025, by either council action or citizen initiative.

Section 22 of the LAVD initiative reads, “The location of the Urban Limit Line enacted in Antioch Measure K on November 8, 2005, may be changed only by the voters.”

According to Weil’s final ruling, Section 1 of the LAVD Initiative identifies the following as two of the seven primary purposes of the Initiative: “maintains the existing urban limit line,” and “requires voter approval to change these safeguards.” In 2005, Antioch voters adopted Measure K establishing an Urban Limit Line. Under that measure, through December 31, 2020, only the voters could change the location of the Line. After that date, voter approval was not required. The measure’s language claimed, “maintaining voter approval beyond 2020 is in the best interests of Antioch residents.”

Had the judge not ruled in favor of severability of Section 22, the city council would have had the power to move the line from the current location, along the ridgeline on the back side of the former Roddy Ranch Golf Course. However, that part of the judge’s decision has no impact on the proposed developments in the Sand Creek area.

Save Mount Diablo Claims Victory on Urban Limit Line

In a press release by Save Mount Diablo on June 15, announcing the judge’s decision, the organization claimed a victory over the section about the Urban Limit Line. Measure T requires a vote of the people to change the boundaries. That is the only section of the measure the judge allowed to stand.

The group’s press release reads in part:

—————————-

On June 7, 2021, Contra Costa Superior Court ruled on a legal challenge to Measure T, the “Let Antioch Voters Decide” initiative. Measure T was approved by 79 percent of Antioch voters in November 2020. The legal challenge, OAK HILL PARK CO. VS. THE CITY OF ANTIOCH, was filed by out-of-state developer Oak Hill Park LLC/Richfield in an attempt to strike down Measure T. Measure T included growth management provisions for the Sand Creek area in southeast Antioch and extended protections for the Antioch Urban Limit Line.

Part of Measure T was affirmed, and part was ruled in conflict with SB 330—a 2019 housing crisis law enacted after Measure T was qualified in 2018 but before the public voted in November 2020.

“Save Mount Diablo, the Antioch community, and our other good partners have been working to defend and protect the important open spaces of the Sand Creek Focus Area for years against various developers and lawsuits. This past November, 79 percent of Antioch voters approved our Measure T to give the Sand Creek area more protections,” said Ted Clement, Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director. “In the recent court ruling, our efforts were successful in saving the Antioch Urban Limit Line, which affords protections to Sand Creek, but other parts of Measure T were struck down. We are also proud that our Measure T gave Antioch voters a voice to express their clear desire that Sand Creek have more protections, and we hope Antioch officials will respect the overwhelming will of the people.”

After the election, in February 2021 Oak Hill Park LLC/Richfield once again challenged Measure T, based in part on SB 330. The state passed Senate Bill 330, the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, after the 2018 qualification of Measure T but before the November election. SB 330 established new rules about what initiatives and local jurisdictions can do to affect housing.

The court’s ruling finds that Measure T, with the exception of the provision extending the Urban Limit Line (ULL), conflicts with Senate Bill 330 and is therefore void. A requirement for a public vote for major development west of Kaiser Hospital and Deer Valley Road in the Sand Creek Focus Area, and a variety of development standards Measure T would have required, have been nullified.

However, the coalition’s efforts and Measure T saved the Antioch Urban Limit Line. The court preserved Measure T’s extension of Antioch’s Urban Limit Line, and the requirement that any changes to the Urban Limit Line must be approved by the voters. Without Measure T’s approval in November 2020, that voter approval requirement would have expired on December 31, 2020.

“Our coalition educated Antioch residents about the Sand Creek and Empire Mine Road area,” said Seth Adams, Save Mount Diablo’s Land Conservation Director. “We saved the Antioch Urban Limit Line, built a strong grassroots coalition, established greater concern within the city council about the Sand Creek area, and received a very strong 79 percent election result of public support to help with the next steps. We’re in this for the long run. The work continues. We will oppose Zeka and Richfield, defend Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve and Deer Valley Regional Park, and work to ensure that more of the Sand Creek area is protected.”

What Is SB 330?

SB 330 was signed into law by Governor Newsom in October 2019. It’s designed to speed up housing construction in California during the next half-decade by slashing the time it takes to obtain building permits, limiting fee increases on housing applications, and barring local governments from reducing the number of homes that can be built. Although it’s meant to encourage affordable housing, Antioch already provides more affordable housing than most cities.

The Antioch coalition qualified our initiative, and the Antioch City Council adopted it, long before SB 330 was signed into law. It was only because of lawsuits from developers Zeka Group and Oak Hill Park LLC/Richfield that our initiative was delayed until a judge sent our initiative to the November 2020 ballot, where we won in a 79 percent landslide. But by then, SB 330 had been signed.

Because of all this, we’ve known that some parts of Measure T might be struck down in court, and other parts might be “severed” and survive. Based on the court’s tentative ruling, that’s what’s happened.

Summary

Measure T has saved the Antioch Urban Limit Line. However, the rest of the initiative was struck down.

—————–

No Decision on Possible Appeal

Asked if Save Mount Diablo planned to appeal the judge’s decision, Adams responded, “No decision has been made. Can’t say at this point.”

City Council Discusses Lawsuit

During a special Conference with Legal Counsel on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, the Antioch City Council discussed the case of Oak Hill Park Company, vs. the City of Antioch, Contra Costa County Superior Court, Case No. N21-0048.

However, City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith said, “There was no reportable action on the item.”

Oak Hill Park Company Responds

In response to their lawsuit victory, Oak Hill Park Company’s attorney, Alicia Guerra, issued the following statement: “Oak Hill Park Company appreciates the Court’s thoughtful ruling invalidating almost every provision of the Initiative under the Housing Crisis Act, and looks forward to working with the City in the future.”

Oak Hill plans a 370-home project known as Bridle Hills, south of the 1,177-home The Ranch project approved by the city council, last year. The neighboring 338-home project, known as Zeka Ranch is planned for 200 of the 640 acres of the former Higgins Ranch property located on the closed Empire Mine Road, adjacent to the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve.

History of Sand Creek Area and Urban Limit Line

Plans for new homes in the Sand Creek area, formerly known as Future Urban Area-1 (FUA-1), have been underway since developers purchased the land in the 1990’s following voter adoption of the county-wide Urban Limit Line (ULL) in 1990, protecting 65% of the land in the county from subdivision development. In 2003, the Antioch City Council reduced the total number of homes allowed in the Sand Creek area from over 8,900 to 4,000. Of that figure, approximately 877 homes remain to be approved and built west of Deer Valley Road, which is the area the initiative would have affected. Another 640 homes planned for the Roddy Ranch development will no longer be built since that land was sold by Jack Roddy and his partners to the East Bay Regional Parks District several years ago, and is currently referred to as Deer Valley Regional Park.

In 2006 County voters passed Measure L, which extended the term of the ULL through 2026 and required a 2016 review to determine whether enough capacity existed inside the ULL to accommodate jobs and housing growth through 2036. The location of the county’s line matches that of the City of Antioch’s ULL.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Public workshops, hearings announced for Draft Plan Bay Area 2050

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Regional plan for transportation, housing, the economy, and the environment

Interested agencies, organizations and individuals are invited by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to comment on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050. As required by state and federal law, MTC and ABAG have jointly developed this regional plan for transportation, housing, the economy, and the environment, which will serve as the San Francisco Bay Area’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) upon its adoption. Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 is defined by 35 integrated strategies designed to advance the region towards a more equitable and resilient future.

A Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) prepared on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be subject to public review pursuant to a separate notice.

The following online public workshops have been scheduled to receive comment on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050:

ONLINE PUBLIC WORKSHOP

East Bay Workshop
Contra Costa and Alameda Counties
Monday, June 14, 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
https://bit.ly/33uXj0y
Passcode: 179826
Webinar ID: 862 3482 0389

ONLINE PUBLIC HEARINGS

Additionally, MTC and ABAG will hold three (3) public hearings to receive oral testimony and written comments about the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050. Copies of the draft plan are on file with the Secretary of the Board of MTC and open to public inspection at planbayarea.org/learnmore. Should you require a hard copy of the draft plan, please submit your request to info@bayareametro.gov or call 415-778-6757 and one will be mailed to you.

The first public hearing will be held during the regular meeting of the Joint MTC Planning Committee with the ABAG Administrative Committee on:

Friday, June 11, 2021 at 9:40 a.m. (Remotely)
https://bit.ly/33xhpav
Webinar ID: 874 2787 4017
Bay Area Metro Center
Board Room, 1st Floor
375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

In light of Governor Newsom’s State of Emergency declaration regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and in accordance with Executive Order N-29-20 issued by Governor Newsom on March 17, 2020 and the Guidance for Gatherings issued by the California Department of Public Health, the meeting will be conducted via webcast, teleconference, and Zoom for all participants. Detailed instructions on participating via Zoom are available at: https://mtc.ca.gov/how-provide-public-comment-board-meeting-zoom. The meeting accessibility instructions also will be posted to: https://mtc.ca.gov/whats-happening/events/public-hearings no less than 72 hours prior to the hearing.

Two additional online public hearings have been scheduled for:

Hearing 2
Tuesday, June 22, 5:30 p.m.
https://bit.ly/3y0ZiYp
Passcode: 177176

Webinar ID: 812 0345 4209

Hearing 3
Wednesday, July 7, 1:30 p.m.
https://bit.ly/2SIduFK
Passcode: 908706

Webinar ID: 854 5833 8822

The Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be available for public review beginning Wednesday, May 26, 2021, online at https://mtc.ca.gov/whats-happening/events/public-hearingshttps://abag.ca.gov/meetings-events/public-hearings, and planbayarea.org. In an effort to reduce printing costs and conserve paper and in accordance with EO N-29-20 and the Guidance for Gatherings issued by the California Department of Public Health, you are urged to review the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 on the website listed above. Should you require a hard copy of the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050, please submit your request to info@bayareametro.gov or call 415-778-6757 and one will be mailed to you.

The public comment period for the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 begins on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 and ends on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 by 5:00pm. All written comments must be received no later than Tuesday, July 20, 2021 by 5:00pm. All written comments on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 are being accepted via mail to MTC Public Information, Attn: Draft Plan Comments, 375 Beale Street, Suite 800, San Francisco, CA 94105; via e-mail to info@planbayarea.org; and online at planbayarea.org/learnmore. Comments also are being accepted by phone by leaving a voicemail at (415) 778-2292.

Public comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be sought pursuant to a separate notice. After considering public comment, MTC and ABAG are slated to adopt Plan Bay Area 2050 in fall 2021. For more information, call the MTC Public Information Office at (415) 778-6757.

Do you need an interpreter or any other assistance to participate? Please call 415-778-6757. We require at least three working days’ notice to accommodate assistance requests. For TDD or hearing impaired, call 711, California Relay Service, or 1-800-735-2929 (TTY), 1-800-735-2922 (voice) and ask to be relayed to 415-778-6700.

您需要口譯員或任何其他幫助才能參加嗎?請致電415-778-6757。我們要求至少提前三個工作日通知,以便滿足您的請求。對於TDD或聽障人士,請致電711,加州中繼服務,或1-800-735-2929(TTY),1-800-735-2922(語音),並要求轉接到415-778-6700。

¿Necesita un intérprete o cualquier otra ayuda para participar? Llame al 415-778-6757. Requerimos un aviso de al menos tres días hábiles para atender las solicitudes de asistencia. Para personas con discapacidad auditiva o TDD, llame al 711, California Relay Service, o al 1-800-735-2929 (TTY) o al 1-800-735-2922 (voz) y pida que lo comuniquen al 415-778-6700.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

State says Measure T’s growth limitations in Antioch’s Sand Creek area “cannot…be adopted, implemented or enforced”

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

The Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative known as Measure T on the November 2020 ballot cannot be implemented.

Violates state law known as SB330, the Housing Crisis Act of 2019

Would have devalued property by over 99%, downzoning it from 2 homes per acre to 1 home per 80 acres

Cities and counties must approve new homes or face hefty fines which will fund low-income housing

By Allen Payton

As was reported in news articles and an editorial by the Herald during the 2020 fall election campaign, the state has issued an opinion letter confirming that the residential growth limitations in Measure T on the November ballot, “cannot permissibly be adopted, implemented or enforced.” That’s due to the passage of SB330, the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, also as previously reported. Known as the Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Protection Initiative, the measure passed by almost 79% of the vote.

SB330 added Section 66300 to California Government Code preventing cities and counties from reducing zoning of residential property by either council action or citizen initiative until Jan. 1, 2025.  Also, if a city council doesn’t approve new housing within existing allowable zoning, the new law requires a court to fine the city a minimum of $10,000 per housing unit denied and force the city to approve the new homes, and require they spend the funds from the fines on additional, low-income housing.

SB330 and State Housing Law

The language of SB330 reads, “(c) It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, to do both of the following: (1) Suspend certain restrictions on the development of new housing during the period of the statewide emergency described in subdivisions (a) and (b). (2) Work with local governments to expedite the permitting of housing in regions suffering the worst housing shortages and highest rates of displacement.”

Furthermore, the act reads, “The Legislature finds and declares that the provision of adequate housing, in light of the severe shortage of housing at all income levels in this state, is a matter of statewide concern and is not a municipal affair…Therefore, the provisions of this act apply to all cities, including charter cities.”

In addition, the new law reads, “with respect to land where housing is an allowable use, an affected county or an affected city shall not enact a development policy… that would  have any of the following effects: Changing the general plan land use designation, specific plan land use designation, or zoning of a parcel or parcels of property to a less intensive use or reducing the intensity of land use within an existing general plan land use designation, specific plan land use designation, or zoning district below what was allowed under the land use designation and zoning ordinances of the affected county or affected city, as applicable, as in effect on January 1, 2018.”

Also, the new law amended Section 65589.5 of the Government Code that reads, “the court shall impose fines on a local agency… in a minimum amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per housing unit in the housing development project on the date the application was deemed complete.” Furthermore, the law requires, “the local agency shall commit and expend the money” from the fines “for the sole purpose of financing newly constructed housing units affordable to extremely low, very low, or low-income households.”

So, not only will the new homes in the development that was denied be built, but the city will be fined and the funds from the fines must be used to build additional, low-income housing.

Finally, According to the HCD, “Since 1969, California has required that all local governments (cities and counties) adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community. California’s local governments meet this requirement by adopting housing plans as part of their ‘general plan’ (also required by the state). General plans serve as the local government’s ‘blueprint’ for how the city and/or county will grow and develop and include seven elements: land use, transportation, conservation, noise, open space, safety, and housing. The law mandating that housing be included as an element of each jurisdiction’s general plan is known as ‘housing-element law.’

California’s housing-element law acknowledges that, in order for the private market to adequately address the housing needs and demand of Californians, local governments must adopt plans and regulatory systems that provide opportunities for (and do not unduly constrain), housing development. As a result, housing policy in California rests largely on the effective implementation of local general plans and, in particular, local housing elements.” Each of the regions in the state must develop a plan for their Regional Housing Needs Allocation and Housing Elements.

The Bay Area’s current Regional Housing Need Allocation Plan (RHNA) projected 187,990 units needed between Jan. 31, 2015 and Jan. 31, 2023 and another 441,176 units will be needed between 2023 and 2031, according to the HCD and the Association of Bay Area Governments. In the new RHNA, it requires Antioch to add 2,481 more housing units by 2030. (See related article)

City of Antioch Letter to HCD Regarding Measure T and SB330

A letter was sent on Jan. 8, 2021 from an attorney hired by the City of Antioch to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) seeking their advice and opinion on implementing Measure T. In that letter, attorney David Mehretu of Meyers Nave asked Paul McDougall, Housing Policy Manager for HCD to review Measure T for a determination of its “validity under SB 330 as follows: Letter to HCD Re Measure T (Antioch)

  1. Whether Measure T’s housing development restrictions are proscribed under Section 66300(b)(1)(A) of the Government Code.
  2. Whether, pursuant to Sections 66300(b)(1)(B)(i) and (ii) of the Government Code, Measure T’s housing development restrictions constitute “a moratorium or similar restriction or limitation on housing development . . . within [Sand Creek] . . . to specifically protect against an imminent threat to the health and safety of persons residing in, or within the immediate vicinity of [Sand Creek] . . . ”.
  3. Whether Measure T acts as an impermissible cap on housing pursuant to Section 66300(b)(1)(D)(ii) of the Government Code; and
  4. Whether Antioch may, consistently with SB 330, enforce Measure T’s housing development restrictions.”

Response Letter from HCD Explains Why Measure T Violates State Law

In a March 9th response letter entitled “Enforceability of Measure T’s Reduction in Land Use Intensity pursuant to Housing Crisis Act of 2019 – Letter of Technical Assistance,” McDougall wrote, “the City requested the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) opinion as to the enforceability of a reduction in the intensity of land use included in the City’s voter-approved initiative Measure T.” HCD Antioch SB 330 Letter 03.09.2021

“HCD’s opinion is based on the mandatory criteria established by the Legislature with the passage of Senate Bill 330 in 2019, known as the Housing Crisis Act of 2019,” McDougall wrote.

“HCD finds that the less intensive use provisions of Measure T are impermissible under Government Code section 66300,” and “Measure T effectively acts as a ‘…cap on the number of housing units that can be approved…’, a violation of Government Code section 66300…,” he wrote.

McDougall offered one caveat writing, “the City could enforce the reduction in intensity contemplated in Measure T, notwithstanding this opinion, if and when it concurrently changes the development standards, policies, and conditions applicable to other parcels within the jurisdiction to ensure that there is no net loss in residential capacity.” However, he further wrote, “nothing in Measure T provides for an equal increase in intensity of land use elsewhere in the jurisdiction, therefore, these provisions of Measure T cannot be permissibly adopted, implemented, or enforced consistent with Government Code section 66300.”

He concludes his letter offering the state’s opinion that Measure T is impermissible.

“Measure T appears to have been drafted to assure that housing development in the City is restricted in a manner that preserves agriculture and open spaces (Measure T, section 1). However, there is minimal analysis in Measure T to support this outcome. Measure T language more readily suggests it was passed primarily with the intent to restrict future housing development as opposed to accommodating future residential growth as intended in the City’s general plan,” the HCD Housing Policy Manager continues.

“In sum, the provisions of the voter-approved Measure T result in a lesser intensity of land use and create a development cap, resulting in a reduction in the total number of housing units that can be built within the Initiative Area than what is currently allowed in the City’s General Plan. Accordingly, HCD is of the opinion that such a reduction in the intensity of land use created by Measure T cannot permissibly be adopted, implemented, or enforced consistent with Government Code section 66300,” McDougall concluded.

Measure T is Moot, Council Must Approve New Homes

Therefore, as previously reported, the state has confirmed that Measure T, which would have devalued four privately owned parcels on the west side of Deer Valley Road by over 99% from two homes per acre to just one home per 80 acres, is moot and will have no impact on the development of new housing in Antioch. It would have affected less than 900 housing units remaining of the total 4,000 homes allowed in the City of Antioch’s Sand Creek Focus Area of the general plan. But now those housing projects will move forward in the planning process and can be expected to be approved.

That’s because the council must adopt all new housing projects in the Sand Creek area and anywhere else in the city, until Jan. 1, 2025, which don’t require any zoning changes or general plan amendments, or the city will face state fines of $10,000 per unit, at a minimum, and the homes will still be approved and allowed to be built, and the fines fund additional, low-income housing in the city, according to SB330.

 

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

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.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter