The Newspaper of the San Francisco Bay Chapter
NOV. - DEC. 2004
Are East Contra Costa cities grabbing land for development?
By the end of this year, Contra Costa elected officials will decide the fate of some of Contra Costa County's best natural areas and working farms.
The county is drafting a new version of its Urban Limit Line to place on the ballot, probably in November 2006. But will the new ULL reign in the hyperactive growth machine in East Contra Costa, or will it open the door for thousands of acres to be covered in asphalt?
In East County, cities have proposed major breaches in the line. Brentwood proposes adding approximately 1,716 acres and 2,500 homes. Pittsburg has proposed adding several hundred acres to the north and south. While Antioch has not yet made a specific proposal, it is likely to move to add at least 1,000 acres south of the city around Roddy Ranch.
If these proposals are realized, there will be a huge impact on East County. Hundreds of acres of agriculture will be converted to very low-density residential housing. Traffic on Highway 4 will persist despite the millions of dollars being spent to widen the highway. The traffic congestion will continue pumping pollutants into an area that already has poor air quality. Habitat for Alameda whipsnake, San Joaquin kit fox, and other important species would be lost. Another large part of Contra Costa County's environmental resources would be forever compromised.
One elected official from each city and each county supervisor are participating in subregional task forces. Each task force must propose a location for the new line, as well as develop a set of conditions which must be met before the line can be moved again. Each subregion will meet at least twice more before there is a county-wide meeting. If the jurisdictions reach agreement, the line and policies will eventually be put to a county-wide vote.
What You Can Do
To stop the ill-conceived land grab in East Contra Costa, contact Contra Costa's elected officials. Key officials are:
Antioch Councilmember Brian Kalinowski
Brentwood Mayor Brian Swisher
Pittsburg Councilmember William Glynn
Tell them that the ULL should stay where it is, and that conditions should be set to make it hard to move.
To get further involved in putting a stop to bad growth, contact Nicole Drake at the Sierra Club, (510) 848-0800, ext. 310; or David Reid at Greenbelt Alliance, (925) 932-7776.
© 2004 San Francisco Sierra Club Yodeler
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