Emil Geddes, agent for the Brentwood Partners, said the developers heard what the voters were saying. He’s now helping circulate a petition to put on the June ballot a new measure, proposing a project that’s significantly different than what had been proposed in 2005.
For starters, he said, the project would involve only 700 acres, half of what Measure J included. All of the project’s land is located south of Balfour Road and would contain just 1,300 homes at a density of 1.7 units per acre. Also, while Measure L did nothing for local schools the new proposal designated three potential sites. There’s a $3,000 per house contribution to a communitywide jobs program; money to widen Balfour Road; cash for surveillance cameras located wherever the city would like them (possibly entrances to the city or public parks); and up to $2.4 million for a sports complex that, with the cooperation of the county flood control district, could be built in a flood control basin within the property.
The project would be governed by a local hiring preference, which would mean local construction jobs. It would also contribute to establishing a process that could help assure that all future development in the city is self-sufficient in terms of paying for the city resources it consumes.
The project would also include sales tax-generating commercial development along Balfour Road. But one of the biggest benefits, Geddes said, is that it would allow the City of Brentwood to secure its western border. Currently, the land from Deer Valley Road up to and around three sides of Heritage High and Adams Middle schools could be acquired by Antioch. The new project would not only include a fix for the vexing, school-related traffic jams on American Avenue, it would ensure that the schools did not wind up surrounded by the city’s neighbor to the west.
“We could have our schools literally right in the middle of Antioch (territory),” he said.
Geddes said he expects opponents to claim the time is not right to build more houses, and he agrees. He expects that by the time approvals and planning are complete, the economy will have turned around. It will be at least 2014 “before the first stick is in the ground,” he said. “The last thing we’re going to do is build a bunch of houses that there’s no market for.” He added that the houses would be sold only to owner-occupants, not investors, to avoid cluttering the rental market.
Overall, he hopes that the many amenities will more than make up for the narrow margin by which Measure L failed.
“There are a tremendous amount of benefits,” Geddes said. “Whether you’re pro-growth or anti-growth, the one thing people have to consider is the ripple effect. Investing in the community has everything to do with how the local economy functions.”
Should the measure make the ballot and voters approve it, Geddes noted, it would only affect the Urban Limit Line (ULL) and the city’s General Plan zoning. The new ULL created by the measure would still qualify the city for gas tax money it is eligible for under the current ULL. The project itself would still need to go through the standard approval process that all projects must adhere to.