This is in response to an article run by the Brentwood Press on March 4 entitled “City to vote on expansion.” The article tries to explain the merits of expansion but completely ignores how it will affect anyone living in that area of the city.
I’ve been using American Avenue since Heritage High School/Adams Middle School opened up and will continue to do so for the next nine years. I know how bad it is each morning and, along with all the other parents, curse the poor planning involved with this highly used street. However, expanding American Avenue at the expense of adding 1,300 homes and “tax generating commercial uses” is not the answer.
Nothing good will come of this expansion unless you’re a developer or landowner. Let’s consider the bigger picture for a change. The bypass is already choked with traffic in both directions that only stands to get worse with the added homes. Vacant commercial space is everywhere in Brentwood, especially along the west end of Balfour. Construction in that area, including widening Balfour, will likely cause even more traffic issues than we have today. Not to mention what all these new homes will do to our existing home values. Where is the rosy outlook about home values from Mr. Koch?
And then there’s the construction jobs. Great idea, except making a decision to develop 750 acres should not be based on temporary jobs, which these most certainly are. Many people will benefit from this temporary work but the finished product will never go away.
Mr. Koch was nice enough to suggest that low-income housing would be built only if “we” asked for it. I suppose this is where the part about controlling Brentwood’s future is supposed to be gained. As it says in the article, Mr. Koch represents the landowner. The potential benefactor(s) of a large sum of money from a developer(s) who also stand to reap a substantial monetary gain. His whole presentation is a sales pitch aimed at those who only read and accept news articles like the one I refer to here.
But we as existing citizens have to start using common sense about expansion. What do all these bells and whistles that Mr. Koch describes really mean? What are the consequences for adding people and cars to an area that sits in the middle of previous poor planning (American Avenue and single lane of Highway 4)? Particularly in a corner of the city where there’s only one way to go unless you do your shopping in Concord or Antioch.
Think about the logistics of all this. Think about it quickly because the choice to use common sense is coming soon. Whether it’s called Measure L or any other name, the existing residents of Brentwood will see and experience a substantial “quality of life” degradation if this proposal is even partially implemented. When the dust settles, the developers and perhaps even the landowners will have moved on, but we’ll be stuck with all the pitfalls that come with expansion.
I applaud Kathy Griffin and will gladly support her efforts to vote down this proposal.
Chris Wakefield, Brentwood