Alliance for a Better Brentwood

Photo by Tony Kukulich

Alliance for a Better Brentwood gathered at Rubiano's to await election results on Measure L in Brentwood, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 5. The measure, which would have expanded the city's urban limit line and allowed the development of up to 2,400 homes on an 800-acre parcel, was firmly defeated as 71% of the 12,000 votes cast were against the measure. 

Brentwood’s Measure L, a developer-backed initiative to move the city’s urban limit line to accommodate a 815-acre project of up to 2,400 residential units north of Balfour Road, appears to be defeated, according to the Contra Costa County Election Division’s unofficial final results.

An estimated 71.03% (8,661 votes) rejected the proposal, while 28.84% (3,517 votes) approved it.

County elections officials said Wednesday they expect the results to be certified within 30 days. 

“This isn’t a surprise,” said Bob Nunn, a member of the Blackhawk Nunn Partners development group that spearheaded the initiative. “We were not expecting a different outcome. We had polling data a year ago that showed Brentwood would be a pretty heavy lift, but we also felt the obligation to give Brentwood the first opportunity to say yes or no, because we are in the Brentwood school district.” 

The proposal touched off widespread community debate over proposed community growth, among other quality of life concerns.

“What it came down to for me was the project was too big, was too invasive and they are making a lot of promises,” said Kathy Griffin, who spearheaded the official measure opposition group.

The measure would have paved way for about 555 gross acres of residential elements, 225 acres of open space and 20 acres of commercial and civic features, among other amenities, on 815 acres north of Balfour Road, east of Deer Valley Road and west of the Shadow Lakes and Brentwood Hills neighborhoods.

The project would have likely  included up to 1,920 age-restricted, active adult homes, roughly 480 market rate units, multiple recreation centers and possibly an outdoor amphitheater, winery, farm-to-table restaurant and bar, and likely 225 estimated acres of permanent agricultural and open-space lands, including vineyards and olive groves.

The development group had also promised to usher in a series of roadway improvements; offset the project’s fire service impact through a memorandum of understanding with the fire district; and preserve wide swaths of open land on and off the property.

But it appears Brentwood voters have other plans.

Residents from the start expressed concern the plan would generate too many homes; strain city and emergency services; worsen traffic; burden already overcrowded schools; raise the area’s job-to-housing imbalance; cause irreversible environmental damage; and contribute to air pollution and noise.

“It felt like they were trying to cram this thing down our throat like it’s the best thing since sliced bread, but what we were trying to tell them is you don’t solve traffic problems and congestion by not tying development to jobs creation and by adding 2,400 homes in what I considered one of the stupid geographical locations for that big of a development,” Griffin said. 

Nunn said the development group will now turn its attention to discussions with Antioch.

“We already know there is interest there,” Nunn said. “We’ll discuss that process and discuss what the needs of Antioch are and what this proposal would look like from an Antioch perspective. It certainly would look much different than the proposal we put together for Brentwood. The needs of Antioch are different than the needs of Brentwood.” 

Griffin said her group will pay close attention to the developer’s next move. “They can meet with the City of Antioch all they want, but the bottom line is it will still be up to the voters,” she said.