Small towns and rural communities throughout the U.S. are looking for ways to strengthen their economies, provide better quality of life and build on local assets.
Many rural communities and small towns are facing challenges, including rapid growth at metropolitan edges, declining rural populations and loss of farms and working lands. As the cities and towns of East County deal with population growth and all the issues that come with it, their planning departments and commissions stand fast with ideas that plan for favorable outcomes.
In Discovery Bay, where the motto is ‘live where you play,’ two residential construction projects are getting closer to the starting line.
“Pantages Bays, which consists of 292 homes – 116 of which are waterfront homes – was approved by the county in November 2015,” said John Oborne, Contra Costa County planner. “Newport Pointe, which consists of 67 homes, was approved by the county in June 2013. Construction on both of these projects has not begun because, among other things, they now have to obtain wildlife agency approvals (from the Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies), as each of the project sites contains wetlands.”
While it’s hard to say when the projects will be completed, since that will be determined by the applicant and how fast they respond to compliance with the conditions, the projects promise to be a great benefit to the Delta community of boaters and water lovers.
“The Pantages Bays project would widen Kellogg Creek to provide for the 116 waterfront homes, construct a Sherriff’s Marine Patrol station next to the water on the project site and construct a public trail on the project site,” said Oborne.
Development is ticking along in Oakley as well, where residents consider the town a place for families in the heart of the Delta.
“We have several active subdivisions in the city, (including) Emerson Ranch – Brookfield Homes, DeNova Homes, Signature Homes, Richmond American Homes; The Reserve – Richmond American Homes; and Prescott – DeNova Homes,” said Josh McMurray, Oakley planning mananger. “We have several subdivisions that are in various stages of permitting and should start mid to late this year. In terms of people, with 206 homes (recently built) and each home bringing in 3.26 people, we have grown by 672 people.”
Additionally, the city has several commercial projects in various phases of development. Some of these undertakings include Bethel Island Boat Storage, S+S Retail Center, Immanuel Baptist Church, SpareTime Sports Club, I-Park Oakley RV and Boat Storage, Brownstone Gardens, Guepardo Industrial Safety Footwear, Dutch Bros. Coffee, Delta Grinding and many others.
“We have several entitled commercial projects and others in the process or that will be submitting soon,” said McMurray. “The market really determines what is built and at what pace developments are constructed. Homes are still selling and sales are strong. I would expect this to continue in the future.”
Some of the commercial development shaping Brentwood has recently brought in a Tractor Supply Co. store, located on Brentwood Boulevard. Residents will soon see the completion of the Holiday Inn Express, as well as the construction of a new self-storage facility on Guthrie Lane and Cornerstone Fellowship Church on Lone Tree Way.
Additionally, city officials and community members will soon begin hashing out a plan to steer the growth and development decisions for a piece of land that could be the site of transit-oriented development and is also being eyed as a possible spot for a Great Wolf Resorts indoor waterpark on the northwest part of the city. The 373 acres, 280 of which are undeveloped, are surrounded by Lone Tree Way to the north, Heidorn Ranch Road to the west, Sand Creek Road to the south and Shady Willow Lane to the east.
On the city’s residential front, there are several subdivisions currently under construction, including Palmilla, which will boast up to 200 homes when complete, north of Central Boulevard and west of the railroad track; approximately 130 new houses in Executive Homes at Trilogy; and Mission Grove, whose 130 homes south of Balfour Road are almost complete. Last year brought in the highest number of single-family home permits since the recession began.
“We have really good numbers for single-family units,” said Erik Nolthenius, Brentwood’s planning manager. “In 2016, we issued 560 single-family home permits. With an average of 3.1 people per home, that would be approximately 1,500 people who moved to Brentwood. Over the past four years, we’ve issued between 420 and 560 of these permits each year.”
Though not yet approved, other possible projects on the horizon for Brentwood include the development of Bridle Gate, consisting of mixed residential and commercial buildings at the end of Sand Creek Road. Also, an application for the development of 11 acres at the intersection of Vineyards Parkway and Pioneer Square by Shea Homes is pending. The company would use the acreage to construct 72 attached, single-family homes for active adults.