Antioch, CA – On Thursday February 8, 2018 the “Antioch Community to Save Sand Creek” a coalition of Antioch residents and community groups, submitted the text of the “Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative” to the City of Antioch.
The initiative is in response to threats of thousands of houses in the Sand Creek area at Antioch’s southern border, the undeveloped area stretching from Deer Valley Road west to Black Diamond Mines Regional Park. The initiative would give Antioch voters the right to vote on Sand Creek Area projects or changes to Antioch’s Urban Limit Line.
The City has 15 days to provide a title and summary before signature gathering for the initiative can begin.
The “Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative” would:
- Require a vote to allow any major development in the initiative area;
- Limit the extent and amount of development in a 3 square mile (1800-acre) area between Deer Valley Road and Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve;
- Protect the existing Urban Limit Line;
- Preserve nature, open spaces, and historic qualities;
- Maintain agriculture;
- Protect the Sand Creek stream corridor;
- Limit traffic in Antioch;
- Decrease impacts on schools, water police fire and other services;
- Help focus city investments, revitalization and economic development on existing neighborhoods, downtown and along the waterfront.
It would require a vote of Antioch voters to allow more intensive development.
It would protect Antioch’s Urban Limit Line. In 2005, Antioch voters adopted Measure K establishing an Urban Limit Line. Under that measure, through December 31, 2020, only the voters may change the location of the Line. After that date—2 years from now–voter approval is not required and the urban boundary can be changed by the Antioch city council any time they want. Maintaining voter approval of the urban limit line is in the best interests of Antioch residents.
The city has 15 days to provide title and summary before the initiative petitions can be printed, and before signatures can be gathered to qualify the measure.
“I became involved with the ‘Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative’ not only to help conserve and protect open spaces in Antioch, but also to reduce an uptick in unneeded and unwanted development and growth. Antioch, and especially Highway 4, does not have the infrastructure to support an additional 4000 or more houses,” said Selina Button, an Antioch Rivertown resident who is a member of the steering committee of the ”Antioch Community to Save Sand Creek” coalition. “There is so much beauty in Antioch, from the San Joaquin River to Mt. Diablo views, and we have a responsibility to ensure that this natural beauty is preserved for future generations.”
“For so long it has felt like Antioch has been led blindly by our city council. This gives residents a chance to let their voices be heard, giving control back to the people,” said Kristina Gutilla, one of the Antioch residents who submitted the petition to the city.
“Much of Antioch’s creeks, marshes, & landscapes have been paved over,” said Michael Amorosa, who helped create the ”Antioch Community to Save Sand Creek” coalition. “The extremely unique Sand Creek Area, which I like to refer to as the Upper Lone Tree Valley, is high in biodiversity and is an aesthetically alluring watershed with century old riparian forests that absolutely should not vanish in any way, shape, or form. This extraordinary slice of virgin land needs to remain as open space, not bulldozed over.”
“Antioch has a General Plan to guide development in Sand Creek. The amount of development proposed—4,000 units– is crazy to begin with but the city has ignored the General Plan every time a project has been proposed. If they continue at the same rate, we’re talking 4,000 to 8,000 more houses on the south edge of the city,” said Seth Adams, Land Conservation Director for Save Mount Diablo.
“Conservation of the Sand Creek Area has long been one of our goals. It contains several rare and unusual plants with the potential for more. It is also an important transitional zone between three major ecoregions. Preservation of this area will allow all species to adapt to changing conditions,” said Lesley Hunt, California Native Plant Society, East Bay Chapter.
For more information see www.facebook.com/antiochsavesandcreekandstoptheranch/
Background – Antioch’s population has doubled in the past 30 years
Antioch’s population has doubled in the past 30 years to 115,000 people. There has been a huge of residential development. The City has a large jobs/housing imbalance, with many more houses than jobs, creating a lot of traffic. Many of the desirable natural, open space and historic qualities of the city have been lost. Much of what remains is in danger. Our quality of life is threatened.
Recently, large-scale subdivisions have been proposed in the Sand Creek area covered by this Initiative. Although the city claims it would limit development in the Sand Creek Focus Area to approximately 4000 houses, it’s ignored and changed its own General Plan for every application and has allowed far more development.
The entire Sand Creek Area is about 2783 acres. For every recent project in Sand Creek, the city has ignored and changed the General Plan to approve even more development than the General Plan would have allowed.
Two projects have been approved so far, Aviano and Promenade with 1183 houses on 281 acres, east of Kaiser. Two projects are currently proposed, the 1300 house “The Ranch” project by Southern California developer Richland Communities (west of Kaiser), and the 301- house “Albers Ranch / the Olive Groves” (south of Kaiser) on about 645 acres–both projects again proposing to dramatically change the General Plan.
If the past trend continues of ignoring the General Plan at the same rate for the entire 2,783 acres in the Sand Creek area, (east and west of Kaiser Hospital) it might actually include between 4,000 and 8,000 houses.
The city has also said they want senior housing at Sand Creek, supposedly with fewer impacts on roads and schools–but after approving the Aviano senior project, they later removed the senior requirement–which means additional traffic and impacts on schools.
Substantial additional development would be harmful to the residents of Antioch. It would destroy agriculture, stream qualities, and scenic views. Habitat for wildlife would be lost.
More development would make traffic congestion worse in existing neighborhoods, on Lone Tree Way, and on Highway 4. It would increase air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Services such as police, fore and schools would be stretched for existing Antioch residents to serve new areas. The city’s southern hills and valleys are the scenic backdrop for the city and their loss would damage property values. More housing would also compete with existing property values.