The following Letter to Editor was written by Bob Nunn who wanted to clear the air on several social media postings regarding City of Brentwood Measure L.
Although I do not actively participate in the world of social media, I have been reading the various posts on Next-door regarding Measure L and felt it necessary to be responsive to the No on L serial posters that continue to put out inaccurate information.
Although the list of misstatements is much broader than I will respond to here, I will set the record straight on a few of the more onerous misstatements. This will also be my only post but I can be reached at [email protected] should you have any additional questions.
I would be more than happy to meet with anyone over a cup of coffee downtown to discuss the issue.
My main goal, Measure L aside, is to try and return us to where we used to be. Opposition can be, should be, a friendly discourse where we discuss our different points of view, learn from one another and walk away friends. Somehow the national political nastiness has also shown its ugly face locally. Regardless of the outcome on Measure L let us all work together to be supportive of the community as a whole. Respect differing opinions and don’t resort to threatening repercussions to individuals and businesses if they don’t vote OUR WAY!
Don’t forget, Democracy means you are often on the losing side of an election, but we should all remain respectful of our neighbors.
So here are my top 6 issues to clarify.
Antioch: If we are unsuccessful with Measure L we will absolutely discuss this property with Antioch. In fact, we have already had preliminary discussions. Please do not perceive this as a “threat” or “scare tactic”. It is not. It is simply fact. The primary reason we came to Brentwood first is it is in Brentwood’s school district. I believe, where possible, school district boundaries and City limit lines should be the same. Both Antioch and Brentwood have had this property in their General Plan for development for decades. Antioch is not the boogeyman. They are our neighbors and we are currently developing a very nice community there, adjacent to the Measure L 800 acres. There is very little doubt that we can qualify this for the ballot in Antioch for a 2020 election. Whether the Antioch voters approve it or not is pure speculation at this point and anyone telling you they know with certainty what the Antioch voters will do a year from now is giving you their opinion.
Infrastructure: One of the No on L serial posters has represented multiple times that we can’t go to Antioch because Antioch cannot service this site with sewer and water. That we will be on septic. That our project would also require multiple pumping stations to deal with this issue. This is completely false. I am not sure where this came from or if he just made it up but there is this force we deal with on this planet. It’s called gravity. This property naturally drains to the northeast, to Antioch. It is actually more easily and more inexpensively serviced by Antioch for these infrastructure requirements. Currently Brentwood sewer and water abut the southeast corner of the property. The infrastructure is sized appropriately to accommodate this project. Cities make sure when projects build infrastructure they are sized for future “planned” growth. Brentwood has had plans for this property for decades. The communities of Shadow Lakes and Deer Ridge built the appropriately sized sewer and water to the corner of this property. By that same token Antioch has long had their eye on the development of this property as well and has required the developer to size facilities necessary to serve this site for future growth. How do we know that? BlackhawkNunn is the developer of the project in Antioch that designed the sewer and water lines that have been installed and the next phase will bring sewer and water to the northeast corner of this 800 acre property.
American Avenue: To be clear, we were a bit surprised by the “Superintendents” position on this improvement. We were even more perplexed by Superintendent Volta’s claim that completing the American Avenue loop AND making Balfour 4 lanes to the new American Avenue entrance would have no impact, due to the fact that the same number of cars would be going through the existing intersection. We offered this as part of Measure L due to the fact that this was the recommended long term traffic mitigation goal of 2007-08 task force that studied the traffic issue created by the dead end road. The task force was comprised of both the local school districts (BUSD/LUHS) along with the City of Brentwood and Contra Costa County representatives. Traffic engineers were part of the task force. We merely offered to implement, at no cost to our school districts (which they estimated at $6.6 million) the long term solution they proposed and unanimously supported. Additionally the cost of improving Balfour Road to 4 lanes would add an additional $19 million for a total exceeding $25 million. How Superintendent Volta came to the conclusion that putting the same amount of traffic on what amounts to twice the existing roadway (we would build 17,000 linear feet of new road) does not reduce traffic defies common sense. Of course it reduces traffic and that is why the 4 agencies unanimously agreed in 2008 that this was the solution. If this becomes an Antioch project it is clear that the Brentwood benefits will become Antioch benefits. At this point we cannot suggest what those improvements might look like but I am fairly certain they will not include American Avenue and 4 lanes of Balfour road.
Open Space: An unfortunate common theme to the serial posters is any group supporting Measure L has been bought off. The suggestion that Save Mount Diablo has been bought off is insulting. I have developed a relationship with SMD for more than 25 years. I am a former board member. Board members dedicate their valuable time to serve the mission of SMD, which is to protect critical open space and habitat in the Mt. Diablo area. They have done an unparalleled job for our region. The deal we struck with SMD was based on the fact that we were protecting over 3 times more land than we were developing. The 1,700 acres of permanent open space we are including in Measure L includes 1,360 on the southeast flank of Mt. Diablo. It is property listed by the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy (ECCCHC) as having the highest priority to preserve. The 800 acres of Measure L would develop is listed as the lowest priority. The 800 acres also was well inside the County’s original Urban Limit Line and has been planned for future development by both Antioch and Brentwood. Pretty simple math if you are in the land conservancy business.
Fire District: Most of you are aware of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) BlackhawkNunn entered into with ECCFPD. We agreed to pay considerably more than our impacts to try and be part of the solution to the funding problem that exists today with our fire district. Currently 3 staffed stations service 120,000 people. With our proposal, at project build out, 125,000 people would be serviced by 4 staffed stations. Pretty substantial improvement from what I can see.
Bait and switch: It has also been stated, too many times to mention, that once we get approval of Measure L we will simply change the plan. Offer no Active Adult housing, change the densities, etc., etc., etc. Also completely incorrect. Measure L and its obligations are specific. It is a legally binding document. Any change to the 80% minimum active adult requirement requires a vote of the good people of Brentwood.
In closing I merely felt an obligation to answer the ad nauseum negativity and inaccuracies the small collection of No on L posters continue to state. As residents of Brentwood you have every right to vote in the manner you are most comfortable. My attempt here is merely to provide clarity so if you do decide to vote No it is at least factually based.
Win or lose I look forward to future civil conversations with those of you that voted No so I can better understand your position. I use to enjoy those conversations and hopefully we all can again.