Warning re: Benicia’s “Rose Estates” proposal for Seeno property

Seeno’s proposed Benicia project, “Rose Estates.” (Click on image to enlarge…)

BenIndy – The breaking news story below highlights yet another ominous reminder for Benicia City staff and electeds to be extremely wary of any Seeno proposal to develop here. Which is to say, the “Rose Estates” proposal, which is currently under review. For more info on the “Rose Estates” proposal see the City’s brief description and map (at right)  or dive in deep on the City of Benicia website, either the current proposal page or the long listing of individual documents.

In today’s news, from nearby Brentwood…

Brentwood planning commission denies plan to build 272 homes

CBS News Bay Area, July 18, 2024

The Brentwood Planning Commission on Tuesday denied a controversial housing development project that has unsuccessfully made the rounds through the approval process since the early 2000s.

However, the Brindle Gate project by Albert Seeno-owned West Coast Home Builders and Discovery Builders is not necessarily dead in the water.

Should Seeno appeal the Tuesday decision, Bridle Gate could come before the Brentwood City Council, which could ignore the Planning Commission’s recommendation and approve the application.

The most current version of the project proposes to develop 272 homes on 135 acres in west Brentwood bounded by Old Sand Creek Road to the north, state Highway 4 to the east, the Brentwood Hills residential development to the south, and the edge of the Brentwood Planning Area and Antioch’s city limits to the west.

Location of Bridle Gate project in Brentwood, where 272 homes are being proposed. CITY OF BRENTWOOD

This particular project has drawn the ire of residents over the years for its previous lack of any designated affordable housing, plans to build a school that later disappeared, potential environmental and traffic impacts, and Seeno’s lawsuit against the city for previous project denials, among other reasons.

The latest version of the application included 27 affordable units, along with suggestions for addressing potential traffic issues.

Still, the commissioners this week unanimously agreed that the Bridle Gate project is inconsistent with the city’s general plan, which calls to protect Brentwood’s ridgelines and discourage cut-through traffic.

“We do a great job of designing for future residents, and we have to do a great job designing for current residents,” said Vice Chair David Sparling, who acknowledged many residents are worried about the Brentwood hills turning into a speedway in the proposed development area.

Bridle Gate’s history has spanned the last two decades and entailed multiple versions of the project.

The City Council first approved a modified land-use designation and rezoning request for the Bridle Gate project in 2006. But the Tentative Subdivision Map was never finalized and then expired, along with the associated development agreement.

In 2020, the applicant submitted an application, which was denied. Bridle Gate returned again in 2021 with the newest—and current—application. The Planning Commission was set to decide on it in September 2023 but continued the item, which didn’t resurface until this week.

Prior to the Planning Commission’s decision, Doug Chen, corporate engineer with West Coast Home Builders, spoke on behalf of the applicant, alleging that the project was consistent with the general plan. He said the maximum density would have allowed for 408 units, instead of the 272 proposed.

“So we have gone to the path that we want to have good-sized lots,” Chen said. “We think this will give us a good, solid project, decent-sized lots, good-sized homes and still providing for affordable units that meet the city’s affordable housing requirements.”

The public then weighed in with concerns about increased traffic near an area already congested with cars from Heritage High and Adams Middle schools, small parks proposed for the development, environmental impacts, and an increase of homes in a fire-risk area.

Speaker Dirk Ziegler—also a former Brentwood Planning Commissioner and licensed insurance broker—noted there was not enough defensible space for the future homeowners to secure insurance.

“We are witnessing firsthand rate increases between 20 and 40 percent, and non-renewals of many of the largest insurance companies right here in Brentwood, including areas like Shadow Lakes, Deer Ridge and Trilogy,” Ziegler said. “The west side of Brentwood is now considered a high fire area. Prospective homeowners will face significant challenges in obtaining new insurance.”



City of Benicia North Study Area (Seeno property)

For current information from the City of Benicia, check out their North Study Area web page, https://www.ci.benicia.ca.us/northstudyarea:

Air District launches new air monitoring station in Benicia

[BenIndy: This information is at the bottom of the release, but it’s worth repeating top and center. You can view data from the Benicia-Fitzgerald air monitoring station (BFAMS) on the Air District website by Air Quality Index level and by pollutant concentration level. If you go to those pages, scroll down to the “Eastern Zone” section to check on BFAMS’s data. More info on the effort to expand air monitoring in communities near refineries can be found here. A brief BenIndy overview of the site with screenshots follow this release. To be totally transparent, the BenIndy has unilaterally assigned the station acronym of BFAMS  as it’s currently unclear if there’s an official acronym.]

July 18, 2024, 10:01 AM

SAN FRANCISCO – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is announcing a new air monitoring station in Benicia as part of the agency’s efforts to establish or expand air monitoring stations in areas where large sources of pollution may contribute to localized pollution sources that are not captured by the Air District’s existing network.

The additional data generated by community monitors, like the Benicia air monitoring station, will provide refinery frontline communities with real-time, local-scale air pollution data, reflecting day-to-day cumulative air pollution levels. This data also supports analysis of air quality trends and other air quality assessments.

“This new, state-of-the-art air monitoring station in Benicia is a major step forward in assessing and addressing refinery emissions in a community impacted by those emissions” said Dr. Philip Fine, executive officer of the Air District. “The station will provide crucial data to better respond to incidents and to inform our plans to better protect residents. It is one of many tools the Air District is employing to improve air quality in communities near large pollution sources such as refineries.”

“This new Benicia air monitoring station is a vital addition to our community, providing us with the detailed, real-time data needed to understand and address our air quality concerns,” said Steve Young, Benicia mayor and member of the Air District Board of Directors. “It’s a step in the right direction for ensuring the health and safety of Benicia’s residents.”

The Air District is prioritizing communities with petroleum refineries and large renewable fuels manufacturing facilities, such as Benicia. The new station, the Benicia-Fitzgerald air monitoring station, is located near East 2nd and East J Street in Benicia.

The Benicia-Fitzgerald air monitoring station provides real-time data on the following pollutants: particulate matter, or PM2.5, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and black carbon.

While the Air District operates numerous ambient air monitoring stations across the Bay Area, the data from those stations does not reflect pollutant concentrations in every neighborhood. In addition, exposure to pollution varies from place to place and some communities near large industrial facilities bear a disproportionate burden from emissions or other forms of air pollution.

Data from the Benicia-Fitzgerald air monitoring station can be viewed on the Air District website by Air Quality Index level and by pollutant concentration level. More info on the effort to expand air monitoring in communities near refineries can be found here.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area. Connect with the Air District via X/Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Notes on BFAMS from BenIndy:

So what does this new beast look like? Let’s take a look. The following screenshots were taken around 7 pm on July 18, 2024. They are here for illustrative purposes only.


  • This screenshot from BAAQMD’s Air Quality Data webpage shows the Benicia-Fitzgerald Air Monitoring Station’s (BFAMS) readings of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), helpfully indicating elevated levels with yellow.


  • Users can click the Pollutants button to toggle the display to check on other pollutants.


  • The pollutants BFAMS is monitoring include Ozone, Fine Particulate Matter, High Conditions, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, and Sulfur Dioxide. Clicking the pollutant you are interested in will change the display to show those readouts specifically.


  • Per BAAQMD’s explainers, “High Conditions displays the highest overall AQI value estimate for each hour, and in the right-hand column the highest AQI for the day, which will usually be for ozone in the summertime and PM2.5 in the wintertime.”

This is a wonderful tool for a refinery town.

AMERICA IS A GUN – poem by Brian Bilston

One Nation, Under the Gun by David Horsey

“AMERICA IS A GUN” by Brian Bilston

England is a cup of tea.
France, a wheel of ripened brie.
Greece, a short, squat olive tree.
America is a gun.
Brazil is football on the sand.
Argentina, Maradona’s hand.
Germany, an oompah band.
America is a gun.
Holland is a wooden shoe.
Hungary, a goulash stew.
Australia, a kangaroo.
America is a gun.
Japan is a thermal spring.
Scotland is a highland fling.
Oh, better to be anything
than America as a gun.

Paul Millicheap, who writes as Brian Bilston, is a British poet and author. Born in Birmingham, he studied at the University of Wales, Swansea, before entering the publishing industry as a marketing manager, notably for John Wiley in Oxford. Wikipedia

Benicia City Council Publishes Draft Industrial Safety Ordinance for Community Review and Feedback

Draft Ordinance LIVE

Benicia’s draft Industrial Health and Safety Ordinance is now live! Read and provide feedback on the draft ‘IHSO’ and supporting documents by clicking the link or image below.



Click the image to be redirected to the draft IHSO page. You may need to register for an EngageBenicia.com account to review the document. | Screenshot from EngageBenicia.com.

The deadline to submit feedback is August 17, 2024. You will need an account for EngageBenicia.com to read the draft and leave feedback.

If you would prefer to email comments or suggestions, the directions for how to do so are included on the linked page.

For safe and healthy communities…