How Will Solano’s Rules for Developing Near Travis AFB Impact CA Forever?

[Note from BenIndy: The Daily Republic reported this morning that the minor updates to the Travis Air Force Base’s Land Use Compatibility Plan, which will be on the agenda at Thursday’s commission meeting, may not impact the CA Forever development. That said, this conversation has brought to our attention how land use around TAFB is regulated, which in turn raised some serious questions about how much of the proposed new community will be in built in restricted zones where schools, hospitals, nursing homes, care centers, and more are prohibited. Read more below.]

Commission to review land-use plan changes for Travis, Rio Vista

Daily Republic, by Todd R. Hansen, July 9, 2024

FAIRFIELD — The Solano Airport Land Use Commission on Thursday will review proposed mapping changes to the Travis Air Force Base Land Use Compatibility Plan that opponents of the East Solano Plan had hoped could impact the development.

But that does not appear to be the case.

“We don’t know for sure if there are any impacts on the East Solano Plan since all we have is what is in their initiative and these proposed amendments did not study the East Solano Plan. The analysis of the ad hoc committee was focused on current FAA guidance and updates received from TAFB on their Assault Landing Training Overlay Zone and Rio Vista Airport,” James Besek, director of the county Department of Resource Management said in an email response to the Daily Republic.

The commission meets at 7 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors chamber on the first floor of the administration building, 675 Texas St., in Fairfield.

“For Thursday’s meeting, staff is providing a presentation of the proposed amendments developed by the (Airport Land Use Commission) ad hoc committee for both the Travis Air Force Base and Rio Vista (metropolitan Airport) land use and compatibility plans to ensure that they reflect the most current information related to operations at TAFB and Rio Vista airport and FAA guidance. The amendments are only a proposal by the ad hoc committee and nothing will change in this meeting,” Besek stated.

He added, “There is no recommendation to change or expand the boundaries of any Travis land-use zone, including Zone C, in this report or in the recommendations of the ad hoc committee.”

Members of Solano Together, opponents of the East Solano Plan, thought the new map showed Zone C expanding into the development area with its lower housing density allowances.

“The proposed amendments to the (Travis Air Force Base Land Use Compatibility Plan) include the addition of the Low Altitude Maneuvering Zone; guidance regarding wildlife hazards; clarification regarding the inclusion of second or accessory dwelling units when calculating residential densities; and other minor amendments,” the commission document states.

The compatibility plan changes were put together by a committee of three commissioners – Vice Chairman Stephen Vancil, Don Ryan and Jeanine McAnaney, all former Air Force pilots who were stationed at Travis Air Force Base. McAnaney is still a commercial airline pilot.

The compatibility plan is designed to protect Travis missions, and changes to that plan occur when the needs of mission specifics or training change.

This is an information meeting with the proposed amendments going to the full commission for the first time. No action is anticipated.

Questions and Comments from BenIndy:

As the Daily Republic reports above, the updates proposed in the draft TAFB land-use compatibility plan, do not place any additional restrictions on CA Forever’s proposed development.

However,  the adopted LUCP map from 2015 (Fig. 1, page 13) and the 2024 draft map (Fig. 1, page 8) may show significant pre-existing and continuing restrictions on part of the land California Forever intends to develop for its new city.

Specifically – albeit speculatively, as disclaimed below – an earnest attempt at overlaying the LUCP map and a map of Flannery Associates’ current holdings, with a dashed outline of the projected new community’s boundaries, may be showing us that about half of the new community could be in an area designated  by the 2015 and 2024 LUCP maps as Zone C.

Zone C is shown to have have more frequent and foreseeable air traffic.

Schools, nursing homes, day care centers, libraries, and hospitals are prohibited in Zone C.

Additionally, it stands to reason that if schools and nursing homes are prohibited in Zone C, presumably due to noise and air pollution, perhaps parks and similar services for children and residents over 55 shouldn’t be built in Zone C either.

So, will schools and hospitals, and perhaps parks as well, only be built in the eastern half of CA Forever’s planned community?

If so, what are the implications for equitable access, emergency support and services, and more?

Will wealthier residents pay more to live closer to essential services and nonessential amenities in this walkable city?

OK, now let’s talk about this messy map.

The graphic below is a gif that shows two publicly available maps overlaid: the big map with the purple in the middle is the draft 2024 LUCP map (which is substantively the same as the 2014 adopted map; see links above if you’d like to check). The small map was produced by Solano County to show Flannery’s current holdings, with purchased parcels shown as yellow squares.

The dashed-line shape in the center of the yellow-squared parcel map shows the location of California Forever’s projected new city.

Now let’s adjust the transparency to see if we can get a sense of the overlap.

Disclaimer: This gif was cobbled together using publicly available maps and data available in the 2024 and 2015 LUCPs, and maps of the Flannery holdings developed by Solano County. Please be aware the nice folks at BenIndy are amateurs when it comes to graphical design. We used Canva to overlay the maps, doing our best to align key landmarks, and adjusted the transparency of one map to give an impression of the impacted areas. This image is for exploratory and speculative purposes only, is possibly inaccurate, and should not be shared without also sharing this disclaimer. via GIPHY.

It sure looks like the western half the city will be in Zone C, doesn’t it? And if Zone C can’t have schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc., etc. … we have questions.

To be very candid, though, the above and below represent speculations. And let’s be honest: if these speculations about inequitable access are actually realized, CA Forever’s community will not be substantively worse than any other city already out there (in this regard, anyway). It would be unfair to claim otherwise.

However, it’s important to consider the above when voters are being served the glossy marketing CA Forever has made in support of its East Solano Plan. Most especially, any claims regarding high-density neighborhoods and equitable access to essential resources should be viewed with all of this in mind.

All this shared, please pay attention to the many disclaimers and caveats listed in this meandering, exploratory, and speculative commentary. This post contains questions and comments, not reportable facts. These maps may be inaccurate. Until a sanctioned map overlay is produced by the county, the map BenIndy created is purely speculative, and must not be reproduced or shared without also sharing that fact.

If we are provided with a sanctioned map, or information that contradicts the above, we will of course share it. You can write us at benindy @ Just, please be nice about it. We know this is a heated discussion, but we did our best to disclaim and disclose all the various ifs-ums-and-maybes.

The Commission meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7pm., in the Solano County Administration Center, Board Chambers, First Floor, 675 Texas Street, Fairfield, CA 94533. The Thursday, July 11 meeting appears to be open to the public, with an open public comment period.

If you have questions about how the East Solano Plan will impact TAFB, or how the LUCP as drafted will impact California Forever’s ambitions for the area, consider attending this meeting to learn more.
As the commissioners stated, no action will be taken at this meeting. But they may be able to answer questions if you have them.

MORE . . .

>> Get involved… Solano Together is another local organization opposing California Forever. Between now and November, you can get a yard sign from Solano Together and send Solano Together a much needed donation.

>> Read more… BenIndy coverage of the billionaire land grab, California Forever / East Solano Plan.