[Note from BenIndy: Please bear with us for posting more than usual but Solano Together has responded to the initiative and map released by California Forever and it’s worth your time to see what they have to say. Once again, you can check out California Forever’s full, 83-page initiative text HERE. Sign up to learn more about Solano Together HERE. Images shown below are not original to the Solano Together news release and were added by BenIndy.]
Solano Together, released January 17, 2024
SUISUN CITY – The Solano Together coalition strongly opposes California Forever’s plans for a sprawling new development in rural Solano County announced this Wednesday. After years of secrecy, months of public controversy, and four months of rushed community engagement, Flannery Associates shared initial glimpses of their new proposed community in Southeastern Solano County.
For Solano Together, the details revealed today did not come as a surprise: California Forever continues to be a senseless sprawl development in a remote, undeveloped part of Solano County. These types of projects divert much needed public and private resources away from cities and residents, leaving existing infrastructure to degrade and residents to suffer.
Flannery Associates are going for the “christmas tree” approach for the proposal, trying to sprinkle financial benefits to specific interest groups around the County in a way that distracts from the negative impact of the proposal on water, county resources, traffic, and taxpayers in existing cities.
Jobs: We’ve seen countless development proposals adopted by cities around the region with promises for jobs, only later to go back to ask for modifications in the proposal based on a change in market conditions. And we also know from experience that nearby cities are often in direct competition for companies and services that do want to locate in an area. Vallejo, Fairfield and Vacaville have all invested significant resources in attracting new jobs to their community. Flannery’s incentives to lure those jobs away from the population centers of the county to this new development will only harm our communities and reduce opportunities for existing residents. Based on this track record, the idea of 15,000 new jobs in this area is an empty promise.
Taxpayer Money: The plan purports to be a new approach to development, but its physical location—far away from jobs, services, and infrastructure—points to more of the same, investing scarce public funds in expanding infrastructure rather than investing in improvements for long-time residents. Flannery Associates’ proposal spins their small investment in infrastructure upgrades, such as roads and water pipes, as a huge benefit to the community, when the project relies on millions of dollars of public investment for new roads, sewer and water, and schools, funds that will need to be diverted from other priorities.
What Solano Together Coalition supporters are saying:
“Buying up farmland at low prices and rezoning for housing development has been a quick way to make a buck for decades in California. The plans we’ve seen fly in the face of decades of thoughtful planning and action that was first set into motion to protect Solano’s cherished agricultural industries. Developing highly productive ranch lands into urban uses cannot be undone. We cannot continue to allow developers to put food security, long-term sustainability, and livelihoods on the line in exchange for short-term profits.”—Solano Farm Bureau.
“California Forever has no real plans for public transportation or transit. This development is going to clog our streets, highways, and bridges. It will make our climate worse by paving over farmlands—all while making Solano residents pay the cost”—Duane Kromm, member of the Orderly Growth Committee and former Solano County Board Supervisor.
“California Forever’s proposed plans are a detriment to wildlife, native plant life, and water resources that our ecology and communities depend on. We need to protect Solano County’s open space now and for the future. You don’t need to be an environmentalist to ask: ‘What sort of world are we going to leave our future generations?’”—Princess Washington, Mayor Pro-Tem of Suisun City & Chair of the Sierra Club of Solano County.
“Sprawling developments such as California Forever don’t just permanently destroy nature, habitat for wildlife, and farm and ranchland. These developments also divert much needed public and private resources away from cities and residents. Instead of abandoning our existing cities for something shiny and new, we believe the truly visionary approach would be to make transformative investments in them, improving the lives for both current and future residents.”—Sadie Wilson, Director of Planning and Research at Greenbelt Alliance.
“Flannery Associates’ plans to take surface water from the Sacramento River and/or pump groundwater from the Solano subbasin to support a whole new city would further stress critical water resources in Solano County and the Delta, and threaten to undo recent progress made to manage water resources sustainably and responsibly for future generations.”—Osha Meserve, Lawyer specializing in water and environmental impacts.
“I see nothing in the plans that protects Travis Air Force Base. California Forever’s promises mean nothing if Travis is forced to close due to housing encroachment, glare from 10,000 acres of solar farms, and noise complaints from new residents where sheep now graze. In fact, they aren’t building a city, they’re sprawling housing over 18,000 acres without legally creating a city. That could very well endanger Travis’ mission.”—Catherine Moy, Mayor of Fairfield
Solano Together’s top priorities are to drive growth, development, and economic investment into the county’s existing cities and protect the invaluable agricultural and environmental resources that are central to our community and industries. California Forever fails to do that by doubling down on a pattern of sprawl development that endangers the livelihoods of the agricultural community and taxes Solano’s crucial natural resources such as water, land, habitats, and ecosystems.