Category Archives: Solano County Board of Supervisors

What is Local Media Saying About Solano County’s East Solano Plan Impact Report?

[BenIndy: Here are some initial takes on the report from the Vallejo Times-Herald. All emphasis (bolded sections) was added by the BenIndy and was not in the original article.]

Cars drive over hills on Highway 12 between Suisun City and Rio Vista. California For ever released a survey this week with economic data regarding Solano County. | Chris Riley / The Reporter.

Vallejo Times-Herald, by Nick McConnell and Matthew Brown, July 19, 2024. Also published in The Reporter.

Solano County raised concerns about the impacts of California Forever’s East Solano Plan, citing questions over water, traffic, taxes, agriculture, Travis Air Force Base, and other issues in its initiative report released Thursday evening.

The county estimates that the first phase of the project would lead to an estimated annual fiscal deficit of $5.9 million for the county and $6.5 million for the fire district, and the full buildout would lead to annual deficits of $103.1 million and $ 88.8 million, respectively.

The report was compiled to outline the potential impact and magnitude of the plan and was agreed upon at a Board of Supervisors Meeting last month. The report will be presented to the board on Tuesday morning when supervisors will decide whether to place the initiative on the ballot or enter a development agreement directly.

“We hope this report inspires a constructive debate of the issues facing this community,” said Bill Emlen, Solano County Administrator. “Compiling this impact analysis on the new community proposal has been a herculean effort by the county team given its size and scope nearly doubling our current county population at buildout — and its sweeping impacts on our environment, economy, and mobility.”

The East Solano Plan would be significantly larger than any other developments proposed in the county or across the state in recent years, weighing in at well over 10 times the size and number of residential units the county has seen proposed. As this initiative was filed only a few months after the intentions of the landholders were announced, the report explains that the county did not have sufficient time to create an EIR before November.

As stated in the report: “The fact that the Initiative will be presented to the voters without the benefit of an EIR, or objectively prepared planning and engineering studies expected for a new community proposal of this magnitude, is a significant issue that warrants further public consideration as the Initiative is discussed and debated during the months leading up to the November vote.”

From 2019 to 2023, California Forever, then known as Flannery Associates, expressed to the county that it only wished to use the land for agricultural purposes. They asked questions about drilling for irrigation, the report explains, and reportedly indicated an interest in planting olive trees on a “substantial portion” of the property. The county learned of the organization’s intentions along with the public when the New York Times published a story about the company last September.

The initiative does not include sufficient information for county approval at this stage, the report indicates, and an EIR and Development Agreement with the county would be necessary to iron out those details. It is unclear, however how those changes could be made after the initiative is passed, as the initiative does not include a mechanism to solve those issues.

“The Initiative does not specifically address obligations of the proponents to make changes to the plan if, for example, a significant environmental impact is identified,” the report reads. “As a result, the Initiative places the voters in a difficult position because they will not have available the type of important site-specific environmental information typically available.”

Without the ability to review or influence developments in the new community beyond a “superficial level”, the report explains that both county government and the public could be left without recourse if California Forever wishes to alter the plan at a later time.

The county’s assessment of California Forever’s infrastructure and public utilities needs detailed a miles-long price tag, but with little to no information on funding sources, Solano County isn’t quite sure who’s fronting the bill. California Forever’s proposed initiative cites the implementation of a Public Facilities and Financing Plan that would “finance, build, own and maintain” local infrastructure and public service facilities, without charging other Solano cities or the county.

California Forever CEO Jan Sramek talks to journalists after the company announced the proposed location of the new city they would like to create west of Rio Vista. | Chris Riley / The Reporter.

However, the county’s report notes several times that it hasn’t even seen this plan yet, meaning it isn’t sure where the money would be coming from to build and upkeep a massive infrastructure venture –– or if the funding even exists. Just because California Forever says it will pay, the report says it doesn’t guarantee that “adequate facilities and services would be provided.”

In the county’s projection, water treatment appears to be one of the biggest standalone price points on the public utilities bill. Under Phase 1, a projection of 20,000 dwelling units, wastewater output is estimated at 3.56 million gallons per day. The county estimates this would jump to nearly 24.5 million gallons per day with the project’s Buildout estimation of 160,000 dwelling units. The county expects output to be even higher, as these estimates don’t even include non-residential wastewater.

Under these projections, the new community would need extensive plumbing and new treatment plants. California Forever has proposed two sites for the treatment. Totaling the new sites and the pipeline infrastructure to feed them, the county estimates a cost of $996 million to accommodate California Forever’s Buildout scenario. Water from the seasons must also be accounted for –– since there is no existing stormwater drainage system, California Forever would have to build one from scratch, costing an estimated $625 million to accommodate the Buildout scenario.

California Forever’s proposal maintains that it wouldn’t require the diversion of water resources from other jurisdictions to feed its own by relying primarily on surface water, groundwater, and recycled water. The county projects Phase 1 water needs to be between 10,000 and 13,000 AFY, jumping to 44,000 to 75,000 AFY, meaning the Buildout phase would require between 14.3 billion to 24.4 billion gallons of water per year to accommodate the new community.

Sheep graze in a plot of land east of CA 113 in Rio Vista owned by the government that California Forever hopes to exchange for a section of Jepson Prairie. | Chris Riley / The Reporter.

According to a water study released in June, California Forever claims to have already acquired 5.3 billion gallons of water per year. However, the county report states that California Forever has not explicitly identified a surface water source for the new city. Relying on groundwater and recycled water would add more to the infrastructure bill. The county estimates that treatment plants for groundwater and a distribution system would cost $354.6 million by Buildout. A recycled water distribution system was estimated at $100 million. As for other services and amenities, the Buildout phase’s projection of a population of 400,000 would make California Forever’s city the most populated in Solano County.

The report notes that the various civil services –– law enforcement, firefighters, libraries and schools –– required to accommodate the Buildout population would far surpass the current level of services provided in each jurisdiction. Schools alone would occupy a huge portion of these costs. The county estimates just over 8,000 students after Phase 1 and nearly 66,000 by Buildout, which would require nearly $6 billion in school facility costs alone.

Rezoning California Forever’s land holding, the county estimates, would have impacts on the value of the land itself and the natural services the land provides. The county says that it would lose out on $6.7 million in annual earnings from the agricultural land the project would occupy, which includes the Rio Vista Parkland area. An ecosystem services valuation, which included water, climate regulation, waste treatment, erosion prevention, biodiversity and aesthetics, estimated an added loss of just over $11 million. Biodiversity alone was priced at $8 million, accounting for most of the value, followed by aesthetics at $1.1 million and waste treatment at $518,000.

A spokesperson for California Forever indicated that the organization has yet to review all of the report’s findings. Still, reports commissioned to consultants by California Forever came to “different conclusions,” finding that the project would provide “53,000 and 87,000 permanent new jobs across all of Solano County, and a net tax revenue surplus of $44 to $54 million per year for Solano County.”

“We look forward to working with all stakeholders to review the collective findings and deliver the information everyone needs to gain confidence that this project would create a stronger Solano County,” the spokesperson said.

Executive Summary of the Solano County Impact Report for East Solano Plan

Jan Sramek, chief executive officer of California Forever, speaks during the Solano County Board of Supervisors meeting at the Government Center in Fairfield, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. | Aaron Rosenblatt / Daily Republic.

By BenIndy, July 19, 2024

On June 25, 2024, the Solano County Board of Supervisors directed County staff to prepare a report on the proposed “Rezoning of 17,500 acres of Land in East Solano County to Allow the Development of a New Community” Initiative, aka California Forever’s East Solano Plan.

The report, as outlined in Elections Code section 9111, was to address several specific impacts, including “fiscal impacts, consistency with county plans, effects on land use and infrastructure, and impacts on the community’s ability to attract business,” among other topics requested by the Board of Supervisors.

The report landed today. It’s 98 pages long. And it’s a beast.

Here it is, stored on our server for your review: Rezoning of 17,500 acres of Land in East Solano County to Allow the Development of a New Community Elections Code 9111 Report. Read it, print it, study it. There’s a lot to look at.

But before we start reading, let’s first acknowledge the tremendous volume of time, energy, expertise, and resources that went into this stunningly robust report. Given the circumstances, County Staff and consultants appear to have considered a wide variety of concerns as fully as they could given the time constraints, and done a phenomenal job trying to fit a year (at least) of work into less than a month. (CA Forever’s own impact report, which produced a far rosier outlook on the development’s impacts on Solano, apparently took 6 months to put together.)

We’re astounded and grateful. Solano should be astounded and grateful. This is a level of service that speaks not just to the importance of the issue, and how high the stakes are for our collective future, but also to the qualities that demonstrate that in Solano, local governance is built on the foundation of transparency, accountability, and respect for its constituents.

Transparency, accountability, and respect. Kudos are owed to County Staff and leaders.

However, given the length and complexity of the beast, it is unlikely it will be widely read, at least in its entirety.

For that reason, the BenIndy is publishing the report’s executive summary in full, without commentary. It’s just below.

We will also be posting a few more takeaways in the coming days, which will most definitely include plenty of commentary. We’re soliciting commentary from various folks and welcome commentary from Solano residents. (benindy @ mngl . ca).

We will also be  looking at how Benicia City Staff chose to answer questions the County put to them about anticipated impacts, so we can consider how Benicia City Staff and leadership are choosing to tackle the issue. We hope to share some of  the responses produced by other cities as well.

Once more, you can view the full report here: Rezoning of 17,500 acres of Land in East Solano County to Allow the Development of a New Community Elections Code 9111 Report.

This summary has been modified for formatting purposes only. Items that were bolded in the report are bolded in this post.

Buckle in.


Continue reading Executive Summary of the Solano County Impact Report for East Solano Plan

California ForNever Rallying Solano Residents to Read County’s East Solano Plan Impact Report, Speak Out at Tues. 2pm Board of Supes Meeting

Clicking the image will redirect you to the page to purchase California ForNever signs like the one above.

SOLANO COUNTY’S Impact Report Review

Message from California ForNever, received July 19, 2024

Your presence matters! This is another chance for you to be heard!
The Solano County Board of Supervisors will review the SOLANO COUNTY IMPACT REPORT ordered on June 25, 2024.
This is the ONLY impact report that is relevant to voters. East Solano Plan’s attempt to present their own independent impact report, preempting this meeting, was disrespectful to our community and was meant to confuse the voters.
Their version has no relevance to the issues at hand, nor does it hold any bearing on Solano County’s review or on the decision the Board of Supervisors will make on Tuesday.
In this decisive meeting, the Board of Supervisors can take one of the following actions:
  1. Adopt the ordinance without alteration.
  2. Submit the ordinance without alteration to voters by adopting a Resolution calling a special election and combining it with the statewide November 5, 2024 general election.


At the Board of Supervisors’ discretion, public comments will be heard and limited to one minute.
Our Solano County Board of Supervisors listened to you last time, they will listen to you again!
For the full Solano County impact report and supporting documents, visit:…/east_solano_initiative.asp
To download the overview of the Solano County impact report, see Page 9 of the agenda, item 20 General Government/Land Use/Transportation click this link.

MORE . . .

> Get involved… Solano Together is a 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.

>> Join California ForNever’s Facebook Group to chat with likeminded folks, share news stories, updates, and more – and don’t forget to visit the California ForNever website to see what’s coming up, donate, plus purchase signs and merchandise!

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

Solano County says East Solano Plan will cost billions, lead to more traffic congestion

[BenIndy: Save next Tues. at 2pm to hear more about this report and share a comment before Solano’s Board of Supervisors. We are sharing more information about this and more soon.]

File photo from Solano NewsNet.

The initiative may lead to as much as 94,000 temporary and permanent jobs during the first and build-out phases, the county report says.

Solano NewsNet, by Matthew Keys, July 19, 2024

The Solano County Board of Supervisors will soon receive a preliminary economic impact report on the California Forever growth project known as the East Solano Plan, county officials confirmed to Solano NewsNet this week.

The impact report, set to be discussed during the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, says the plan put forward by California Forever will “create significant fiscal deficits” that will impact Solano County, including the Montezuma Fire Protection District, which provides fire services to unincorporated parts of the county between Fairfield and Rio Vista.

The first phase of the development project would create an estimated annual fiscal deficit of $5.9 million for Solano County and $6.5 million for the fire protection district, the county says in the report. The build-out phase will see the annual deficit rise to $103.1 million for Solano County and $88.8 million for the fire district.

To offset those deficits, Solano County would need to impose a tax of just under $2,000 per single-family home within the new development area, which it calls a “communities facility district.” For multifamily dwellings, the tax would be slightly under $1,000, the report projects.

Infrastructure costs associated with the East Solano Plan would top $6.4 billion for the first phase of the project and over $49 billion for the build-out phase if California Forever and its associates are not able to identify funding sources for that part of the East Solano Plan.

At least six new K-8 schools and two high schools will be needed in the development area, which will cost around $743 million to fund. During the build-out phase, the county estimates the cost of the eight schools will be $5.9 billion.

Read more at Solano NewsNet…


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.

>> Join California ForNever’s Facebook Group to chat with likeminded folks, share news stories, updates, and more – and don’t forget to visit the California ForNever website to see what’s coming up, donate, purchase signs and merchandise, and more!

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