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Tuesday November 5, 2019 — Local Elections
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City of Brentwood
Measure L Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results


4,334 votes yes (28.5%)

10,863 votes no (71.5%)

Shall the Initiative to Allow for Development of Residential Dwellings and Commercial/Civic Uses, and the Protection of Open Space, by amending the Urban Limit Line, the Brentwood General Plan, and Municipal Code; Adopting a New Specific Plan; Constructing Road Improvements; and Providing Funds for Public Facilities be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Details — Official information

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Brentwood City Attorney

This Measure concerns approximately 815 acres (the Area) located on Brentwood’s western border, bounded by Balfour Road, Deer Valley Road, the City of Antioch, and the Shadow Lakes development. The Measure qualified for the ballot by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters and which would require majority voter approval to become law. It would:

  • modify the City’s Urban Limit Line, which marks the City’s development limits, to include the Area;
  • amend the City’s General Plan, the framework for City development, to reflect the Measure’s provisions;
  • adopt a specific plan to govern Area development; and
  • amend the Brentwood Municipal Code, containing City laws, to establish Area development and use standards.

In the Area’s residential portion (approximately 555 acres), up to 2,400 housing units could be constructed, of which at least 80% would be age-restricted (generally, 55 and over). No more than 20% of the residential units could be developed with non-age-restricted housing. Housing would range from single family homes (1-18 units per acre) to multifamily development (up to 30 units per acre). Overall Area density could not exceed 3 units per acre. All multifamily development would be age-restricted, and would be prohibited on hilltops, ridges, and within 100 feet of the Area’s eastern boundary. 

Community recreation uses (approximately 15 acres) could include gathering areas and recreational features.

No less than 225 acres would be permanently designated open space and could include agriculture and associated facilities.

Commercial/civic development would generally be limited to approximately 20 acres at the Area’s southwestern corner, and could include agricultural and farm-to-table uses, outdoor amphitheater, wineries, hotel uses, and nurseries. Residential development could also be located here. Senior care facilities would be permitted by right as a commercial use in the Area’s commercial and residential portions, and would not be included in the housing cap.

American Avenue would be extended to intersect Balfour Road at a second location. Portions of Balfour Road would be improved and widened, in phases. Area development would generate transportation impact fees. While the Measure proposes such fees be spent on Deer Valley Road safety improvements, the City does not exercise control over that roadway and could not require such expenditures. Other fees would be imposed on Area development for such purposes as schools; parks; and fire, drainage, flood control, water, and sewer facilities.

A report ordered by the City Council to study the Measure’s impacts found that, over time, it could:

  • provide the City with impact fees to address municipal services necessitated by Area development, plus an annual surplus of $2.6-$3.1 million;
  • provide the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District with $2-$2.5 million in new operating revenues annually, while also necessitating additional fire services;
  • generate approximately 300 additional students, thus contributing to capacity issues at local schools; and
  • potentially positively impact the local economy through increased local spending.

Area development would require approval of other agencies. Amending the Measure would require voter approval for 20 years, following its effective date; thereafter, the City Council could approve modifications as allowed by law.


Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

Arguments FOR

We’ve lived in and served Brentwood for generations as police officers, business owners, mayors, teachers and environmentalists. We care deeply about Brentwood. Before you believe misinformation from naysayers who oppose everything in Brentwood, look closely at the real benefits of Measure L, coming at no taxpayer cost:

Measure L — permanently preserves over 1,700 acres of open space.
Save Mount Diablo supports Measure L because according to Land Conservation Director Seth Adams, Measure L is providing an opportunity for a once-in-a-generation environmental tradeoff agreement to protect over 1,500 acres of open space between Brentwood and Mount Diablo: a net conservation gain. Another 225 acres will be protected on the property itself following Measure L’s passage. 

Measure L — millions for fire protection and emergency response.
The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is critically underfunded which, coupled with California’s wildfires, is hazardous for everyone. Passing Measure L will contribute an estimated $175,000,000 in direct revenue to critical public services, including funding for fire district staffing and a new station, road construction, and water line extensions — making Brentwood safer. 

Measure L — creates real jobs.
It provides hundreds of permanent local jobs, including over 200 healthcare careers at John Muir and Kaiser.

Measure L — road repairs for improved traffic flow and safety.
Improvements include widening Balfour Road and extending American Avenue. Also eligible for Measure L funding is Deer Valley Road to Kaiser (which hasn’t been improved in decades).

Measure L — millions for local schools
Yet as 80% senior housing, it won’t add many students to Brentwood schools.

Finally, by adding a senior community, Measure L’s benefits come with very little impact. Seniors shop locally and contribute far less crime and rush-hour traffic than other residents.

Yet if Brentwood voters don’t approve Measure L, Antioch could annex the property and build non-senior housing. Even within Antioch, any children from the community would attend Brentwood’s already crowded schools.

Let’s be sure Brentwood reaps the benefits of Measure L — vote Yes. 

Kevin R. King, Retired Brentwood Police Officer & 2018 Brentwood Citizen of the year
Barbara Guise, Former Mayor, City of Brentwoodr
Carlos P. Sanabria, Brentwood Union School District Board Member
Annette Beckstrand, Brentwood Business Owner & Former Vice Mayor, City of Brentwood
Steven Padgett, Retired Firefighter

— Contra Costa County Elections Department

Arguments AGAINST

Influential developers who crafted Measure L are trying to sell their plan to Brentwood – don’t buy it. It breaks Brentwood’s voter-approved Urban Limit Line to construct 2,400 houses we don’t need on 815 acres of dry-farmed agricultural land. That’s why thousands of Brentwood residents and groups like Greenbelt Alliance, the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, Carpenters Local Union 152, and other organizations oppose Measure L.

Measure L is a LOSING PROPOSITION because:

    • Worsens Fire/EMS deficits. Our services are severely underfunded. Emergency response can take 8 minutes in Brentwood instead of the 3-5 stipulated in our General Plan. Insurance rates are up 198.2% since 2014. This development adds 11.6% service territory putting even more residents and homes at risk.


    • Increases traffic. This project adds 14,970 daily car trips without sufficient road safety improvements, especially to Deer Valley Road. Seven Brentwood intersections become worse, and the CHP is concerned this development will increase accidents and impede their ability to respond to emergencies.


    • Impacts Schools. This project puts both districts further over capacity, currently 1,313 students for high schools and 790 for K-5. Superintendents say extending American Avenue will not help the school traffic as there is no reduction in the number of daily vehicles to the schools.


    • Measure L adds thousands of houses, while 88% of Brentwood residents already commute out of town to major job centers creating untenable traffic on Vasco Road and Highway 4. We need to concentrate on bringing viable jobs to Brentwood before further expansion.


    • Removes Local Control. Measure L overrides Brentwood’s General Plan and stifles the ability of residents and City government to require changes to their project.


  • Creates irreversible environmental damage. Acres of farmland will be lost forever; construction will lead to 20 years of constant noise and diminished air quality.

Our Urban Limit Line is our DEFENSE against unjustified sprawl, additional traffic, lost farmland and developer control. VOTE NO ON MEASURE L!

Kathy Griffin, Principal Officer, Brentwood Alliance for Smart Growth, Traffic Abatement, Jobs Creation and Land Protection
Rod Flohr, Brentwood Resident
John R. Pock, Lead Field Representative, Carpenters Local Union 152 and Brentwood Resident
Jovita Mendoza, Brentwood Resident
John Fink, Former Brentwood Planning Commissioner

— Contra Costa County Elections Department

Replies to Arguments FOR

Before you believe promises from developers eager to build another housing project in Brentwood, remember these are the same promises they always make. Are roads less crowded because of the improvements? No. Has fire and emergency funding kept up? No. Have schools become less crowded? No. Have enough local jobs been created to keep our 88% who commute off the freeways? No. Is there more open space? Of course not.

The proponents claim millions in benefits not paid by taxpayers, but they would be paid for by the new residents, all taxpayers, who will pay for all the developer fees in the price of their homes, and who will pay new taxes as well. Yes, that includes taxes for fire and emergency service, but not enough to cover the added burden.

Senior housing contributes only a sixth of conventional developer fees for schools. Brentwood’s state-mandated LCFF funding formula is based on school attendance. Homes without students won’t help with that.

Save Mount Diablo wants to trade away 815 acres here that doesn’t belong to them for 1,500 acres near Clayton. They offered this trade with no thought of our increased traffic, slow fire/EMS response, and school crowding. Greenbelt Alliance and Sierra Club agree this is a bad deal for Brentwood and the environment. Brentwood and 10,000 Antioch voters will continue, and are united in upholding our ULL’s and preserving open space.

If building more houses could fix our problems, Brentwood would have no problems.

Please vote NO on Measure L.

Kathy Griffin, Principal Officer, Brentwood Alliance for Smart Growth, Traffic Abatement, Jobs Creation and Land Protection
Rod Flohr, Brentwood Resident
John R. Pock, Lead Organizer, Carpenters Local Union 152 and Brentwood Resident
Sinziana Todor, Brentwood Resident
John Sierra, Environmental Science Teacher, Freedom High School, Sierra Club Representative and Brentwood Resident

— Contra Costa County Elections Department

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Don’t be fooled by inflated numbers and scare tactics from a few naysayers without solutions to the challenges facing Brentwood. By pushing their own agenda, they could prevent Brentwood from receiving nearly $200,000,000 in public benefits (without raising taxes).

Consider the facts about Measure L:

Defeating Measure L will hurt the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, denying the underfunded and understaffed District tens of millions of dollars.This funding, made possible by Measure L, could be used for staffing, station funding and more.

If Measure L fails, the traffic and school safety nightmare at American Avenue and Balfour Road will get worse.There’s no plan to improve Deer Valley Road to Kaiser without Measure L.

Brentwood’s schools will receive millions in revenue and very few students from this 80% senior community.It generates approximately 83 high school students at full build out. If the land becomes non-senior housing in Antioch, over 1,400 new students would attend Brentwood schools and rush-hour traffic would be significantly worse than with the Measure L plan.

Measure L facilitates unprecedented open space protection.It preserves three times as much open space (1,785 acres) as land it builds upon (590 acres). Save Mount Diablo confirms this abundance of open space could only be protected through Measure L.

Measure L adds hundreds of jobs in healthcare, construction and more.Why don’t our opponents consider those careers viable?

Measure L — the definition of local control.Voters decide the future of Brentwood.

We believe the future of Brentwood is best served with locally controlled funding for fire services, roads, schools and open space.

Mark Evenson, Retired Chief of Police, City of Brentwood 
Inez Wondeh, Chief Executive Officer, Healthcare Organization and Deer Ridge Resident
Mike Nesbitt, Sheetmetal Workers Local Union No. 104 and Deer Ridge Resident
Christine Lujan, Registered Nurse and 2016 John Muir Employee of the Year
Brian Swisher, Former Mayor, City of Brentwood

— Contra Costa County Elections Department

More information

Videos (1)

Election Preview Forum for the Brentwood Measure L in Contra Costa County during the Special November 5, 2019 Elections. Sponsored by Contra Costa County TV, The Contra Costa County Elections Division, The League of Women Voters of West Contra Costa, and The League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley. Moderated by Bob Butler.
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Who supports or opposes this measure?

Yes on Measure L

Organizations (1)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)
No on Measure L

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