Urban Limit Line

(originally published on LiveJournal)

I know, this Live Journal is pretty boring thus far. I hope that when there’s actually action on the adoption front, more of our friends will want to come and play. Right now, I’m using this as a forum to rant about the state of America and/or Antioch in general.

Antioch is a city in the Far East Bay. Until about 10 years ago, it was considered to be the beginning of the middle of nowhere. Since then, however, bunches and bunches of houses have sprung up, with names indicating the landmarks that they gobbled up: Parklands, Laurel Ridge, Black Diamond Ranch, and so on. The neighboring town, Brentwood, also tells its history by the names of housing developments: Cherry Orchard for example.

Since moving here in August 2004, the following developments have come to fruition:

  • Italian piazza looking shopping plaza
  • Two and a half new executive home communities
  • A strip mall anchored by Lowe’s Home Improvement, across from the
  • Strip mall anchored by The Home Depot, and including Michael’s, Linens and Things, fast food restaurants, and the like
  • An extension to the Slatten Ranch shopping complex, which now includes Thomasville Furniture and Old Navy
  • A strip mall of indeterminable name, housing a WinCo foods, Hollywood Video, and the like

That’s what was put together in the last SEVEN months.

Now, the Antioch city council (and the Brentwood city council too, I understand) want to move a line set by the county called the “Urban Limit Line.” Now, I don’t pay to get a local paper, such as The Contra Costa Times. My main sources of news regarding Antioch are the web and a free monthly paper called the Antioch Press. In this month’s issue, Dan Blubaugh, who was identified only as “a consultant” is quoted as saying:

“Everyone wearing the pink badges [stickers reading ‘Hold the Line’] are rich, white people.”

Mr. Blubaugh, please tell me how opening up areas of land currently inhabited by grazing cows, working orchards and vineyards, family farms, and even just plain grass and flowers, is going to help the not-rich, not-white people. The Antioch city council wants the line moved so that a developer can build another executive home “community.” Antioch already houses over 100,000 people. Schools that were built within the last 10 years are already overcrowded. Dallas Ranch Middle School, for example, opened with the intention of housing about 1200 students, and more than 1500 are enrolled. The Antioch Library is crying for support to build another library that could serve the newer portions of the city, closer to Deer Valley High, Dallas Ranch, and many other elementary schools. Highway 4 is jammed going West in the morning and coming back East starting at 3 in the afternoon.

Do you still think we need an executive housing complex? Regular houses, even those built 50+ years ago, are already selling for at least $400,000. How are lower income individuals and families supposed to afford even that much? Executive homes and real estate in Antioch is now selling for over $700,000. If all the people opposing the building are “rich white people”, and the people who are most likely to buy these houses are “rich white people”, then, shouldn’t you listen to your consumers? Market analysis here would seem to indicate that people who live in Antioch DON’T WANT ANYMORE SPRAWL.

We’re tired of sitting in traffic to get on to the highway. We’re tired of finding new and creative backroads that lead into Antioch after 3pm. We’re tired of going to run an errand and hitting every light red because there are too many cars on Lone Tree Way, Deer Valley, Hillcrest, etc.

Building more houses is not the proper way to get more jobs into Antioch. The city must reach out to existing corporations who are headquartered in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Silicon Valley. The city should make it easy and attractive to these companies to open satellite offices in the East Bay: Pittsburg, Bay Point, Antioch, Brentwood, and so on. How much less traffic will be on Highway 4 if this happens? How many more people will be able to work better jobs, closer to home?

I don’t know. I can only hypothesize that bringing real, concrete business into Antioch is the way to encourage positive growth. We don’t need any more consumer services. We don’t need any more houses, especially after the ones in progress are already built. What we need are real solutions to enable people, regardless of income, race, or ethnicity, to live in a town where there’s still open space to dream in, the air we breathe isn’t thick and grey, and where Mom and Dad work 15 minutes away from their childrens’ schools.
Current Mood: aggravated
Current Music:Big Yellow Taxi (the Amy Grant version)

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