Measure L would have protected three times as much land, three square miles (1,785 acres) of the Marsh Creek watershed as would have been developed. This view is Roddy Ranch and Deer Valley, with Horse Valley at left and Brentwood in the distance. (Photo by Stephen Joseph)
Why Save Mount Diablo Supported Measure L in Brentwood
The Measure L area is shown between Brentwood and Antioch. Save Mount Diablo and our partners—including the city of Brentwood—have expanded public lands along the urban limit line. We have protected more than 50,000 acres of open space in east Contra Costa County in a 20-mile long “green wall” stretching southeast from Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve to Los Vaqueros—an area two and a half times bigger than Mount Diablo State Park. The bright green areas represent lands that would be preserved under Measure L. (Protected lands map: Save Mount Diablo)
Read the Full Article from Our E-Newsletter Announcement Below:
Why Does Save Mount Diablo Support Measure L in Brentwood?
Dear Brentwood Residents,
Vote Yes on Measure L on November 5
In November, Brentwood voters are being asked to expand the Urban Limit Line to include 815 acres of Ginochio family land—to allow future development on 590 acres, The Vineyards at Deer Creek (80% of it senior housing). Measure L would protect three times as much land, three square miles (1,785 acres) of the Marsh Creek watershed: 225 acres onsite and 1,560 acres of other incredible Ginochio land. The Measure L area is north of Balfour Road and Heritage High School, and east of Deer Valley Road.
Because of Save Mount Diablo’s work requiring that Urban Limit Line changes be voter approved, Brentwood voters get to decide.
Measure L would protect three times as much land, three square miles (1,785 acres) of the Marsh Creek watershed as would be developed. This view is Roddy Ranch and Deer Valley, with Horse Valley at left and Brentwood in the distance. (Photo by Stephen Joseph)
Measure L is a Huge Net Conservation Gain
Measure L protects three times as much Ginochio land (1,785 acres) as would be built upon (590 acres). Measure L would be a huge net conservation gain, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to trade low resource value Ginochio land to protect three times as much high-value Ginochio land, all in the Marsh Creek watershed.
Marsh Creek starts on Mt. Diablo in Morgan Territory and flows through Brentwood, to Big Break in Oakley. Save Mount Diablo and partners such as East Bay Regional Park District, the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy and California State Parks have protected 15 miles of Marsh Creek’s 34-mile length and about a third of the entire watershed.
Save Mount Diablo Has Helped Control Growth for Decades
Founded in 1971, Save Mount Diablo (SMD) protects land and responds to development projects. We’ve helped expand protected land around Mt. Diablo from 6,788 acres in 1971 to more than 120,000 acres today.
We use all the tools we can, such as grassroots activism, ballot measures, lawsuits, and urban limit lines. We respond to dozens of projects—some we stop, some we make better—and we try to balance development on less sensitive areas—like the Measure L property—with land protection on other properties with better resources. www.savemountdiablo.org
Near Brentwood we helped stop development at Cowell Ranch, where 5,000 houses were proposed, at Roddy Ranch, several garbage dumps, a prison proposal. We were a leader in stopping Measure F in 2010, an Urban Limit Line change south of Balfour. It didn’t protect Deer Valley and it didn’t include enough public benefit. We’re currently defending our “Let Antioch Voters Decide” initiative, which restricts development west of Kaiser and Deer Valley Road in the Sand Creek area.
We’re not elected officials or decision makers, we don’t have unlimited funds, and we pick and choose our battles. We give the public a voice and push the balance back toward nature.
Both Antioch and Brentwood have expressed interest in the Measure L area for decades. Measure L is Ginochio land between Antioch and Brentwood, and is in both cities’ planning areas. Measure L would add 815 acres to the Brentwood Urban Limit Line, 590 acres for the “Vineyards at Deer Creek” senior community project, 225 acres kept as open space.
Measure L Strengthens Brentwood’s Urban Limit Line
Save Mount Diablo helped create Contra Costa’s Urban Limit Lines (ULL) in 1990, strengthened them in 2000, and helped make changes require voter approval in 2004 and 2006. As a result, the county and every city in Contra Costa now have voter-approved urban limit lines.
We’ve spent more money strengthening and defending ULLs here than anyone, but they’re not perfect, and they’re often not permanent. They’re a tool to guide growth. They can be changed in any election by a vote of 50% + 1. The best way to strengthen Urban Limit Lines is to protect land along them.
Before 2000, the Measure L Ginochio property east of Deer Valley Road was inside the ULL. Now it’s outside. 200 acres of Ginochio property west of Deer Valley are currently inside the Antioch Urban Limit Line. Measure L will help protect land along the Line and strengthen it. We negotiated with Blackhawk-Nunn to block the Ginochio 200 acres west of Deer Valley Road from development.
Measure L and the Urban Limit Line Are Working Exactly Like They Should
Save Mount Diablo helped strengthen ULLs in 2004 by making them voter-approved for changes. Before then they could be changed by county supervisors or city councils. Our theory: if developers need voter approval, they have to convince the public their project is a good one and they must balance impacts with a lot of public benefit.
You’ll be hearing about those public benefits during the Measure L campaign—such as less traffic and school impacts from senior housing, and significant benefits to the fire district.
The benefits we focus on are land and wildlife protection, fewer environmental impacts, scenic views, heritage trees, etc. And building a “Green Wall” of parks along the Urban Limit Line to create permanent protection.
Measure L would protect 3-square miles of Ginochio land (1,785 acres) in the Marsh Creek watershed. (Photo by Scott Hein)
Brentwood Has Come A Long Way…
…since the “anything goes” days of the 1970’s and ‘80s. It’s a well-managed city with high land values. We all live in houses or apartments and there’s been a housing crunch since the Gold Rush. What’s important is guiding growth to less sensitive areas while protecting our special places.
One way that Brentwood has improved is with well-planned senior communities. The city has also protected agricultural land on the east. And Brentwood is part of the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy, which balances development by protecting wildlife habitat—14,224 acres since the Habitat Conservancy was created in 2007. Brentwood is helping to protect almost 1,200 acres of wildlife habitat per year in East County.
Brentwood is a gateway to the Delta. In the future it will be equally well-known as the gateway to 120,000 acres of Mt. Diablo wildlands. Right now, for example, you can walk all the way from Brentwood to Livermore or Walnut Creek without ever leaving public land. That protected land is an area bigger than Point Reyes National Seashore or the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It contributes to our amazing quality of life and provides clean air, clean water, and places for our families to play.
Measure L protects 3-square miles of Ginochio land (1,785 acres) in the Marsh Creek watershed. (Photos above and all remaining photos by Scott Hein).
We’re Creating a “Green Wall” of Parks South and West of Brentwood
Public land protection near Brentwood has skyrocketed. While Save Mount Diablo has helped slow growth, we and our partners—including the City of Brentwood—have expanded public lands.
We have protected more than 50,000 acres of open space in East County in a 20-mile ‘Green Wall” stretching southeast from Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve to Los Vaqueros—that’s an area two and a half times bigger than Mt. Diablo State Park. 4,000-acre Marsh Creek State Park and the new 3,000-acre Deer Valley Regional Preserve now border Brentwood on the south and west, although they haven’t yet opened to the public (we’re working on that too). They help make the Urban Limit Line permanent.
We’ve expanded parks on the most sensitive land—such as Roddy Ranch—from Black Diamond Mines four miles east to Deer Valley Road.
The road is a good city boundary. It amounts to a racetrack a lot of the time and too many accidents have made the Measure L Ginochio property infeasible for cattle ranching. Just north of this boundary, our “Let Antioch Voters Decide” initiative will help restrict development west of Deer Valley Road too.
Right now, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to balance Measure L with protection of other important Ginochio properties.
The Measure L area is shown between Brentwood and Antioch. Save Mount Diablo and our partners—including the City of Brentwood—have expanded public lands along the Urban Limit Line. We have protected more than 50,000 acres of open space in East County in a 20-mile long “Green Wall” stretching southeast from Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve to Los Vaqueros—an area two and a half times bigger than Mt. Diablo State Park. The bright green areas represent lands that would be preserved under Measure L. (Protected Lands Map: Save Mount Diablo)
The Ginochio Family
The Ginochio family arrived in Contra Costa in 1867 and settled in Concord and the coal mining town of Nortonville. Over 150 years they created the biggest cattle ranching operation in the county.
The Ginochios own the most important properties west, north and east of Mt. Diablo, much of it in the Marsh Creek watershed. They have never proposed development on any of it except for their property between Antioch and Brentwood. But each generation has more family members, with fewer of them interested in ranching. Measure L is a way to protect a lot of the Ginochios’ most sensitive property.
Ginochio-Blackhawk-Nunn & Save Mount Diablo
Blackhawk is one of the most prestigious Master Plan developers in the state. Save Mount Diablo negotiated protection of two-thirds of the Blackhawk Ranch in the 1970’s for addition to Mt. Diablo State Park. The Nunn family started farming in Brentwood in 1885. In Brentwood, Blackhawk-Nunn has specialized in Active Adult/Senior communities which have lower impacts on roads and schools, such as Summerset, Trilogy/Vineyards at Marsh Creek and Apple Hill.
Ginochio Family. Blackhawk. The Nunns. Save Mount Diablo.
Our relationships have been built on trust over the past 30-50 years. All of us live locally. All of us are focused on improving Brentwood and Contra Costa.
Measure L would protect 3-square miles of Ginochio land (1,785 acres) in the Marsh Creek watershed.
Thousands of Brentwood Voters Signed Measure L Petitions
GBN Partners, Ginochio-Blackhawk-Nunn, qualified Measure L by collecting over 5,000 signatures from Brentwood voters to place Measure L on the ballot.
GBN Partners knows the local landscape and for several years they’ve reached out to various community interests to build support for their plan. From the beginning their focus included the unique opportunity of balancing impacts with important conservation benefits. The initiative process would have allowed them to skip environmental review until after the election, but they went ahead with it now anyway, partly to save time, to be transparent, and to talk about public benefits.
The Measure L area is low-value Ginochio land formerly used for cattle stretching north from Heritage High School and Balfour Road. 590 acres would be developed. The large oaks would be protected. Three times as much high value Ginochio land (1,785 acres) would be protected nearby and in the Marsh Creek watershed. (Photos by Scott Hein)
The Measure L Area…
…is 815 acres of former Ginochio cattle ranch that has been disked for years. It’s not part of the important irrigated agricultural land east of Brentwood. It has limited wildlife value.
225 acres of these 815 acres will be protected as trails, open space and vineyards. There are some wetlands onsite which will be mitigated (protected onsite or compensated with other wetlands protected nearby).
The most important other resources are heritage-sized oaks in the northeast corner, for which Save Mount Diablo has negotiated protection.
West of Deer Valley Road, another 200 acres of more threatened Ginochio land (inside the Antioch Urban Limit Line) will be blocked from development—a beautiful rocky area of large oaks separating Antioch and Lone Tree Valley/the Sand Creek area from Brentwood and Horse Valley.
Together the two areas make up 425 acres of Brentwood Resource Lands, which will further strengthen the Urban Limit Line. They’re bordered by Deer Valley Regional Preserve (the former Roddy Ranch) west of Deer Valley Road.
Measure L Protects Almost 3 Square Miles (1,785 acres) of the Marsh Creek Watershed
In Brentwood, we’ve helped protect the most important open space—3,000-acre Roddy Ranch/Deer Valley Regional Preserve and 4,000-acre Cowell Ranch/Marsh Creek State Park. They strengthen the Urban Limit Line with a 20-mile “Green Wall” of protected lands. We’re also working in Antioch to restrict the area west of Deer Valley Road along beautiful Empire Mine Road.
As part of Measure L, Save Mount Diablo also helped negotiate protection of another 1,360 acres of Ginochio land for open space areas and recreational trails, the Diablo Resource Lands, further up Marsh Creek and on the slopes of Mt. Diablo. They are top priorities for protection and amazing wildlife habitat with incredible views. They’re a once-in-a-generation opportunity as part of Measure L.
On either side of Curry Canyon, 720 acres include Rhine Canyon and rise up onto Diablo’s main peaks and Prospectors Gap. Another 640 acres include Sulfur Springs and Windy Point, the border between Curry Canyon and Riggs Canyon.
Measure L helps protect the Marsh Creek watershed.
Three-quarters of the 60,000-acre Marsh Creek watershed are undeveloped and about 40% is protected. Measure L would protect another 1,785 acres, almost three-square miles—for recreation, wildlife habitat, water quality and flood control benefits.
Brentwood Voters Get to Decide
Save Mount Diablo supports Measure L because it preserves three times as much really important Ginochio family as the lower value area it builds upon, a huge net conservation gain. Measure L protects three square miles of the Marsh Creek watershed. Measure L continues our work in permanently strengthening the Urban Limit Line with a “Green Wall” of parks. This Ginochio land is only available as part of Measure L.
You may agree or disagree with us, but we got here through decades of work to protect more than 50,000 acres of parks along the edge of Brentwood. Decades of work to build relationships with the Ginochio family, Blackhawk, and the Nunn family so that they would support such a positive conservation plan.
Brentwood voters get to decide because Save Mount Diablo helped enact voter approval for changes to Urban Limit Lines so that developers would need to convince us and you that their project is good for the community.
Please Vote YES on Measure L on November 5th.
Photo by Scott Hein
Other Measure L Conservation Benefits
Measure L and moving the Urban Limit Line is one step in the planning process. There are many, and at each step project design gets more detailed. Save Mount Diablo will be involved at each step, helping to protect views, trees, wetlands, etc. while ensuring trails and open space design.
At this stage we negotiated a number of specific conservation and recreational benefits: not allowing development on the 200-acre rocky oak area west of Deer Valley Road, maximum wetlands protection onsite, protection of the tops of the hills facing south along Balfour, preservation of the oaks in the northeast corner of the property, and public trails along Balfour and Deer Valley Road, with a staging area along Deer Valley Road.
Because of Save Mount Diablo’s work requiring that Urban Limit Line changes be voter approved, Brentwood voters get to decide.