Press release that the City and East Cypress team put together to accompany the Greenbelt press release.
Settlement in Five‐Year Legal Battle Clears Way for Levee and Road
Improvements, Clean Water Programs and Future Housing
OAKLEY, CA (JUNE 27, 2011) – The City of Oakley announced today the resolution of a five‐year legal battle over agricultural land that held up city plans for new housing and to fund reconstruction of area levees and rural roads and develop clean water programs to stop discharge of untreated agricultural run‐off into the Delta.
The settlement was finalized last Wednesday in Contra Costa Superior Court and marks the end of a long dispute, clearing the way for needed housing as well as important infrastructure and environmental improvements in Oakley’s East Cypress Corridor Specific Plan.
The dispute between The City of Oakley, several landowners, and Greenbelt Alliance was over the treatment of agricultural property within the 2,546‐acre East Cypress Corridor Specific Plan, an area known for its grazing land.
Under the terms of the settlement, a fund will be established with the San Francisco Foundation to provide grants to further the protection of similar agricultural lands within Eastern Contra Costa County and parts of the Sacramento River Delta. Through a combination of funding mechanisms, approximately $6.8 Million will be collected and redistributed to the region at such time as development within the planning area takes place.
“The resolution of this issue is a tremendous achievement for the City of Oakley,” said City Manager Bryan Montgomery. “The goal of the Cypress Corridor plan is to preserve the most valuable Delta agricultural lands by concentrating development in less productive areas, and to use development as an economic engine to pay for key projects to improve public safety, the environment and quality‐of‐life for Delta residents.”
Montgomery said that the settlement sets the stage for major planned improvements in the area including:
- $15 million for levee reconstruction, improvement and pump replacement.
- $450,000/year for clean water programs to stop the release of untreated agricultural run‐off and animal waste into the Delta.
- $90 million for improved rural, local and regional roads and interchanges.
- $11 million for public facilities like the Dutch Slough Community Park, which provides access to the CALFED Dutch Slough Wetlands Restoration Project.
Under the East Cypress Corridor Specific Plan, more than 3,600 residences as well as parks, schools and lakes will eventually be built in an area of Oakley also known as Hotchkiss Tract.
“The social and environmental benefits included in this plan are incredible,”
Montgomery said. “The project will bring diverse housing opportunities protected by enhanced flood control systems, create and preserve wetlands and wildlife habitats, provide parks and schools, and support the county’s Habitat Conservation Plan.”
The East Cypress Corridor Specific Plan is a comprehensive plan prepared by the City of Oakley, and would allow the homebuilders to build up to 3,600 residential homes on the eastern side of Oakley, Contra Costa County. Homebuilders also have agreed to pay approximately $12 million to purchase and conserve lands identified by the Habitat Conservation Plan as priorities.
In addition to providing funding to improve the safety of existing levees, the Specific Plan guarantees a new levee system, paid for by the homebuilders and maintained by assessments on new residential lots. The “300‐year” levee system exceeds the safety standard of any existing levee in California. There will be no federal or state tax dollars used to build or maintain the new levees. The new and rebuilt levees will protect the Plan area and greatly improve the safety of 544 existing homes.