At a time when cities across the country are still reeling from bad financial decisions about edge growth, the City of Pittsburg is betting its future on two big sprawl-related projects in the gorgeous rolling hills of Contra Costa County to serve the legally-troubled Seeno family.
The City recently began environmental review of the Seeno’s Montreux project—a 174-acre subdivision in the hills south of town, just west of Kirker Pass Road. If approved, the project would flatten the steep terrain to build 356 housing units, removing more than 75 vertical feet from the slopes and dumping at least 85 feet of earth into the valleys.
To service the Montreux subdivision and an approved-but-unbuilt Seeno project called Sky Ranch II, Pittsburg wants to build a new road through the hills beyond the southern border of the city. The City recently released the draft environmental impact report for the 1.7-mile James Donlon Extension that runs across the Thomas Ranch property from Kirker Pass Road in the west to James Donlon Boulevard in the east.
This road project would be laughable if it weren’t so scary. The proposal cuts across steep hillsides and ravines (imagine Colorado’s Royal Gorge Bridge or the Hoover Dam bridge), slices through soils with a history of landslides, and eviscerates sweeping views of regional treasures like Black Diamond Mines and Solano’s Montezuma Hills. Though we have yet to see a believable cost estimate, we know it would drain funds that are needed to support Pittsburg’s struggling downtown, something that is desperately needed to pull more residents out of poverty.
Greenbelt Alliance, along with Save Mount Diablo and others, have warned the city about the devastating effects that these projects would have on the natural environment and taxpayers’ pocketbooks. Please join us in submitting your comments about these projects by May 29.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps Engineers Digital Visual Library