Jersey Island, is a small largely undeveloped island in the Delta in Contra Costa County outside of the urban limit line. In 2021, the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board of Directors passed a resolution approving a development including 450 new single-family shoreline homes along with a hotel, a sports and rec center, and a wild animal park). As a result, Montezuma Water, the developer, is pursuing the inclusion of Jersey Island into the City of Oakley’s Sphere of Influence (SOI) over the next year.
This proposed development includes 450 new single-family homes along the waterfront of Jersey Island. Placing homes on an island with minimal access to jobs and no transit connectivity will increase vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and associated greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Locating homes here will set the County back on both climate mitigation goals and sea level rise adaptation. Simultaneously, without adequate protection from flooding and sea level rise, the long-term safety of residents will be threatened and will likely require costly protection measures from climate hazards in the near future.
The interior and northeast portion of the proposal shows roughly 800 acres of “wildlife and habitat refuge” including “significant visitor opportunities, including Safari tours of the rehabilitation and re-wilding centers and overnight stays with the animals.”
This is just the first step towards annexation of Jersey Island into the City of Oakley—a multi-year process—which would be necessary for the existing proposal to move forward. Ultimately, Oakley residents will have to vote to extend the city’s Urban Limit Line—a boundary that marks the outer limit beyond which urban development will not be allowed—to allow for annexation.
Greenbelt Alliance knows the value of habitat and restoration to restore natural systems and rebuild the Bay Area’s vital coastal ecosystems—but the existing development proposal does not reflect these values. Instead, it would introduce exotic non-native species to the island and further disrupt the essential habitat of existing species through development, increased traffic, and ecosystem disruption from new invasive species.
This is not the climate-smart development that Contra Costa County needs. Proceeding with this development will increase climate-related risks at the detriment of existing natural assets the area’s habitat, carbon sequestration, and associated ecosystem services provide.
Learn more at Stop Sprawl Development on Jersey Island.