Protect Solano From Sprawl

Oppose California Forever Sprawl Development​

To tackle the challenges of the future we can’t repeat mistakes from the past. A new sprawl development project is being proposed in Southeastern Solano County disguised as an utopian city, but in fact it wants to develop farmlands away from transit and public infrastructure. Learn more and join us today!

What's At Risk

“California Forever” is a sprawl development project proposed for eastern Solano County by a group of billionaire Silicon Valley investors known as “Flannery Associates.” Since 2017, the group has acquired 62,000 acres of agricultural land between Fairfield, Rio Vista, and beyond—an area larger than both Fairfield and Vallejo combined—for over $900 million. Since the purchase of the land, concerned Solano County residents have accused Flannery of deploying secretive tactics by keeping their identity elusive and misleading the public, government officials, and landowners about their intentions. Later, Flannery launched a half a billion dollar litigation process against local farmers and ranchers who refused to sell to them, accusing them of antitrust behavior.

Flannery Associates’ initial statements claimed to build an “utopian community” made up of one or more cities and thousands of new homes, offering its residents dense urban living, walkable communities, access to public transit, open spaces, and clean energy. 

However, this “community for the future” is planned to be built far from basic infrastructure such as public transportation and roadways. “California Forever” is inspired by failed models of the past and disconnected from the aspirations of Solano’s existing communities of farmers, ranchers, urban residents, and others.

The development of a remote, isolated community achieved by paving over ranchlands and prime habitat comes with a suite of ecological, social, and economic concerns. From environmental justice considerations to endangered species and water security, Solano County residents are raising alarms about this massive development proposal.

Relevant Facts

20% of lands proposed for development are in a flood inundation zone, where natural and working lands play a critical role in reducing the intensity of flood events and recharging the aquifer—an increasingly important role in the cycle of droughts and flooding exacerbated by climate change. Also, roughly 135 acres of Flannery-owned land has been identified as suitable marsh migration space, which are critical areas to protect and manage to ensure that coastal ecosystems and wetlands can migrate inland as sea levels rise

There is nothing “innovative” about purchasing land that is priced for farm and ranch uses and then subdividing and rezoning parcels for sprawl—Californian developers and investors have made millions of dollars doing this for decades. This traditional model ignores natural and working lands’ multiple ecological and economic benefits in favor of launching “new communities” without investing in our current neighborhoods. It exacerbates our car-dependent culture and necessitates long, costly, and GHG-intensive commutes.

A generation ago, we reduced our investment in revitalizing our existing urban cities to build a ring of suburbs, which drove up housing prices near jobs and transit, exacerbated dependence on cars, and reduced time for recreation and family. This proposal seems to double down on this pattern, leapfrogging over the current outer ring of suburbs to start over even further out.

The remote location where the development is proposed faces immense transit challenges. The only potentially viable public transportation option to commute between “California Forever” and downtown San Francisco is to bus to the Fairfield-Suisun Amtrak station, Amtrak down to Emeryville and then take another bus across the Bay Bridge. It’ll take you about 3 hours. Building new mass transit systems has proved immensely challenging in California, even where there are persistent needs to connect existing dense communities.

The lands proposed for development are currently providing carbon storage benefits crucial for curbing climate change risks: the equivalent of 101,011 metric tons of greenhouse gas is stored in the region in the above-ground vegetation, according to this Conservation Lands Network report.

The initial California Forever website actually touts its backward-looking thinking. The website mentions that the project is based on “Regional Plan 1970-1990” and “Future Development of the San Francisco Bay Area, 1960-2020.” These plans were firmly rooted in the prevailing thought of planners and developers at the time that we should build new cities on the farmland, wetlands, open spaces, and hillsides surrounding our region. The Bay Area’s current regional vision—based on detailed data on housing, transportation, and economic, and environmental needs—says otherwise

The region’s ranchlands have provided livelihoods to generations of Solano County farmers. As farmer Al Medvitz says in this San Francisco article, “With this new proposal and the way the new people are behaving, all of that is going to be lost.”

Why We Are Taking Action

Greenbelt Alliance was founded 65 years ago by local community activists sounding the alarm on development proposals on iconic Bay Area landscapes that would be damaging to communities and ecosystems alike. We’ve paired our advocacy for open space protection with strong support for new climate-smart development within our existing cities and towns.

In 2008, multiple interests around Solano County, including Greenbelt Alliance organized to support an updated Orderly Growth Initiative. Originally adopted in 1984, the Initiative affirms a strategy of city-centered growth and protects and supports Solano County’s agricultural lands by preventing certain developments. Over 70% of voters supported this measure, which signaled to outside developers such as Flannery Associates that this type of proposal is not appropriate for Solano County.

We are proud to have worked with leaders throughout Solano County several years ago to protect the irreplaceable agricultural and natural areas within the county while directing growth and development into existing cities through the Orderly Growth Initiative, adopted originally in 1984 and renewed in 2008.

Now, We’re continuing to support environmentally sustainable growth and mobilize against harmful developments over six decades later. And with “California Forever,” the fight is ongoing.

GET INVOLVED

Solano Together Coalition


We are a group of concerned residents, leaders, and organizations who came together to form Solano Together, a coalition that envisions a better future for the region that focuses development into existing cities and strengthens our agricultural industry. Learn more and get involved!

Donate


Join forces with the Solano Together coalition—through the Neighbors to Protect Solano County committee—to stop this development by donating today. Your financial contribution supports educational campaigns, intelligence collection, voter outreach, legal fees, and get boots on the ground to oppose this initiative.

What Our Community Is Saying

rECENT bLOGS

Greenbelt Alliance

Solano Together Coalition Opposes California Forever’s Plans for Sprawling New Development in Remote Solano County Farmland

As a member of the Solano Together coalition, Greenbelt Alliance shares the statement below released on January 17, 2024. SUISUN CITY – The Solano Together coalition strongly opposes California Forever’s plans for a sprawling new development in rural Solano County announced this Wednesday. After years of secrecy, months of public controversy, and four months of

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Suisun City by Karl Nielsen/Greenbelt Alliance
Daniela Ades

Water Resources Remain Uncertain In California Forever

Since the news of a huge sprawl development proposal in Solano County became public last August, one of the main questions around the “California Forever” project has been: where are they going to get water from? This question is top of mind for the local community who is already living in a climate-stressed region. Eastern

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