The moment is at hand to win robust protection for the open space south of Antioch. Please help us encourage Antioch voters to protect this valuable native plant and wildlife habitat through Measure T, the Save Sand Creek Initiative. Measure T puts Antioch voters in control of how their city grows by permanently requiring a vote of the people to change Antioch’s urban limit line. The current urban limit line expires at the end of 2020.
Measure T also requires that Antioch voters, not just city officials, approve any new project proposed for the Sand Creek area, the largest continuous stretch of undeveloped land within the city limits. Sand Creek is in our CNPS chapter’s Four Valleys Botanical Priority Protection Area and is home to California-listed rare plants including San Joaquin spearscale (Extriplex joaquinana) and Brewer’s dwarf flax (Hesperolinon breweri) as well as the locally rare adobe pincushion-plant (Navarretia nigelliformis ssp. nigelliformis) and sticky western rosinweed (Calycadenia multiglandulosa).
Sand Creek is not only important for its own plant and wildlife resources, but also because it is the crucial connection between all the protected open space in the eastern part of the county and Black Diamond Mines Regional Park. This important corridor continues through Black Diamond Mines to another block of preserved land stretching all the way west to the new Concord Hills Regional Park at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station.
Those of you who have been reading the Bay Leaf for a while may remember this issue from a couple of years ago; the most recent update was this July. Here’s a brief recap.
Antioch’s population grew by more than 50 percent in the past 30 years, with development expanding into surrounding open space. However, by 2017 the mood in Antioch had shifted away from all-out growth to a more balanced view, and a coalition of local citizens and environmental groups (including our CNPS chapter) thought it was a good time to propose permanent protection for the open space within the city’s southern border. In the spring of 2018 we gathered enough signatures to qualify a petition for the 2018 ballot. A developer with a stake in the area proposed a competing initiative, and two other large developers filed a legal challenge. But the court ruled that our initiative was valid and must be placed on the ballot for the next general election, in November 2020.
How you can help
We are in the final stage of our campaign to save this important open space, and we need your help to win. So far, things have been going well. The city council unanimously endorsed our measure, there is no opposing ballot argument, and there appears to be no organized opposition. However, the two remaining large developers in the area have not given up. One has submitted a preliminary development application to confuse the situation, so we need to educate voters about the importance of this issue.
To assure victory, we will be doing on-the-ground work to be sure people understand and vote for our initiative. The important task right now is walking Antioch neighborhoods to drop off information about the initiative. With social distancing, there will be no door knocking or voter contact; you’ll just be leaving brochures on doorsteps. You can sign up for whatever time fits your schedule between now and early October, when absentee voting begins. To sign up, please contact Lesley Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Lesley Hunt, Outreach Committee Chair, CNPS East Bay Chapter