Additional information about the mysterious new California city, supported by some of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest individuals, was revealed on Wednesday. The company leading the project is now getting ready to present its ambitious plans as a ballot initiative and seek local support.
California Forever, a subsidiary of Flannery Associates, has been acquiring vast amounts of land in Solano County for over five years. According to their website, they have a vision of creating one of the most pedestrian-friendly and environmentally conscious cities in the United States.
According to California Forever, the proposed community will cover approximately 18,600 acres and have the potential to accommodate up to 160,000 homes and 400,000 residents. In Solano County, the company points out that the acreage is comparable to or smaller than that of Vallejo, Fairfield, and Vacaville. The acreage acquired by Flannery Associates for the project is significantly less than the nearly 55,000 acres they had purchased since at least 2018.
The purpose of the remaining acreage is still unknown. A representative from California Forever did not respond to a comment request in a timely manner. The company has announced several notable plans, such as the creation of over 15,000 jobs, allocating $400 million to assist Solano County residents in purchasing homes in the upcoming city, and designating a 712-acre open space.
In a recent development, the company has taken a significant step by filing a ballot initiative for its proposed project, known as the “East Solano Homes, Jobs, and Clean Energy Initiative.” This initiative aims to bring about zoning changes that would facilitate the construction of the city. A total of 13,500 signatures is needed to place the initiative on the ballot for the upcoming November election. Flannery Associates has invested approximately $800 million in acquiring land in a county located approximately 60 miles north of San Francisco.
A recent report by The New York Times has uncovered that a group has been receiving financial support from prominent figures in Silicon Valley. This includes individuals such as Marc Andreessen, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Reid Hoffman, who co-founded LinkedIn.
The group has been involved in a legal dispute with several Solano County landowners since May. Flannery Associates has filed a lawsuit, alleging that landowners have conspired to artificially inflate the prices of the land. A lawsuit has been filed claiming that Flannery paid an excessive amount of $170,000,000 for the land. Attorneys representing the landowners have accused Flannery Associates of employing aggressive tactics to coerce landowners into selling their properties.
Local leaders and residents have expressed strong opposition to the plans. During a November town hall meeting, led by Jan Sramek, the project’s lead, a group of protesters assembled outside the venue. They held signs with messages such as “Transparency not trickery” and “Flannery Will Ruin California for EVER,” as reported by The New York Times.
In a recent town hall event, Mitch Mashburn, a Solano County Board of Supervisor for District 5, voiced doubts regarding the affordability of the homes proposed by California Forever.
“One concern that remains unaddressed is the issue of affordability. The significant increase in land values over the past decade, with prices soaring from $3,500 per acre, raises questions about the feasibility of making such investments financially viable.” “And how will you ensure that it is affordable?” According to KCRA-TV, an NBC affiliate, Mashburn said.