FAIRFIELD — There is growing opposition to a billionaire-backed plan to build a brand-new city in Solano County.
The Sierra Club, an environmental organization that has chapters in all 50 U.S. states, announced that it is forming a coalition with other groups to keep the plan from moving forward.
Kathy Threlfall knows Flannery Associates well by now. As the company bought up land all over the county, she didn't sell.
"I would say things like 'I can't imagine being a tenant on my own land.' And at that point knowing what I know about their relationships with tenants, I wrote it off," she said.
Threlfall said she and others were pressured to sell, and she is concerned about what's happened to those who did sell to a group that calls their project California Forever.
The buyers have found significant opposition in the Sierra Club, whose Solano chapter is chaired by Suisin City Vice Mayor Princess Washington.
"This is a new form of neocolonialism, the sheer audacity of what money can buy," Washington said.
The issue at hand, opposers, is the development of places that don't need it.
"Our growth needs to happen. It needs to occur in areas that have the infrastructure to support the growth," said Joe Feller, who opposed the California Forever group's plans.
Seventh-generation Rio Vista resident Aiden Mayhood wonders why open land is required to develop.
"I live in Rio Vista and we're only a town of 10,000 people," Mayhood said. "We have 700 acres of land residentially zoned. There's nothing happening there. Go to places like that."
Washington said it's a means to get around existing laws.
"The reality is it's easier to have a blank slate than to color within the lines and that's why this happened," she said.
As the fight continues to heat up in Solano County, the California Forever Group says they will be holding town halls next week in Rio Vista, Vacaville and Fairfield.
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