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Community of Mountain House votes overwhelmingly to become 1st California city since 2011

Mountain House to incorporate as California's first new city in over a decade
Mountain House to incorporate as California's first new city in over a decade 03:05

In last week's primary election, more than 90% of voters approved incorporating the community of Mountain House in San Joaquin County, creating the first new city in California in over a decade.

What was once a pit stop outside of Tracy during the Gold Rush has become one of the fastest-growing places in the state.  

"So, I am originally born and raised in Fremont," explained Salah Salah. "I've resided in Mountain House for the past 10 years with my family."

Not only a resident, Salah is a realtor who has put a lot of people in their own Mountain House home. And this area has seen a wild ride.

"2008, the recession, I think Mountain House was the most underwater community in the nation," he said.

Flash forward to the pandemic, when home prices were climbing 20%, in just six months.

"It is still affordable compared to the Bay Area," he said of the market. "But since Covid, prices have gone up."

Now, amid another building boom, Mountain House is set to become a city, the first new California city since Jurupa Valley became incorporated in Riverside County in 2011. 

Board Member Matt Disko is set to become Council Member Disko and says incorporation is primarily about greater control.

"We will have more from sales revenue versus the 1% we currently get," he said of the changes. "We have a local planning department who can issue rezoning and building permits, which is currently a county process. So all of these things are now in our control and we don't have to ask for permission from the county or we don't have to increase our taxes."

More control is critical as Mountain House moves into another period of explosive growth, with golf course plans now getting turned into more homes.

"A retirement community, with all this extra land, in the developers' eyes is a waste if people are willing to live in single-family homes with an 8-foot gap between each other," Disko said. "Versus an entire golf course."

"A lot more development, over there," Salah said, pointing towards new homes. "About 5,200 homes are slated to come over there."

The hope is that incorporation will allow the city to grow while preserving what has drawn people here and driven up the prices.

"It helps the community as a whole," Salah explained, "To make more decisions for ourselves and for our future and for our children."

The population is just over 29,000 with the potential of 45,000 in the next 10 years. The city's incorporation will become official on July 1. The ceremony will be held on the Fourth of July.

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