Measure 2022: greenfield developer sponsors

A group calling themselves A Committee for a Better Sacramento is sponsoring a citizen-initiated ballot measure for the November election, titled “Sacramento County Transportation Maintenance, Safety, and Congestion Relief Act of 2022—Retail Transactions and Use Tax”. (Note: Some people are referring to this as Measure A, but measure letters are assigned by county elections, not by the sponsors. I’ll continue to refer to it as Measure 2022, for now.)

The sponsor of the measure is Cordova Hills Development Corporation. So far as can be determined, the entity does not have a website, though there are references to the development on the website of some of the contractors who have been hired to plan the development. There is apparently an interlocking series of shell companies related to Cordova Hills, but none have websites.

So, what is Cordova Hills? It is a greenfield development proposed for former farm and ranch lands south of Rancho Cordova. Greenfield development is not needed in the Sacramento region; there is plenty of land available for infill development that can serve all the same needs as Cordova Hills. So, why does this company, and many others like it, want greenfield development? Because they can purchase land at agricultural prices, develop it, and then sell it at urban prices, with a huge profit potential. I am not against development, but it is important to remember that there are two types of development and developers: infill and greenfield. Infill is socially and environmentally sound, greenfield is not. Infill builds wealth in the community, greenfield destroys wealth because the development never ends up generating enough tax income for the infrastructure and particularly infrastructure maintenance it incurs.

What Cordova Hills is asking is that the taxpayers of Sacramento County subsidize their development by providing transportation infrastructure. There is less and less support for sprawl greenfield development in the county, so the sponsors are wrapping the subsidy in a measure with other benefits. The developers do not have a good record with the public. During the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors hearing which approved the project, the developer lied about several aspects of the development, and intimidated the supervisors with implied threats to run candidates against them. It was only a last minute agreement between SACOG and the supervisors with language that that the development would not break the MTP/SCS that allowed the development to pass.

The biggest benefit claimed by the developers was a university that was to be part of the project. The proposed university withdrew, and it has never to date been replaced with another, but since the development was approved with a university implied but not required, the developer intends to move forward without.

More about Cordova Hills:

Of course this greenfield development is tied at the hip to the Southeast Connector. More about that in coming posts.

Search for category Measure 2022 to see posts as they are added.

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