FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KGO) -- The investment firm that's purchased nearly $1 billion worth of Solano County farmland is sharing its vision to build a city and how some people feel about it.
After years of speculation as to what Flannery Associates would do with more than 55,000 acres acquired since 2018, the I-Team got an exclusive first look at how some constituents feel about it change coming to the county.
According to the firm, over the past two years, residents have been surveyed and interviewed about a wide range of topics - including proposed ballot measures discussing things like clean energy, sustainable infrastructure and affordable housing.
The following data comes from two scientific polls conducted in July and August this summer that combined contacted around 1,400 residents via landline, cell phone, or online in multiple languages.
The key findings from the July poll show voters are dissatisfied with the direction of Solano County and with the direction of things in their area. According to those surveyed, 39% said they're mixed, 29% said they believe the county is headed in the wrong direction, only 21% said the county is headed in the right direction, 11% of others don't know.
The survey also found voters are worried about affordability for the next generation. An overwhelming 81% of parents say they believe most kids in the county will not be able to afford to live in their current neighborhood when they grow up. Only 13% said they will and 6% said they don't know.
Among other things, voters indicated the county needs big changes to bring in more jobs, revenue, and improve quality of life. And when it comes to the issues most important when voting for county officials -- crime, homelessness, and cost of housing topped the list.
While the survey results show an overwhelming level of support for change, local officials say they still have concerns.
"I just don't think building a city the way they intend to is feasible," Catherine Moy, the mayor of Fairfield told ABC7 on Sunday. "Lack of water, infrastructure, plus how will it be powered?"
Flannery says eastern Solano County would maintain significant agricultural operations. But, the firm says they're interested in exploring new models that would combine solar farms with agriculture by having sheep graze under the solar panels.
"That's a problem or it could be a problem with the Air Base because of the reflection, but there are new solar panels that you can use on bases and some do," said Moy.
"We know that PG&E does not have the power grid to hold up a new city, they can't even open up some of our new car dealerships."
The August poll found Solano County voters are more likely to support a project that brings in good permanent jobs, protects the environment, and delivers revenue for safety and education.
According to the firm, the polls have a margin of error of approximately 3.5% to 4% in 95 out of 100 cases. The firm added their project would protect and support Travis Air Force Base - respecting the county's general plan and the area that has a security buffer to protect operations around the base.
The survey also revealed potential future projects that received support from those surveyed - including a new trade school, shortened commutes with reduced traffic congestion, millions of new olive trees and a new oak forest. Plus, thousands of acres of projects that restore ecological habitats and help keep the Delta and the Bay healthy and resilient against climate change.
Flannery says they're working collaboratively with county officials and a team of experts who are committed to solving northern California's most important challenges.
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