SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The firm that's purchased nearly $1 billion of Solano County farmland launched a new website Thursday night, giving a glimpse at their vision for a so-called utopian city.
The website called "California Forever" is listed as the parent company of Flannery Associates, the investment firm behind the purchases. After five years of mystery, the site gives a glimpse at what's in store for the future of Solano County.
"But local, state and federal officials have raised concerns to the I-Team about lack of infrastructure, water, impacts to current traffic congestion - and most importantly encroachment near the base. Solano County says they have yet to meet with the firm about the proposed plans or to discuss zoning limitations.
"To date, our company has been quiet about our activities. This has, understandably, created interest, concern, and speculation. Now that we're no longer limited by confidentiality, we are eager to begin a conversation about the future of Solano County - a conversation with all of you," according to California Forever. "Like much of our state, Solano County faces many challenges - but also presents countless opportunities."
California Forever says they've completed surveys and interviews with about 2,000 residents of Solano County over the past few years.
"Your voices were clear. Residents want more opportunities to buy homes in safe, walkable communities. Good paying local jobs, so they can both live and work in the county. Better funding to improve schools, promote public safety, and reduce homelessness, as well as resources to invest in infrastructure for transportation, water, and wildfire protection."
According to the site, 81% of Solano parents surveyed said that their kids won't be able to find a future in their own neighborhood when they grow up.
"These challenges often have separate, unrelated causes. But they could share a common solution," the firm wrote. "Instead of watching our kids leave, we have the opportunity to build a new community that attracts new employers, creates good paying local jobs, builds homes in walkable neighborhoods, leads in environment stewardship, and fuels a growing tax base to serve the county at large."
The firm says Solano has the right location for a project like this in the eastern part of the county.
But local, state and federal officials have raised concerns to the I-Team about lack of infrastructure, zoning requirements, and overall congestion. Solano County says they have yet to meet with the firm about these proposed plans.
"This is not just our idea," the firm wrote.
The site references in the past, when preparing long-range plans for the Bay Area, the Association of Bay Area Governments ("Regional Plan 1970-1990") and the U.S. Department of Commerce ("Future Development of the San Francisco Bay Area, 1960-2020") both concluded that to keep our region affordable, prosperous, and balanced, new industries and communities could be built in eastern Solano.
According to the firm, it was predicted the area had low fire risk, access to water, and was strategically located in the middle of the larger Northern California region.
"All that remains true today," the firm says. "Let's dust off those plans, and breathe new life into them."
But local officials disagree with those findings. Catherine Moy, the mayor of Fairfield and Ronald Kott, the mayor of neighboring town Rio Vista both expressed logistical concerns and overall access to resources.
"It doesn't make any sense," Moy told the I-Team. "There is no water, and no mass transit."
Moy says the company would have to dig wells or get Fairfield to supplement.
"And that would be a big fat no from us," said Moy.
According to the site, California Forever was founded in 2017 by our CEO, Jan Sramek.
"After moving to California a decade ago, Jan spent time in Solano County during fishing trips on the California Delta and fell in love with the area. Having previously lived in many of the world's most walkable, livable, and sustainable towns and cities, Jan became interested in fusing what he learned about those livable communities with those old plans for eastern Solano. He became committed to a vision for the future of Solano County."
The site says Jan and his wife Naytri recently purchased their first home in Solano, and they plan to live there with their family and golden retriever Bruce.
For the first time the firm publicly identified the investors as Marc Andreessen, Patrick and John Collison, Chris Dixon, John Doerr, Nat Friedman, Daniel Gross, Reid Hoffman, Michael Moritz, Laurene Powell Jobs, and the California investment firm Andreessen Horowitz.
"Our company is committed to Solano and this project for the long term."
The company says the project would include a variety of land uses - including a new community, solar farms, open space, and both agriculture and habitat conservation.
"Our project would protect and support Travis Air Force Base, including by respecting Solano County's official Travis Reserve Area, which is a security buffer for the protection of Travis Air Force base established by Solano County in its General Plan," the firm says.
The firm added they're currently meeting with the elected representatives of Solano County but also offered to hear from community members directly.
According to the site, the firm will be mailing a survey to every Solano household as well as forming a Community Advisory Board of Solano citizens. The firm suggests sending any nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The company added they're in the process of opening offices in Vallejo, Fairfield and Vacaville, and will announce the locations once open.
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