Gerald Meral, executive director of the Planning and Conservation League, predicted "tremendous resistance" to a new agency with real power to plan and control development in the Delta. "The counties involved are fantastically jealous of their prerogatives, and they're all controlled by developers," Meral said.
Alan Pendleton, executive director of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, said a new agency would be accepted "only when a sufficient number of people in the Delta are convinced they're not going to be able to solve the problem they have with flooding and inadequate levees without some degree of regional planning."
Development Along the Delta Massive development is taking place in and around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta--1,100 square miles of waterways and rich agricultural lands. As developers ponder thousands of new housing units in the five-county area that touches on the Delta, critics voice concern about flooding and adverse affects on the Delta's birds and fish. Here are some selected samples of developments either proposed or under way.
1.) Big developers from both Northern and Southern California reportedly are buying large amounts of land along the Sacramento River--in or near sleepy towns like Hood, Courtland and Clarksburg--with an eye toward future housing developments.
2.) At Discovery Bay, near Antioch, levees were breached so that homes costing as much as $1 million could be built. Similar projects are planned for Bethel Island and adjacent Hotchkiss Tract, where much of the land is now used for cattle grazing.
3.) In San Joaquin County alone, more than 40,000 units have been approved or soon will be.
4.) Cities on the edge of the Delta are exploding with new housing tracts. In Stockton, five major projects are expected to generate about 20,660 new housing units--containing more than 50,000 people--in 15 to 20 years.
5.) Thousands of new dwelling units have been approved by Contra Costa County, at the western end of the Delta.
6.) A proposed "new town" near Tracy--dubbed Mountain House--envisions 21,500 homes built on 4,700 acres. Additional thousands are planned for an 8,700-acre former ranch on the Sacramento-San Joaquin County line.
Couple fear that development on Hotchkiss Tract and adjacent Bethel Island will spoil the character of their Delta community. A35