Mayor Pro Tem Rocha and Council Members Gary Agopian and Monica Wilson, take a bow! You did the city of Antioch a great justice by your recent vote to deny the Pointe Project. That development would have ravaged 21 acres of hillside land at the western edge of the city, robbing God-given beauty and wind barrier.
This was no baby growth; I drove by and checked it out. We're talking a big, el grande, hill.
More frightening for the future, caving for the immediate return would have overturned a hillside development ordinance that has been in effect since 1981. That ordinance had been applied on at least six projects over the past three decades. It's disregard, I'm afraid, would send a signal that precedents and agreements can be bent and broken when expedience dictates.
They say you can't fight City Hall, but in the Philippines, where my wife hails from, they call it "people power." I applaud the residents of the Black Diamond Estates Project, Save Mount Diablo Organization and the Antioch Planning Commission for all standing tall and fighting the good fight. Fees come and fees go but a hill removed is gone, gone, gone forever.
Antioch takes its knocks. Yes, we can all agree our town was too suddenly overbuilt, is too saturated, too cookie-cutter and, in the case of our malls, too boxy (how one wishes we had insisted on a pedestrian-friendly plan like the Streets of Brentwood, which has strolling charm). Be that as it may, our past mistakes can't be undone.
We do, though, have three natural assets other locales don't. One, obviously, is our seat at the Delta. The River brings marvelous views, wholesome recreation and a refreshing breeze.
The second blessing is our undulating streets. Hillcrest and Deer Valley come to mind as a boon from monotonous straight lines! Guests visiting me who drive up Hillcrest remark how palatial it feels.
The third asset are the glorious hills that we wisely didn't all chop off; some internal and some dramatically framing the outskirts of our town. If I wanted flat I'd be in Kansas.
Yes, more homes is quick money. We know and respect that the fees are tempting, what with city services having hit rock bottom.
Things are on an upswing, though, and patience will be rewarded.
In the meantime, let's hope that whenever there is the next, let's face it, inevitable 'mini-wave' that the infrastructure is long set. Wouldn't it be nice, then, to see something really different from the humdrum, all too plentiful, tracts.
How about setting some land aside for the light industry we hope to attract; or for senior developments like Trilogy in Brentwood; or for McMansions on oversized lots that draw in the Blackhawk crowd who could bring in needed business. Now it gets interesting.
Yes, more city workers and a return to five days of City Hall service? Valued.
Respect for past agreements.... appreciation of our hills? They are priceless.
Walter Ruehlig is an Antioch resident.