Survey results show how Solano Co. residents feel about new 'walkable, affordable city'

The results of 10,000 residents were released exclusively to the ABC7 News I-Team.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023
California Forever, company that's proposing to build a new city in Solano County, released the results of their latest survey from residents.

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The billionaire backed company that's proposing to build a new city in Solano County released the results of their latest survey that's getting a pulse of what the people want.

The results of 10,000 residents were released exclusively to the ABC7 News I-Team.

California Forever CEO Jan Sramek says most survey respondents indicate strong support to move forward with the project, but added there's a substantial percentage of residents that are still undecided.

EXCLUSIVE: CEO behind massive Solano Co. land grab shares vision for new 'most walkable' city

The company says they sent surveys to every Solano County resident asking questions about what they want to see built in this new city along with their top concerns.

"It's been fascinating to hear their responses," Sramek said.

Survey result synopsis

According to the online results, 80% of people supported the idea of new good-paying local jobs, safe walkable neighborhoods, as well as protections for the Suisun marsh and Delta. Whereas, 60% of people expressed strong support for renewable energy - including the plans to build one of the largest solar farms in California.

Residents like the idea of energy efficient homes with no PG&E bills.

More than 78% of online respondents want to see major infrastructure improvements made to Highway 12 that's often referred as blood alley - as well as improvements to the local water supply. Sramek told the I-Team he has enough water rights to support the city from the aquifer and the Sacramento River. But the Solano County Water Agency is still skeptical.

"A brand new city with up to 100,000 residents... that's a lot of water that doesn't currently exist," said Chris Lee, the Solano County Water Agency general manager.

VIDEO: California Forever opens 2 offices where residents can preview 'new walkable city'

California Forever, the billionaire-backed company proposing to build a new Solano County city, opened up offices that will soon outline their plans.

Fairfield Mayor Catherine Moy, who also sits on the Solano County Water Agency Board of Directors, says it doesn't make sense.

"The water rights in California, especially Solano County, are already accounted for," Moy said.

Sramek says the survey results show a great deal of excitement among small business owners and young people who are struggling to buy a home. Among online respondents of the survey, more than 76% of people say affordable homes and family-friendly parks and recreation areas are most important to them.

But city officials, including Moy, say there's concerns over zoning restrictions.

"I think that if zoning were not an issue for them, they would have gone the traditional route of creating a city through LAFCO," said Moy. "But instead, they've hired the most expensive teams throughout the state, many of them very close to Gov. Gavin Newsom and they are buying their way in."

Travis Air Force Base

Sramek told the I-Team in Sept., he did not notify Travis Air Force Base of his plans for a new city before it was publicly announced, despite quietly acquiring land since 2018.

This week, Sramek says the survey results give him confidence this new city can draw on the connection to the military by creating jobs that will support the base and keep people in California. He says the survey shows there's a high demand for new jobs in defense, aerospace, and advanced manufacturing.

"It's kind of a mix of old and new economy and jobs that people will want to see here," Sramek said. "And we think we can actually bring them."

When will the public see the final plans?

California Forever has hosted a number of recent town halls where residents have asked questions about access to water, lack of infrastructure, among other concerns. But, he says the most common one - how will this all work?

"People are asking... will my kids be able to walk to school? What does it mean? Does it mean I can walk to the office? Can I can get to the grocery store," Sramek said.

Sramek says he plans to answer those questions when the plans are finalized and made public in mid-Jan.

VIDEO: Heated town hall in Vallejo over California Forever's proposed new city in Solano Co.

The CEO of California Forever, the company behind the proposal to build a new city in Solano County, took questions at a town hall in Vallejo.

But even then, all of this has to make it on the ballot and pass the voters before becoming a reality.

If the ballot measure passes, Sramek says the new city will be much farther away from Travis Air Force Base than the current developments in Suisun City and Fairfield.

And depending on how it all plays out, Sramek says there could also be a huge greenbelt that separates this new city from the surrounding cities in Solano County. According to the survey, about 60% of people supported that idea.

What does 'walkable' mean?

Sramek says the focus on walkability doesn't mean no cars. He says his goal is to create more convenient commuting options for people.

"We would like to get to a place where a household can have one car instead of two or three," he said.

He says ideally, families would have one car for transportation outside the community because walking and bicycling would be easily accessible within the city.

Take a look at more stories by the ABC7 News I-Team.

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