May 26, 2024

The California Forever project is one step closer to becoming a reality. This week, the ambitious project’s backers announced that they had received enough local support to trigger a ballot initiative. Local voters will now decide the fate of the project during the November election.

“Today, 20,472 voter signatures were submitted to the Solano County Registrar of Voters to place the East Solano Homes, Jobs, and Clean Energy Initiative on the November ballot,” the company said, in a press release published Tuesday. “The number of signatures submitted far exceeds the 13,062 valid signatures required by law to qualify the initiative.”

The massive project, backed by some of Silicon Valley’s most influential billionaires, seeks to build a brand new city on thousands of acres of Bay Area farmland in Solano County. That land was purchased by a parent company, Flannery Associates, over a period of several years. The plan is to develop it into a thriving metropolis where, eventually, over 400,000 people will live and work. Before that, however, a lot of things need to happen first. The first of those things was the approval of a ballot initiative—which, it would appear, has been accomplished.

Come November, voters will now be asked to vote on a measure that would legally enshrine the California Forever project. If a majority of Solano county residents cast their vote in favor of the project, it will be officially written into law and the project’s backers will be allowed to start work on it immediately.

During its effort to garner local support, California Forever was repeatedly accused of tricking local residents into signing its petitions under false pretenses. Some local residents claimed they had been approached by canvassers and told that they were signing for things like “better roads” or additional protections for federal benefits, like Medicare. The project previously put out a statement refuting the allegations and calling them “misinformation.”

The California Forever project has suffered intense hostility from local residents. During a series of informational “town halls” held in various cities throughout the county, residents repeatedly stood up and screamed at the executives attached to the project. The project is also currently entangled in a legal dispute with several local ranching families.

A version of this story originally appeared on Gizmodo.

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