Mountain House voters will decide whether to become California’s newest city on March 5

On March 5, Mountain House, Calif. voters will decide whether their community will become California’s 483rd city. 

Located 60 miles east of downtown San Francisco, the Mountain House project was approved by San Joaquin County in 1994. In 2008, the area established an independent government and a board of directors to coordinate with county officials.

Next week, residents will vote on Measure D, a ballot referral from the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, that will officially incorporate the City of Mountain House as an independent, self-governing body, if passed. 

If residents vote yes, Mountain House will become the first new city incorporated in California since 2011, with authority over its land use planning and access to public funds. If they vote no, Mountain House will remain a special district, with land use decisions made by San Joaquin County and the Mountain House Community Services District (MHCSD) continuing to provide municipal services. 

Measure D is not the only measure on Mountain House voters’ ballots in March. Measure E will determine the nature of the new city government in the event Measure D passes, starting in 2026. Voters will decide whether the city council will be elected by district, at-large, or a mixture of the two, where candidates must live in a specific district but are elected at-large.

Voters will also elect a mayor and four city councilmembers to run the city at its outset, effective July 1. 

But the outcomes of both Measure E and the initial local elections will only go into effect if voters approve Measure D. Otherwise, those outcomes will be moot.

According to official proponent language, voting yes on Measure D will give residents of Mountain House a “fair share of federal, state and county money and resources.” There were no official arguments submitted against Measure D. 

If voters approve Measure D, Mountain House would be the 279th most populous municipality in California, based on the 2020 census, with 24,499 people. The median population of a California municipality is 31,193.

The most recent city incorporated in California was Jurupa Valley in 2011. The outcome of this ballot proposition was determined by a margin of fewer than 500 votes, with 54% of residents voting in favor. The last time a new city was incorporated in San Joaquin County was in 1989.

Mountain House is not the only Bay Area locale eying cityhood. Since 2017, California Forever and its subsidiary, Flannery Associates, have purchased land for a new community in neighboring Solano County. Both entities are led by Jan Sramek, a former Goldman Sachs investor and tech executive.

On Feb. 14, the company submitted a revised initiative to the Solano County Registrar of Voters intending to place a measure on the county’s November ballot. If this measure appears on the ballot and passes, it would not create a new city, but it would establish guidelines for further work between the company and county officials.

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