Wednesday, June 28, 2017
[Contra Costa County] Grand jury urges more transparency for Concord Naval Weapons Station development process
CONCORD — The Contra Costa County grand jury has called for more transparency and public participation in the city’s plan to transform the barren Concord Naval Weapons Station into a thriving community with housing, retail and open space.
The June 15 grand jury report offers several recommendations, including holding separate meetings of the Local Reuse Authority (the City Council typically convenes as the LRA during the regular council meetings); posting agendas, videos and minutes of LRA meetings on the website; issuing and posting written monthly project reports; and creating a project execution plan to guide the development and set milestones.
“Most of the recommendations we think we’re either already doing or previously expressed an intention to do,” said Guy Bjerke, director of community reuse planning.
For example, the Local Reuse Authority agendas and any action the body takes are documented on the city’s website as part of the council meetings.
In May, the city launched a redesigned reuse project website at www.concordreuseproject.org. The site includes a calendar of upcoming meetings, information about the ongoing specific planning process and key documents such as the area plan, the environmental impact report and the proposal and term sheet from Lennar-FivePoint, developer of the first 500 acres of the former military base. A video and materials from a recent public workshop also are on the website. Members of the public also may sign up for email updates.
But Bjerke acknowledged that the city could make it easier for people to find some information such as the community advisory committee agendas and videos, which are posted on the city website rather than the reuse project website. The committee promotes public participation and provides input on the specific plan.
The reuse project area plan calls for building up to 12,200 housing units and 6.1 million square feet of commercial space on about 2,300 acres of the former weapons station property. The East Bay Regional Park District will receive 2,600 acres for the future Concord Hills Regional Park. The Navy is scheduled to begin transferring land to the city in late 2018.
The City Council will respond to the grand jury report in September, Bjerke said.
June 27, 2017
East Bay Times
By Lisa P. White