The Concord City Council will be doing interviews of three developers that want to make the plans that the people and the city made for the Concord Naval Weapons Station come to life.
As we move forward, here are some things to be noted in this process:
- The “Village Plan” was approved 10 years ago and calls for approximately 13,000 dwelling units and about 6 million square feet of space for commercial/retail/industrial, etc. This plan also included additional parks and places for a university and tournament fields.
- The developer is not expected to trash a plan that the community fought itself for years to get. The idea that the developer will chuck that and start at scratch is hardly likely to happen as there are too many community scars out there to risk opening those wounds. (For the record, I was on the side of the smaller, denser plan – about one half the size of the above but lost. However, I feel committed to respect the decision made by the majority.)
- The city will be getting funds from the sale of the land as it progresses and garner community benefits such as new parks and more affordable housing. Twenty-five percent of the proposed housing is being deemed “Affordable.” The terms regarding the composition of very low, low, and medium affordable housing and respective building types remain to be worked out.
The funds that the city was required to advance to get to a faster turnaround will be paid back this way. Accusations that the money spent was wasted is baseless.
- The details will be worked out with the initial developer, and we do not expect to see a great variation from what our requests are; however, there may be some minor things going into the final Specific Plan. For example, we already went over the grading issue brought up by Lennar several years ago.
- Once again, there will be a lot of noise by all sorts of organizations and individuals with private interests on one aspect or another of the base or who will have their own political, economic and emotional issues to settle to leverage other actions that may not be so apparent.
The City Council must decide what is in the best interest of the city and how to proceed to make sure that those interests are carefully and dutifully protected. The reality is that this is a 30-year project and the structure of the deal and its safeguards need to be able to withstand all challenges that may come forward.
It is going to get noisy; however, we must stay focused on the goal of a development for our future generations.
The above is the opinion and perspective of Edi Birsan and is not reflective of any member of my family: past, present and possibly to come regardless of what other organizations may say.
[photo courtesy USA Today}