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F rom t he desk o f . . .

Concord Pioneer •

September 23, 2016

Moving into next phase of Weapons Station development



From 1946 to 1989, the Concord Naval Weapons Station inland area (between Highway 4 to southeast of Bailey Road) provided military support, weapons storage and maintenance activities. In 2005, Congress closed the inland area. With the oversight of a 21member advisory committee, residents, stakeholders and the city held many public workshops and meetings to decide how the property should be developed. The Reuse Project Area Plan was adopted in 2012. The goals agreed upon by the community are: • Identity as a world-class project. • A balanced approach to conservation and development. • Economically viable and sustainable development. • High quality of life for all

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residents of Concord. The Area Plan reflects the community’s vision for a 30year timeframe for total buildout. Community amenities include more than 2,800 acres of parks and open-space, 18 miles of trails, the restoration of Mt. Diablo Creek, a 175acre tournament sports facility area and a 120-acre campus district. The plan calls for transitoriented development near the North Concord BART Station and village development patterns west of Mt. Diablo Creek, with single-family homes, townhouses, schools, community centers, green buffers and parks bordering the southern neighborhoods. Greenways and parks will link the neighborhoods to North Concord BART. This spring, after a competitive selection process, the city selected Lennar as the master developer for Phase One, representing 500 out of the total 2,300 acres to be developed. Phase One will provide amenities such as community centers, parks, recreation space and a circulator shuttle connecting to BART. The remainder will be developed in subsequent phases, with selection of future master developers. The city will now begin working with Lennar to prepare a Phase One Specific Plan



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and an Infrastructure Master Plan. Lennar will be responsible for the costs of the plan preparations. The Specific Plan will define Phase One in detail, while the Master Plan ensures infrastructure supports later development phases. Environmental and traffic impacts will be studied, with Lennar responsible for all costs. The Specific Plan will be




Thanks to the dedication of the local community, bicyclists and pedestrians are now safer on a heavily commuted street in Concord. A strip of Detroit Avenue, between Monument Boulevard and Clayton Road, now has designated bicycle facilities, signals at two intersections and larger, more usable sidewalks. The Detroit Avenue Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements project is part of the growing movement to improve pedestrian and bicycle access throughout the Bay Area. Detroit Avenue is a main street in one of the most densely populated communities in our county. The street was not originally designed to handle the size or scope of roadway users that travel it daily, nor did it accommodate the growing foot and bicycle traffic in

Street Party

reviewed by a new Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), the community at large, the Planning Commission and City Council prior to council adoption. Development can begin only after property transfer from the Navy, as well as planning, environmental, traffic studies and permitting processes. This could take several more years. The CAC will provide input

and encourage public participation of the Phase One Specific Plan. CAC members will apply the Reuse Project Goals and Guiding Principles, adopted Reuse Area Plan policies and accepted Term Sheet provisions in evaluating and commenting on potential Specific Plan alternatives or issues. The CAC will also serve as a communication link to the community-at-large by assisting out-

reach to neighborhoods and interest groups and promoting participation at workshops and public meetings. The CAC appointments will be made this fall. They will begin work early next year, including monthly public meetings. Contact the Mayor


Grassroots led project makes Detroit Avenue safer for all the area. Thankfully, there are numerous local organizations and public institutions dedicated to improving roadways and increasing access to safer transportation. In collaboration with the county’s Public Health Department, many of these organizations led a walk audit of Detroit Avenue that resulted in a successful grant application for Complete Streets improvements. The grant was awarded through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s competitive One Bay Area Grant Program. It also required matching money from the city of Concord, which used Measure J and Measure Q funds. As a member of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, which administers Measure J funds, I advocate projects that respond to the needs of local residents and make it easier to utilize alternative transportation. The Detroit Avenue Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements Project is an excellent example of this. Because of the cooperation of community groups like Bike

What: A celebration of the $2.7 million in pedestrian safety improvements on Detroit Avenue. Free family activities, including a bike rodeo, Zumba, cooking demonstrations and interactive children’s games. Mayor Laura Hoffmeister, Councilman Edi Birsan, local organizations and residents who participated in the project will speak and participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony. When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24 Where: Meadow Homes Park, 1371 Detroit Ave., Concord Contact: Rhea Elina Laughlin, First 5 Contra Costa community engagement officer, 925.726.7279 or

DETROIT AVE. RESIDENT LEADERS PREPARE to celebrate the major safety improvements to their street at a block party Sept. 24

Concord, Monument Impact, First 5 Contra Costa, Central County Regional Group and Healthy and Active Before 5, Detroit Avenue is a safer place to live, work and play.

• New streetlights along Detroit Avenue. As a public official, I am often approached with complex issues and concerns that do not have clear answers. These experiences make projects such as the Detroit Avenue Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements Project all the more inspiring, as it reflects the power of collaboration and the ingenuity of our community. The Sept. 24 ribbon cutting and street party is a time to celebrate our successes and look forward to the possibilities of the future. I hope we can continue to improve the streets in our communities and work together to ensure they are safe for all modes of transportation.

• The improvements include: • Four-way stop signs at Walters Way, Sunshine and Lynn Avenues. • High-visibility crosswalks at Laguna Street, Walters Way and Sunshine and Lynn Avenues. • Sidewalk accessibility improvements. • New extended sidewalks along the busy stretch from Clayton Road to Monument Boulevard. • New street paving and surfacing. Karen Mitchoff is Contra Costa • New bike lanes, including County District IV supervisor. Email green paving to increase questions or comments to bicyclist visibility and safety.

Concord’s new JetSuiteX proves a worthy option

I recently needed to take a last-minute work trip to the Los Angeles area. I started to book my usual Southwest flight out of Oakland when my husband reminded me about the new JetSuiteX service from Concord’s Buchanan Field to Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport. JetSuiteX, a private jet operator, is the first airline to offer commercial travel service out of Buchanan Field since 1992. I did a price comparison and discovered that the two options cost nearly the same, if I factored in the roundtrip BART ride from Concord to Oakland International Airport. I reviewed the flight times and was excited to find a roundtrip flight that suited my needs. JetSuiteX offers three round-trip flights between Concord and Burbank each weekday. The carrier also offers a regular flight to Las Vegas on Friday nights and return flights to Concord on Sunday afternoons.

The morning of my flight to Burbank, I arrived at the airport at 7 a.m. for my 7:30 a.m. flight. I was surprised to be greeted by a friendly ticket agent as I was ushered into a relaxing atmosphere that reminded me more of a hotel lounge than a noisy airport terminal. Complimentary snacks, bottled water, coffee, free WiFi and work stations with plugs were available as passengers waited to board. I chatted with passengers who hailed from Alamo, Concord, Lafayette, San Bernardino and San Ramon. Some were already frequent JetSuiteX passengers who used the service for business trips. Others were headed for vacation destinations like Disneyland or Las Vegas. One nursing mother was particularly pleased, as there is no limit on the amount of breast milk or formula that can be taken on a JetSuiteX flight.



All agreed it was refreshing to fly from central Contra Costa County and avoid the hassle of driving or taking BART to Oakland or San Francisco. Every person I spoke with also cited how nice it was to avoid long security lines. Seasoned passengers arrived at 7:25 a.m., still in time to check in for the 7:30 a.m. flight. After a swift plane boarding, we settled into comfortable leather seats. Complimen-

tary snacks, beverages and WiFi were available. We landed at JetSuiteX Hangar 2, a private hangar about a mile from the main Burbank airport terminals, where it was easy to hail a cab or Uber, or rent a car. The evening flight home was equally smooth, with nearly all 30 seats filled. After a long work day, I appreciated the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine or craft beer. I felt an incredible sense of freedom when I landed in Concord and was able to walk straight from the tarmac to the parking lot and drive home in 10 minutes. Carlyn Obringer is a member of the City of Concord Planning Commission. Professionally, she focuses on California education issues as an Education Policy Analyst. Carlyn resides in Concord with her husband, Justin, and dog Crystal. Contact her by email at

SEP 23 Concord Pioneer 2016  
SEP 23 Concord Pioneer 2016