After a long delay, the Concord Reuse Project is moving forward. Concord First Partners (CFP), the Master Developer selected for the redevelopment of the Concord Naval Weapons Station, has begun hosting community meetings. On March 3, they hosted their second community meeting at the Concord Senior Center. This meeting, in addition to the one before it, primarily served as a platform for CFP to introduce themselves and share their high-level visions for the Development. At the March meeting, the CFP development team presented for over an hour, leaving less than 15 minutes for questions and comments from the community. We were also disappointed to see that turnout was fairly low and primarily white, which suggests that CFP’s current engagement practices may not be reaching certain populations. With a project of this size and stature, real community engagement can be the difference between delivering just another master planned community and building a vibrant neighborhood center for both new residents and old. We will continue to push CFP to adopt practices that offer accountability and transparency and encourage all members of the community to have a say in this monumental project.
At this point in the development process, it appears as though Concord First Partners does not have the answers to most inquiries—especially those regarding the delivery of affordable housing—which is concerning when considering the complexity of the Reuse Project and the expertise needed to successfully deliver on decades of planning and visioning processes. Even after two community meetings, it is still unclear if and how CFP will incorporate public input and the priorities of community partners into their Term Sheet (due to the City Council in April).
Our Advocacy in Concord
Along with attending public meetings, Greenbelt Alliance has been collaborating as part of the Community Coalition for a Sustainable Concord (CCSC) to advocate for shared goals while also working to keep CFP and the City accountable to the promises made during previous planning processes. The CCSC, which was formed around 2008 and largely responsible for the adoption of the 2012 area plan, is represented by East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO), Monument Impact, Contra Costa Central Labor Council, Save Mount Diablo, and others. These invaluable partnerships allow Greenbelt Alliance to support comprehensive goals for equitable, sustainable, and affordable development in Concord. This winter, the CCSC updated its joint platform to include more emphasis on sustainable development and climate-safe design as well as best practices for community engagement. Building coalitions of environmental, housing, and labor partners is vital to achieving a just transition!
Top Priorities for the Concord Reuse Project:
- Transit-Oriented Development: The first phase of development should be clustered around the North Concord BART Station and all development should prioritize connections to transit and active transportation options, including bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
- Sustainability: Site design and building construction should incorporate Low Impact Development standards including rooftop solar, water-efficient technology and design, clustered development to preserve maximal open space, and permeable surfaces and green infrastructure wherever possible.
- Housing: At least 25% of homes must be made affordable and must be constructed during each phase of the development process in proportion to the delivery of market-rate units, and all labor must be paid a living wage.
Linking the Concord Reuse Project to our Regional Housing Goals
The Concord Reuse Project is slated to deliver over 12,000 housing units including 25% affordable, which is significant when considering that the latest RHNA allocations mandate that Concord plan to accommodate over 2,000 units of low and very low income housing. The 5,000-acre site offers an unprecedented opportunity to supply a significant portion of the region’s housing unit deficit in a transit-oriented location. However, it is still unclear whether the Concord First Partners (CFP) development team is equipped to deliver on past agreements regarding housing unit type and affordability.
Now is the time to get involved in the City of Concord’s Housing Element update process to push for inclusive, climate-smart policies in the Concord Reuse Project—reinforcing our advocacy efforts and putting further pressure on the City to ensure CFP is delivering much-needed affordable housing. The second Housing Element meeting was held on March 15, but there will still be opportunities to make your voice heard so sign up to receive updates on this project below and learn more about the Concord Housing Element update process here!
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Feature Photo: Daniel Schwein/CC-BY