Frequently Asked Questions
On June 5, 2007, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors
authorized the preparation of a Specific Plan and General Plan
Amendment study for the northern, industrial area of North Richmond,
generally bounded by Wildcat Creek, San Pablo Creek, Richmond Parkway,
and the Union Pacific railroad tracks (approximately 200 acres
The initiation of the Specific Plan
and General Plan Amendment study was in response to a request from
Signature Properties to re-designate significant acreage within
this area of North Richmond from industrial use to residential
use. The purpose of the Specific Plan is to provide policy direction
on the transformation of this area into a new residential neighborhood,
including the type, location, and intensity of uses, design and
capacity of public improvements and infrastructure, and to identify
the resources that will be needed to finance and implement the
public improvements and infrastructure for this area.
Why is a Specific Plan needed for
this area of North Richmond?
A recent study commissioned by the County
Redevelopment Agency evaluated the infrastructure needs, costs,
and financing options for industrial development in North Richmond.
This study included an analysis of the industrial market which
indicates that North Richmond could potentially capture 1.6 million
square feet of industrial development, or the equivalent of about
145 acres, through year 2030. This compares to about 500 acres of available land
in North Richmond now designated for industrial use. According
to this analysis only 29% of the North Richmond area is needed
for industrial development through year 2030. In short, North
Richmond has more land set aside for industrial development than
needed and much of the existing industrial land is underused capacity.
(Source: “Final Report North Richmond Redevelopment
Project Area Study”, Feb. 2006, prepared by Economic & Planning
Systems in association with Berryman & Henigar)
In contrast to the shrinking demand for industrial land, more
land in western Contra Costa County is needed for residential,
commercial, and public uses. Young families and first-time homebuyers
residing in West County are expected to drive demand for new residential
development in the future. The location of the Specific Plan area
in relation to emerging development along the Richmond Parkway
and changing socio-economic trends, suggests that this area of
underused industrial land could be transformed into a vibrant residential
neighborhood with a mix of commercial and public uses that could
serve and benefit the larger community of North Richmond.
The transformation of this industrial area
into a new residential neighborhood will only occur through good
planning that involves the input and participation of residents,
landowners, business operators, community organizations, and
other public agencies that have a stake in the future of North
Richmond. Based on the input from all stakeholders, the Specific
Plan will define the community’s
vision for the future growth and development of this area in North
What is a Specific Plan?
Under California law, a Specific
Plan is a tool for the systematic implementation of the General
Plan. It establishes a link between implementing policies of the
General Plan and the individual development proposals in a defined
geographic area. A Specific Plan may be as general as setting broad
policy concepts, or as detailed as providing direction to every
facet of development from the type, location, and intensity of
uses to the design and capacity of infrastructure; from resources
used to finance public improvements to the design of a subdivision.
There is no size limitation on a Specific Plan, it can be as
small as a single acre, and the range of issues covered in the
Specific Plan is left to the discretion of the decision
making body. However, a Specific Plan must be consistent with the
adopted General Plan. In turn, all subsequent subdivision
and development, all public works projects, and zoning regulations
must be consistent with an adopted Specific Plan. The adoption
of a Specific Plan is a legislative act similar to adoption of
a General Plan or Zoning Ordinance. A Specific Plan is subject
to an environmental review, or environmental impact report (EIR),
as mandated under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
What is the schedule and process
for preparation of the North Richmond Specific Plan?
The preparation of the Specific
Plan is now in progress. The
County has retained the services of planning, environmental, and
public outreach consultants to assist in plan preparation. The
consultant team has completed the initial phase in a three phrase
work program that should lead to hearings on a Specific Plan proposal
in the Spring of 2010 before the County Planning Commission and
Board of Supervisors.
The preparation of the Specific
Plan will be an open, public process in which all interested parties
will be encouraged and invited to review, comment, and testify
about any aspect of the Specific Plan, General Plan Amendment,
and EIR. There will be noticed public hearings before the County
Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors on the Specific Plan,
General Plan Amendment, and EIR. As noted above, the public hearings
are anticipated to occur in the Spring of 2010. Attached is a timeline
schedule for the preparation of the Specific Plan and EIR.
Who is preparing the Specific Plan?
Since the area under consideration is unincorporated
land, the Contra Costa County Department of Conservation & Development
is overseeing the preparation of the Specific Plan, General Plan
Amendment and EIR. The County is being assisted by a consultant
team lead by WRT/Solomon E.T.C. – Specific Plan preparation,
Environmental Science Associates (ESA) - EIR preparation, and Craig
Communications – public outreach.
Who do if I contact for more information and to stay informed?
Supervisor John Gioia, District I
• Luz, Gomez, Deputy Chief of Staff - 510-374-3231
Contra Costa County
• D’Andre Wells, Redevelopment Project Manager,
- 925-335-7236 - EMAIL