The HIA addressed potential reuse plans for the Concord Naval Weapons Station, a 5,028-acre former US Navy weapons storage site that is to be redeveloped by the City of Concord, CA. In 2008, the city proposed several development alternatives, later narrowed to two, that each included locations for housing, commercial space, community facilities, parks, roadways and public transit service. Some of the health issues explored include the potential impacts of parks, open space, and various options for locating housing and commercial areas as it relates to risk of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and obesity. The HIA also explored the availability of affordable housing, the wages at the jobs likely to be created and the mismatch between the two, and how this might lead to extra driving by low-income earners with implications for air quality related diseases, stress and chronic disease rates. The HIA recommended maximizing residential density near the commuter rail (BART) station to allow residents the greatest access to transit and other goods and services. It also recommended increasing the amount of affordable housing available and setting a higher minimum wage for the jobs that would be created on the site. Advocates used the HIA findings and recommendations in public testimony, discussions with city staff, as hand-outs at city council meetings and in other ways. Because of the efforts of advocates, significant amounts of land were reserved for parks and open space and plans for relatively high density housing were adopted.
Based on the HIA, Human Impact Partners met with the City Concord planning staff and consultants and submitted a comment letter to recommend changes to the Draft Environmental Impact Report. Partners also used the HIA in their advocacy efforts and were able to win a plan that met a substantial number of their goals. The Final EIR approved by the City Council responded to some of the HIA’s recommendations, but changed little. The Concord City Council voted to move forward with the second most dense land use option proposed and has taken steps to ensure that a significant amount of affordable housing is built at the site. Major victories included having 40% of the new housing units be listed as affordable housing (including accommodations for the homeless), and provisions for 40% of employees to be hired locally with apprenticeship programs to help with on-the-job training. Other achievements involved adopted recommendations around development and transportation designs.
Transfer of the land from the Navy to the City of Concord is expected in late 2013 or early 2014, with actual development following several years later.