Update on the County’s Land Use and Development Process

Update from Contra Costa County on the Land Use Planning and Development Process for the County owned properties

Jim Kennedy, Redevelopment Director at Contra Costa County,  stated that they were in the process of putting together the team of consultants who would assist with the planning process and disposition of the County owned properties. He said that a real estate/economics consultant had recently been hired. This consultant is Keyser Marston Associates, a well-known San Francisco based company which has worked on projects with the City of Pleasant Hill previously.
Keyser Marston will evaluate the various types of land uses that are possible for the three sites and help to determine the optimum value of these properties through the planning process. They will also do financial analysis related to the various development concepts.
The second step being taken by the County is a planning services RFQ which is due to be released that day. The RFQ is being sent to about a dozen firms. The chosen consultant would ultimately help to position the properties for development and work through the planning process, with the County being the applicant to the City. Mr. Kennedy stated that the firm would be chosen over the summer period and it should be engaged by Labor Day period.

He stated that the land use planning is a lengthy process and could be prolonged if a complete environmental impact report is required. In response to a question on timing about whether an EIR might be required during the planning process, Mr. Kennedy stated that the County would know if one was required sometime next year.

Mr. Kennedy also mentioned that one of the four sites still under consideration for a new library is on the Pleasant Hill Middle School property. He stated that Supervisor Mitchoff had sent a letter to the School District formally requesting the District to give the County a response by the end of June as to whether the site could be considered for the library.

Mr. Kennedy stated that public outreach to the community would be an essential part of the land use planning process and that the consultants would engage with the general public.

City Manager June Catalano stated the Planning Commission would be the body which gives approval to any future land use and development application. This would involve public hearings where public input would be sought by the commission.

Mr. Kennedy stated that the consultants would apply the knowledge of what the marketplace will accept, what the City will allow in the planning process, and then bring forward a proposal which would include an estimated value of the property based on these factors.

Ms. Catalano said that the Task Force would be kept informed and given the opportunity to give its input during the hearing process. During the planning phase, and prior to any hearings at the Planning Commission, the consultants would engage with community through various means.

Chair Harris stated that the work of the three subcommittees of the Task Force would continue while the County is moving forward with the planning process. This work would include determining what the library is going to look like including space analysis, building community support for the new library and devising a funding mechanism for the construction and operation of a new building.

Karen Laws, Real Property Agent Contra Costa County Public Works,  stated that this project was different from other recent library projects in that it would be a partnership between the City and County. However, there is no ‘roadmap’ for this type of partnership.

Ms. Laws also said that the County was currently in the process of moving Library Administration services out of the current building and into new offices. This would probably be completed by the end of 2015.

Chair Harris asked the Community Outreach committee to develop a plan on how to keep the public informed about what was going on in regard to the Task Force activities and the new library building.

Jack Prosek expressed concern about the schedule for completion of the building. Karen Laws responded that it was too early to propose a schedule prior to the planning consultant being engaged in the process. Mr. Prosek inquired if there was an update on 2007 report on deferred maintenance to the current library building.

In response to a suggestion from Sherry Sterrett about having a Task Force member be part of the County and City meetings related to the County properties, Chair Harris stated that this would be a staff driven process and that staff would keep the Task Force fully updated on the process as it moved forward.

Reports from Sub-committees

Needs Assessment

There was no report from this committee.

Outreach Subcommittee

The Outreach Subcommittee is continuing to meet with various groups in the city and is working on marketing/promotional plans.

Funding Subcommittee

There was no report from this committee.
The Task Force agreed to meet again on Monday, August 10th at 11 a.m.