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Bay Nature magazineJanuary-March 2010

Development Threats in Los Medanos Hills

by on January 01, 2010

Looking north across the Concord Naval Weapons Station toward Pittsburg, Suisun Bay, and Solano County. The navy base runs only partway up the slope of the Los Medanos Hills between Concord and Pittsburg, leaving much of the open land in the hills between those two towns vulnerable to development.

Photo by Stephen Joseph, stephenjosephphoto.com.

Though much of the Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS) will likely be protected as parkland, the ridgeline to the east is part of the Faria property, 607 acres owned by developer Albert Seeno’s Discovery Builders and zoned for up to 1,650 housing units by the city of Pittsburg. (Open map in new window.)

The parcel spans a good third of the Los Medanos Hills crest overlooking the new proposed park. “Protecting that ridgeline is very important,” says Seth Adams of Save Mount Diablo.

One possible outcome is a land swap to allow development at Stoneman Park, near a golf course in Pittsburg, in return for keeping development off of the hills. “There’s some discussion of protecting ridgeline land in exchange for open space around the golf course,” says Adams. “We can’t say whether it’s a good deal or not. It all depends on what’s offered.”

Any deal will have to be carefully crafted, says Greenbelt Alliance’s Christina Wong, noting that some of the land along the ridge is too steep and slide-prone to be built on in any case. “We don’t want to see unbuildable land [in the hills] getting traded for an existing urban park,” she says. “We’d be losing protected public open space in town, so we better be gaining a lot more open space than we lose.”

Any deal would be struck by late 2011, when Discovery’s exclusive agreement to negotiate with Pittsburg on Stoneman Park expires.

Los Medanos Hills Resources

Greenbelt Alliance, greenbelt.org

Save Mount Diablo, savemountdiablo.org

Save Our Hills (Pittsburg), saveourhills.org

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