Bay Nature magazineJanuary-March 2010

Development Threats in Los Medanos Hills

January 1, 2010

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

About the Author

Dan was editor of Bay Nature from 2004 until 2013, when he left to work for SF-based Stamen Design. A onetime professional cabinetmaker, he considers himself a lifelong maker of things and teller of stories. Dan has been working at the intersection of journalism and technology since, at age 16, he began learning reporting, page layout, and database design. His enduring interest in environmental issues crystallized into a career path in 1998 when he assisted former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass in a cross-disciplinary nature writing and ecology course at UC Berkeley, from which Dan received a Masters in English literature. In 1999, he became Associate Editor of Terrain, the erstwhile quarterly magazine of Berkeley's Ecology Center. In addition to editing and art-directing Bay Nature magazine, he was also Bay Nature’s chief technology strategist, fixer of broken things, and designer of databases and fancy spreadsheets. And he was even known to leave the office and actually hike outdoors.

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