A long-range vision for North Downtown
Work is underway on preparing the North Downtown Specific Plan. North Downtown is an area of diverse land uses extending from Civic Drive to Parkside Drive, and from Highway 680 to the Iron Horse Trail. Looking forward 20 years or more, the Specific Plan is being prepared in collaboration with residents, local businesses and landowners to provide guidance on preferred land uses and transportation links, various improvements, and design guidelines. The plan goals are set forth here.
Environmental Scoping Meeting
You are invited to attend the upcoming environmental Scoping Meeting for the North Downtown Specific Plan Environmental Impact Report (EIR). A public meeting of the Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, February 8, 2018 at City Call. The purpose of the meeting is to receive comments from the Commission, agencies and the public regarding environmental effects and the scope and content of the environmental information to be included in the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the North Downtown Specific Plan. A Notice of Preparation (NOP) of the EIR was released on January 16, 2018 and is available here. The scoping meeting will be held at the City Chambers, City Hall, 1666 N Main Street.
FAQs about the Specific Plan process.
Why is the City undertaking a Specific Plan for the North Downtown?
Walnut Creek has successfully used Specific Plans in the past to expand on the qualities that make the downtown great, such as pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and more targeted development guidelines, and statements regarding preferred land use types and intensities.
North Downtown’s proximity to BART, the trail system and the 24/680 highway corridors make it highly attractive for future development. The Specific Plan is a holistic approach to creating a comprehensive long-term vision that outlines what to protect and what goals to pursue as development occurs.
How is this different from the General Plan or Zoning?
A Specific Plan implements the General Plan, and provides more details such as design standards, infrastructure improvements and financing mechanisms. In this way it also bridges the gap between broad city policies and specific development regulations that are traditionally set forth in a zoning ordinance. The planning process will also include environmental review that future development can rely on to streamline future project review.
How is this being paid for?
The City received a $657,000 grant from the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) to pay for planning expertise, technical studies, project management and public outreach. The City is contributing staff to direct and collaborate on this plan.
How long will the planning process take?
The project kicked off in May 2016 and the public draft Specific Plan and EIR are expected to be completed by mid-2018. A conceptual schedule is here.
How can the public get involved?
Many ways! In addition to monthly Advisory Committee meetings, there will be three public workshops, at least three Planning Commission meetings and three City Council updates before a final draft Specific Plan is presented for approval. All of these meetings are public. You can sign up for e-mail notification at the top of this page.
What is the Advisory Committee? Who is on it?
The 15-member Advisory Committee is intended to advise the Walnut Creek City Council and Planning Commission on the land use and transportation aspects of the Specific Plan, and related elements such as community character, opportunities and constraints, and fiscal impacts. The purpose and objectives of the Advisory Committee are set for here.
The Advisory Committee is comprised of local stakeholders and citizens who have volunteered to participate in the on-going meetings during the North Downtown planning process. Membership includes 6 at-large representatives from (or adjacent to) the Specific Plan area; and, 1 representative from each of the City’s five commissions. The meetings are chaired by members of the Planning Commission and the Design Review Commission. Councilmember Loella Haskew and Councilmember Cindy Silva, Planning commissioner Brian Krcelic and Design Review commissioner Joseph Gorny serve as the Council's ad hoc committee and liaisons to the Advisory Committee. The roster of the Advisory Committee members is here.