BRENTWOOD -- As the city starts to draft a policy document that will guide its future development, some residents have prioritized attracting and retaining businesses, preserving agricultural land and maintaining a sense of community as key objectives in the process.

The final of four visioning workshops to gather input from residents on the city's assets, challenges, priorities and destinations was held Saturday morning. About 25 residents attended to learn more about the general plan update, which will be crafted over the next two years to reflect Brentwood's goals and values for the next 10 to 20 years.

The city has hired De Novo Planning Group to consult this process. De Novo Principal Ben Ritchie said the final document will balance growth and conservation.

"It is a process as much as it is an end result," Ritchie said. "As professional planners, our job is to listen to the community."

Brentwood resident Fred Vogelgesang said he wants to see Brentwood become a "regional magnet" with high-paying jobs and high-end shopping. As a former longtime resident of San Ramon, he would like to see the city develop more like Pleasanton, Dublin and San Ramon.

"They are acting like smallville," said Vogelgesang of current Brentwood officials. "They want to put a bubble over Brentwood."

While working in small groups, residents looked over maps and identified areas of focus, including the revitalization of blighted Brentwood Boulevard and North Brentwood, the development of more wineries, and the promotion of tourism in the agricultural lands surrounding Brentwood and improved pedestrian access into downtown.

Brentwood resident Sean Ackley said he would like to see a year-round Brentwood Farmers Market and more promotion of the region's organic produce.

"I think we should preserve that part of our farming community," he said. "Let's not forget that we came from a farming background."

Local Realtor Monica Malcuit said the city should further enhance its popular trails. Her group also noted areas where there are unsafe gaps in the sidewalks.

"Our trails are not conducive to bike riding," Malcuit said.

To improve circulation near Heritage High School, Brentwood resident Kathy Griffin suggested building student pedestrian bridges up and over Balfour Road.

All of the data and suggestions from residents are being compiled by De Novo as it prepares an existing conditions report in early 2013 followed by an opportunities and constraints report, which will be based on resident feedback and completed in the spring. In total, there will be another 17 community meetings for the general plan.

The city is also looking for four residents to serve on the working group for the general plan update along with five city officials. The group will likely start meeting monthly in February, and residents will be appointed in early 2013.

Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174 or pking@bayareanewsgroup.com.

To Participate
Residents who wish to serve on the working group for the general plan update should submit an application by Jan. 11. Applications are available electronically by sending an email to webcityclerk@brentwoodca.gov or in person at City Hall, 150 City Park Way. For more information, call Taira Ordaz at 925-516-5132.