BRENTWOOD -- City leaders recently took the first step toward adopting a new Brentwood constitution after less than two years of drafting the planning and growth document.
At its June 17 meeting, the Brentwood Planning Commission recommended that the City Council approve an updated general plan and its related environmental documents in July. The general plan is the city's guiding vision or policy for major developmental changes, growth management and community resources over the next 20 years.
Brentwood residents took part in the process of creating the plan through hands-on community workshops and public meetings on the various sections of the document, including safety guidelines, housing, land use, noise regulations, infrastructure plans, open space, circulation, design, community health and wellness, and economic development.
"Everyone in the city was involved in this. It wasn't the city of Brentwood telling us how we are going to grow. It was the entire community saying, 'This is how we want to grow,' " said Commissioner John Fink. "It is a document that I am proud to be part of and will serve us very well over the next 20 years."
Planning Commission Chairman Lance Crannell agreed, noting that the process of creating the plan was very methodical and focused.
"Everyone was all in for this whole process," he said. "I feel that a measured balance between what the public wanted and what we (the city) have to achieve created a document or constitution to moving forward."
Goals and policies presented in the general plan include preserving and protecting designated agricultural lands, hillsides and ecosystems. Other priorities are to maintain Brentwood's agricultural heritage, family-oriented environment and strong sense of community.
At the meeting, Juan Pablo Galvan of environmental group Save Mt. Diablo said certain areas of the city should remain undeveloped and that he would like to see more of a green belt between Brentwood and Antioch. Brentwood has opportunities to market itself as more "ag-friendly," Galvan said.
"I support how we have mapped out the general plan," Commissioner Joseph Weber said. "We are defending and promoting open space. We have done a fine job to adhere to the wishes of the community. We have done a fine job to balance that out."
In terms of circulation and traffic, the plan calls for continued efforts to enhance roads and streets and provide additional transit opportunities. The plan also allows for a broad range of quality housing projects.
Economic development is a key piece of the revised plan, and it calls for Brentwood to expand the job skills of its workforce in the areas of agricultural enterprise, health care, retail and medical device manufacturing, so that there are more high-paying jobs for residents. The document outlines how the city can continue to attract industries that are aligned with Brentwood's talent pool and support more startup companies and home-based businesses.
De Novo Planning Group, which the city hired as a consultant on the project, said Brentwood experienced such a streamlined process because city leaders had a strong vision for the community from the beginning. They said it often takes cities five or 10 years to complete a general plan update because the process becomes contentious.
"This has been such a seamless process," Weber said. "This was all laid out, and everyone kept their eye on the ball. It is truly the leadership in the community that got us to this point."
Contact Paula King at 925-779-7174.