By Allen Payton
About 100 Antioch residents attended a meeting on Wednesday night, November 12, 2014 regarding the Downtown Specific Plan and City-wide General Plan Land Use and Zoning Ordinance Update. Some shared their concerns and offered ideas to the city’s staff and a consultant.
In a presentation by constultant Dick Loewke, he stated that “Home values in Antioch are only 60% of what they were before” the economic downturn. “But they are stabilizing and growing,” he added.
One area of housing that is currently not in the city’s housing mix is transit-oriented development, which includes densities of up to 30 to 40 units per acre. That is expected to occur around the new eBART Station at Hillcrest Avenue.
Also in his presentation, Loewke stated that high-density an medium-density housing won’t work in Antioch’s downtown, at least not in the next five years, because the cost of “construction is greater than the price structure.”
“What is feasible,” he stated, “is single-family, compact housing on small lots…with common walls…of 12 to 14 units per acre. That will work in today’s market.”
He mentioned potential job sectors, such as the service industry, such as boat and RV repair and maintenance as areas the city could expand its economy, as well as restaurants. Also, administrative and medical jobs are areas of potential expansion.
Following the presentation, residents had the opportunity to speak and provide their input to the plan updates, but only to Loewke, his son and Mindy Gentry, the city’s Senior Planner in the Community Development Department. None of the council members were in attendance, nor City Manager Steve Duran. However, Lori Ogorchock, who was elected to the council, last week, did attend the meeting.
Clay Baskin shared his concerns about crime, that it can’t be ignored as a factor, and how the city has been talking about revitalizing downtown for 20 years.
Others shared that the emphasis shouldn’t be on more housing.
“I would like the city to not plan for people who are not here,” one woman said. “Not just more housing.” She advocated for “waterfront recreation for all, not carpetbaggers.”
Another resident said the downtown businesses need to be open longer.
Jim Lanter, who owns an insurance agency located in downtown, said there needs to be more events, downtown to bring people to the area.
Former owner of Lamothe Cleaners, which had operated in Antioch since the 1950′s, Tom Lamothe, said he there needs to be more businesses before more housing in downtown.
Bruce Ohlson, an advocate for bicyclists said the city needs at least one street north-south and one street east-west with a continuous bike lane for travel.
The next update meeting will be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall, next Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and will be a joint meeting of the Antioch Planning and Economic Development Commissions. For more information visit www.ci.antioch.ca.us or call the Community Development Department at (925) 779-7035.