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Concord wins game of political chicken with Navy

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 5:23 pm in Contra Costa politics.

Concord called the Navy’s bluff and won.

As you may recall, the city said it could not choose the final plan for the Concord Naval Weapons station under the Navy’s deadline.

The Navy threatened to pull the plug and cut the city out of the planning process and the planning money.

City officials said, for all intents and purposes, “Try it.”

Despite the flowery language in this press release — see below — Concord  emerged victorious.

REPS. MILLER, TAUSCHER, ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CONCORD, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Time extension will allow City, community to develop plan for former Concord Naval Weapons Station

Rep. Miller and Mayor Shinn available Tuesday to discuss agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. George Miller (D-Concord) and Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Alamo) announced today that the Department of Defense has signed a letter of agreement to extend the time period for the City of Concord to complete its Concord Naval Weapons Station reuse plan and homeless accommodation application until January 31, 2009.

“I am pleased to announce that the DOD has agreed to give the residents of Concord enough time to fully develop their plan for the former Naval Weapons Station,” said Miller, who personally urged the Bush Administration to accept the City’s request for a time extension.  “The city has done a great job in developing their plans and working with the community, and this announcement is a wonderful opportunity for Concord and the residents of central Contra Costa County.  Under Mayor Shinn’s leadership, the City Council can now go forward with the process, fill in the details, and narrow down their choices to one successful reuse plan. I am confident they are on the right track.  I also want to express my sincere appreciation to the Defense Department for their continued cooperation.”

“This is a golden opportunity for our community, and we need to be sure it’s done right,” said Tauscher.  “The Pentagon made the right decision in granting Concord an extension.  The Concord City Council and the community have the opportunity to design a plan that meets the interests of all involved.”

The City of Concord, the Navy, HUD, and the Defense Department have been coordinating to develop a land use plan for the former Concord Naval Weapons Station since 5,000 acres of the base was approved for closure in 2005.  Reps Miller and Tauscher recognize the redevelopment of the Concord Naval Weapons Station as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the region to create new jobs, provide significant access to open space, and grow the region’s economy and they have been working with all parties to create the most desirable outcome.

“What great news for the citizens of Concord and the surrounding region,” said Mayor Bill Shinn.  “This approval allows the City to continue, as the LRA, in its ongoing efforts to properly and effectively complete conversion planning process for the base’s future use. Much thanks goes to Reps Miller and Tauscher, as well as Sens Feinstein and Boxer.”

The Concord City Council plans to hold a study session on November 17 to hear recommendations from the Community Advisory Committee for land use plans.  More information about upcoming meetings can be found at http://www.concordreuseproject.org/.

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