Fremont Planning Commission approves conversion of Dumbarton Quarry into park

The Planning Commission voted Thursday to allow the Dumbarton Quarry to be converted into a 91-acre regional park.

The issue now will go to the City Council for final approval at a meeting scheduled sometime in September, Fremont officials said.

Dumbarton Quarry Associates, a company that operated a crushed rock aggregate quarry at the Ardenwood neighborhood site, has to pay all costs to construct the park. They also have to fill the 300-feet-deep quarry pit, which is approved to receive as much as 6 million cubic yards of soil.

That part is simple enough — who would be against converting an ugly  quarry pit  into a nice extension of nearby Coyote Hills Regional Park?

Here’s where it might get complicated.

As this story and comments posted here have noted, some are concerned that the contaminated soil from the Patterson Ranch development might be allowed to be dumped in the quarry. That toxic soil has not been approved for dumping, but it’s just a Regional Water Quality Control Board decision away from receiving the green light. If approved, the contaminated soil might expose visitors and nearby residents to a health hazard — not exactly what nature lovers have in mind when camping for a weekend.

The Patterson Ranch soil, which will be moved somewhere while 500 homes on the east side of Ardenwood Boulevard are constructed, was not directly part of the item voted upon at the Planning Commission meeting, nor will it be considered when the City Council votes on it in September. It bears repeating that the agenda item is, instead, directly related to approving the filling of the quarry pit and approving the 91-acre park plan next to the Dumbarton Bridge and the Newark border, on the northwestern edge of Fremont.

Will that invite the Patterson Ranch soil and other material that raises the ire of environmental groups to be dumped there?

Stay tuned.

Chris DeBenedetti


  1. Watch this process. I am willing to bet the Politicians are going to let this happen. Toxic Soil in the Dumbarton Quarry.
    I hope I am wrong but……

  2. Good article but it didn’t make enough hay out of the health benefits issue.

    I would have rather had a couple of paragraphs comparing direct income (which they covered very well and extensively) – AS WELL AS – the same level of scrutiny of BART health benefits and employee contributions as compared to other transit agencies.

    While a 10% (or so)earnings premium over other California transit districts might not cause every tax payer to cry “foul” – when you look at the health care benefit and contributions that BART employees enjoy, these guys are way, way, WAY, WAAAAAY out of touch.

    They’d be very lucky if they could ONLY keep the current health care deal with no earnings increase.

    The general public will be screaming for a settlement before this things is all over – – – at any price.

    Amtrak is a wonderful alternative to many East Bay locales.

  3. #1
    My understanding is that there is the potential of the contaminated soil scrapped from the Patterson site being dumped at the quarry site. We also understand that the soil may contain toxaphene and other contaminants. I beleive the original EIR approved only 1.5M cubic yards of “clean” fill; now that the plan calls for additional fill to fill the former quarry.

    If this is the case, a new EIR is necessary. This issue of dumping contaminated soil into the former quarry site raises the following questions:
    a. If the contaminated soil from the Patterson site is allowed to be dumped at the quarry, does this set up a precedence for additional dumping of contaminated soils in the site?
    b. If so, what percentage of the balance of needed soil (to fill the quarry) would be contaminated?
    c. What is the impact on water quality in the region of this amount of contaminated soil?
    d. What is the impact on air quality in the region of this amount of contaminated soil?
    e. How will the Patterson site be adequately monitored if contaminated soils are allow to be dumped at the site?
    f. Will the route of the trucks carrying the contaminated soils be also monitored? If so, how?
    g. We are very concerned with the potential of spreading said contaminants in nearby neighborhoods in Newark and Fremont, the Coyote Hills RP as well as the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge.
    i. Will the dumping (quarry site) be monitored? If so, how?
    ii. At what wind speed would be appropriate to terminate dumping of contaminated soils?
    iii. We would like to completely understand how nearby residents, park visitors and the nearby wildlife will be protected from these contaminants.

  4. #2
    Is part of the article’s “excellence” the way they determined the “average” salary of a union-represented BART worker?
    By adding the annual salaries of BART executives with the
    rank and file’s?

  5. #4 Dan’s absolutely right.

    Chris can you please confirm for use whether or not there is Toxaphene in the Patterson soil?

  6. Bbox #7, Thank you, great information.

    Basically the City of Fremont is willing to poison us to satisfy the Developers Greed.
    Just look at the numbers Toxaphine and DIELDRIN
    Dieldrin is an insecticide and is considered a human carcinogen.

  7. #7 Now THAT means business.

    …for the local Oncology Industry.

  8. #7 – Thought it was curious (and perhaps misleading) that actual sample results were stated as a concentration per kg of soil, whereas limits were stated in residential airborne concentrations . . . likely the harshest limit that would be imposed.

    Seems like if the purpose of the statement is to convey actionable information, you’d compare actual soil concentrations to limits for same (if they exist) and/or compare sampled airborne concentrations to limits for same.

  9. #8 –
    Greedy developers, or did you really mean corpses eating ghouls? Apparently the vocal minority in this town think this *means business*.

  10. #7 Yeah it’s misleading. I still don’t know, does that translate good, bad, in between..?

  11. #12 – I don’t know the answer to your question.

    But, if you believe that there are “acceptable” levels of exposure available from agencies like the EPA – then why didn’t the authors use an appropriate datum, e.g., soil exposure instead of air – – – and how about an exposure that’s not 23/7?

    My answer in the absence of anything else is because it didn’t make for as good an impact . . . e.g., perhaps the max allowed soil level(s) for a recreator exposure is several orders of magnitude greater than what we’ve got at goin’ on at Patterson. (I’m making this up – but, just sayin’)

    I think the average joe sees the 1200 ug in the soil sample and compares that to the airborne limit of .0076 ug and does a knee-jerk “Holy Shit, this place is a Super Fund site.”

    I’m not smart enough to figure out how to use it, but, here is the EPA RSL calculator – – –


    – notice that you can input the medium (soil, air, water) and then the exposure scenario (Resident, worker, fish . . . ) – and in this latter category, there is even a “Recreator” option – which would seem to be an appropriate classification for our proposed RECREATION site, .. . . but, for some reason, we published the most stringent airborne limit available (residential).

    Clearly an apples to oranges comparison . . why we opted to do this is anybody’s guess.

  12. Just caught the legal notice in the paper on this coming before the council:


    Notice is hereby given that the City of Fremont City Council will hold a public hearing to consider the following proposals. Said public hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 3, 2013, Council Chambers, 3300 Capitol Ave., Bldg. A, Fremont, CA, at which time all interested parties may attend and be heard:


    Public Hearing (Published Notice) to Consider a Planning Commission Recommendation to Approve a Planned District Major Amendment to P-8112(Q) and adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration in Accordance with the Requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for a New Regional Park Located at the former Dumbarton Quarry. (PLN201300126)

    ….don’t go to sleep on this one.

  13. It’s been pushed back til Sept. 17, at the request of the East Bay Regional Park District. We’ll have another story (maybe two) on the topic before the 17th.

  14. Is this quote correct ?

    “Dumbarton Quarry Associates a company that delivered crushed rock aggregate until operations ceased in 2007 made a deal with City of Fremont in 1996 allowing the quarry to continue to operate for another 10 years, but required the company pay to fill the quarry pit with soil and transform it into a regional park when its business finally ended.”

    Wait a minute! Didn’t we ORIGINALLY enter into an agreement in 1996 to fill the quarry with water once operations ceased….and which is now being proved to be infeasible.

    Not to re-hash the issue – anyone hanging around this venue knows the backstory – but – here’s the main point – –

    This kind of coverage is – IMHO – simultaneously a disservice to the greater Fremont community AND generous to the historical political record of our Council and business dealings by DQA.

    WHY WHY WHY – are our little omissions and errors so frequently spinning in the same direction?


  15. ….Any why doesn’t post #16 immediately make the all-important list of “RECENT COMMENTS” ??

  16. Wow, Marty you’ve been mired on the “conspiracy theory” BS for far too many posts.

    It’s been addressed before – –

    I’ll remind you again.

    There is no “conspiracy”.
    Just people doing what’s in their selfish best interest.

  17. #14 Dan,
    EBRPD plans on turning Dumbarton Quarry into a KOA for land yachts, you know those huge gas guzzlers.
    When the EBRPD made there presentation to the planning commission, they kept emphasizing that Europeans vacation in Huge Motor homes and it would be convenient for them to have this facility for parking there land yachts.
    Very little was for locals, a few campsites, it should be all tent campsites. I do not want my tax dollars for the convenience of Wealthy European’s vacationing. I am, was a big supporter of EBRPD. I am a member of Protect Coyote Hills. I am so disappointed in there plans, decisions to build a KOA for wealthy Europeans.
    You can see there presentation on the cities website…

  18. Struggling w the new interface. Take 2. Good place to restart history on the dumb bartering quarry fiasco.

  19. Ted –
    Here’s the short version –
    DQA extracted the full value of that which they were promised as part of a deal struck with the City of Fremont.
    Unfortunately, for reasons beyond our control and ability to anticipate, Fremont residents will never receive the value of that which they were promised.
    Seemingly, there was no contingency or penalty for failure to perform OR if there was – it isn’t being enforced.
    Bill and Anu were re-elected.

  20. Unfortunately, our city council reeks of the swine who falsely claims to mean bussiness.

  21. Chris D scooped again –


    I cant help but feel that what Fremont expected (a lake and a park) and what we’re actually getting (a park with more land and no lake) represents significantly less value than original agreed upon.

    If this value were originally promised in the form of cash, how would residents feel having now been told the equivalent of “We can’t pay you back.”

    How do residents feel when our Council accepts this considerably reduced value and never considers what else could be offered in exchange for the loss of the lake?

    Great deal for DQA – they got theirs – AND, they didn’t have to give back according to their original promise.

    Looking forward, I definitely agree that the “free” RV parking will be a boon – – – but, I speculate it’ll do so for many less-fortunate who call their tenement on wheels – “home”.

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