Newark may soon build a new neighborhood that will offer different types of homes on 205 acres of land.
The city council unanimously voted Thursday night to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report and an amendment for a general plan for a new development to be built on the west side of town.
The Dumbarton Transit-Oriented Development has been a project in the making since 2008, according to city officials, and it will bring up to 2,500 homes to a now-vacant area once occupied by industrial businesses. The area begins east of Willow Street and spans west toward Hickory Street between Central and Thornton avenues.
Some local residents have criticized the project, .
But other residents, most whom were trade union members, filled city chambers to capacity during the public hearing in support of the project.
Union members thanked city staff and council members including text in the authorization that urges the project’s developers to hire local contractors for the development.
“I’m excited my community is here. I support this,” said longtime Newark resident Rich Zemlock, who works in construction. “America needs a middle class. …I’m hoping you put people in our community to work. I hope we [build] this in the right way.”
Mike Bucci echoed this sentiment, saying that it is the city’s responsibility to make sure the project gives opportunities to working class families to purchase and keep homes in Newark.
Authorization of the Dumbarton Transit-Oriented Development’s plan only lays out the framework and guidelines of what can be built in the area, said Community Development Director Terrence Grindall.
The development’s Specific Plan, created by Dahlin Group Architecture Planning, shows that the neighborhood will be a mixed-use region of residential units on 150 acres of land and commercial businesses on 14 acres, parks on 16 acres, with 22.95 acres for miscellaneous use and six acres for a future proposed transit station.
City council members and residents have consistently showed concern that only 16 acres will be designated for open space, but Grindall noted that the council will have the final say on how much land will be allocated for open space.
Council members expressed excitement about the project, emphasizing their interest in creating a local stimulus by hiring local workers and the project’s community benefits — such as a proposed new marketplace and an increase in student population that would bring money into Newark Unified School District.
The new neighborhood would increase the city’s population by an estimated 8,000 people.
Now, city staff will wait to be presented with specific building proposals from the developers. Though there is no timeline, the developers could bring those plans to city staff within the next six months, Grindall said. The plans then would be analyzed and ultimately brought to the city council.
For more information on the Dumbarton Transit-Oriented Development, click here.