Final General Plan Project Community Meeting July 21

A document that outlines proposals on how to develop Newark in the future will be presented.

The City of Newark is inviting Newark residents to its fourth and final community meeting about the Newark General Plan Enhancement Project.

The community meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 21 at the .

The General Plan Enhancement Project's objective is to update the 20-year-old Newark General Plan, a policy document that acts as a guideline for county and city leaders when it comes to decision-making for future development.

At Saturday's meeting, a document known as the Preferred Growth Scenario will be presented. The document presents recommendations for growth that was created by a team of graduate students and one professor from the California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

The proposals outlined in the Preferred Growth Scenario were drawn from various meetings, documents, community surveys and more, according to an email from Community Development Director Terrence Grindall.

In previous meetings, Newark residents expressed their desires for a “thriving downtown” and a civic center that provides more spaces that can be used by residents.

The Preferred Growth Scenario (PDF) document shows ways to do this by transforming the NewPark Mall area into a mixed-used area, expanding its Civic Center toward the corner of Thornton Avenue and Newark and renovating Newark’s Old Town district – an area located on Thornton Avenue that spans from Interstate 880 to the Union Pacific Rail.

The following are excerpts of the proposals for each area as written in the Preferred Growth Scenario.

NewPark Mall area is proposed as a town center that combines new commercial office buildings and an enhanced retail presence, while preserving the existing central mall building. The development in the NewPark Mall focuses on converting the overabundant amount of surface parking into opportunities for employment, housing, traditional and high end retail options, and a possible entertainment center.


The Preferred Growth Scenario proposes a redesign and expansion of the Civic Center in its current location that expands north to Thornton Boulevard. The redesign and expansion of the Civic Center allows for a Civic Center Plaza as a community focal point, modernized facilities for the City, and an established identity.The Civic Center Plaza is envisioned to contain government offices, a public library, a police department, and proposed retail and office uses. The incorporation of the retail and office uses in the Civic Center Plaza provides employees in the plaza with amenities and offers employers opportunities to locate their business in a focal point destination.

Old Town

The Old Town District within the Old Town Corridor is the historic area of the city and is planned to contain mixed-use buildings and high density residential as proposed in the City’s 2010 Housing Element. Although building height is to remain within current zoning (a maximum of three to four stories in height), the Preferred Alternative Scenario recommends that development stay within two to three stories in height. …High-density residential use in the Old Town District is proposed to front Thornton Avenue and is envisioned to be lofts, condos, and apartments. The integration of residential uses in Old Town will enhance the area and maximize commercial growth. Recommended density of development in Old Town ranges between 20 to 30 units, which could be accomplished within structures that are two to three stories in height. With this level of development, Old Town could support the amenity of a public park proposed along Thornton Avenue at Magnolia Street. …The proposed area and park could host neighborhood events, such as farmers’ markets, festivals, and movie nights.

The document also outlines more information about the city’s plans to build a linear park along an undeveloped portion of Cedar Boulevard, the Dumbarton Transit-Oriented Development that will develop about 200 acres of land near Willow Street and the development of Area 3 and 4 near Cherry Street between Stevenson Boulevard and Mowry Avenue.

For more information, see the attached document or visit www.newark.org.

What do you think of the plans to enhance Newark's civic center, Old Town district and NewPark Mall areas? Tell us in the comment section below.

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Editor's Note: This report was updated to correct the date of the meeting.

Mona Taplin July 13, 2012 at 05:05 PM
I don't see anything that I would object strongly to. I like the planning for Old Town Newark and would prefer 3 story buildings, but four stories isn't that far out of bounds. I also like the thought of expanding the Civic Center to some extent,but wonder if that much expansion would be a good idea when traffic is considered. I think the leadership we have in office now is thinking in the right directions for Newark to grow and prosper. Our "bedroom community" image would be enhanced to the benefit of all of us.
DeAnna_archived July 13, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Slow it Down on Cedar Boulevard, it is not Highway 880. There is to many people walking up and down the street. The new buildings, I really do not care about that. When you damaged my personal property, I am coming for you in the Court Room. It is not a Freeway, after you pick up your supplies from Home Depot. Where do you live so I can drive 80 Miles an Hour in Front of Your House . . .
Nadja Adolf July 13, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Somehow I don't think four story tenements along Thornton would improve our "bedroom community" image. Who will buy them? Will they be owned by low income housing providers, or absentee landlords? Where will the tenants park? Other cities have found tenants of higher density housing parking blocks away - which leads to people in those areas leaving and turning their properties into absentee landlord rentals. See Portland, Seattle, and even Eugene.
Margaret Lewis July 14, 2012 at 12:15 AM
What is the rational for outsourcing the general plan "enhancement" to college students hundreds of miles away? Click on the small map that accompanies this article and you will see that NewPark Mall sits in the bay south of the Dumbarton Bridge. How many plans have been proposed for Old Town over the years? Is the City planning to use eminent domain to take property for development? How else to have multi-storied apartments? The REIT that owns the mall has a big say in future development. Newark staff can envision all the enhancement and opportunities and visions it wants. The missing element is reality which in Newark is the same as fantasy.
Mona Taplin July 14, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Nadja, I know several people who would like to live in a three or four story building to avoid doing a lot of yard work. That includes young working people, and a senior citizen couple near my age. Seattle, Portland and Eugene are all much larger cities than here, with much older housing. The city I was raised in has very little parking in it's residential areas simply because much of the housing is old, and built on small lots withour room for driveways and garages. I would assume that parking would be taken in consideration if these buildings are erected, because rentals do have laws that mandate parking for tenants on the property. Not all property owners abide by those laws, and it is up to the tenants to demand it. The problems you spoke about are problems that can and should be solved.
Mona Taplin July 14, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I really like the idea of a park in that eyesore spot on Haley across from the opened portion of Cedar Blvd, and would like to see the same behind us on the corners of bettencourt and the unopened portion of Cedar. That would make a huge improvement. The area just beyond the old downtown section going towards the bridge looks seedy as all get out. It is badly in need of civic improvement. Margaret Lewis, YES there have been many proposals for improving downtown Newark, and evey one met with a huge amount of opposition from land owners. It can use more upgrading in the existing section, but it does look considerably better than it did just a few short years ago thanks to the Dave Smith administration.
Margaret Lewis July 14, 2012 at 04:48 PM
The Cedar extension has been an eyesore for nearly 40 years. Plenty of time for the council and city staff to make some recommendations on improvement. No need to spend $20K on college students 200 miles away to ask them what Newark needs. The city recently changed zoning on the mall area precluding the kind of development the students proposed. In April the council voted to spend $80K on consultants to formulate a plan for the mall. How much more money will be wasted? Stunning that we see the results of the semester of studies that includes ideas such as a shuttle bus running around town; traffic calming measures on Thornton and a future bayside trail that has no bay side. Newark still lacks an updated general plan and environmental impact report. Thus this term paper has no basis in any kind of reality. CalPoly ends up with $20K in its coffers and we have a document with colorful drawings.
Responsible Citizen July 15, 2012 at 04:30 AM
We paid out-of-town college kids to help create a plan for Newark. These kids have no stake in Newark and no experience. This gig is nothing more than padding for their resumes'. Soon they'll be on the payroll at some city government keeping the developers there happy. They don't care about newark. How qualified are these kids? Scroll up and read the paragraph, 'Civic Center': There you will read the phrase, "Thornton Boulevard." Uhmmm.... I always thought this street was named Thornton Avenue. I'm not nit-picking, I'm simply demonstrating that these kids aren't qualified and just blew into town and did what they were told to do. They don't realize that this isn't an imaginery scenario or academic exercise. If these kids make a mistake, who do we hold accountable? Why did we hire people from out of town? Did city leaders shop around for a group of people that appeared qualified and would also further their agenda? If this isn't the case, why didn't city leaders hire grad students from Cal or some other local school? Newark's Community Development Director Terrance Grindall is demonstrating basic incompetence if he needs out-of-town college kids to put a happy face on his nefarious plan. Anybody that is concerned should attend the general plan meeting on July 21st and do their best to help keep our government honest and accountable. Once the condominium projects and the other blight goes up, they'll never come down.
Margaret Lewis July 15, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I love this “pie-in-the-sky” planning that these out-of-town college students did for the City of Newark. It is so easy to come up with these ideas, but so impractical to implement them. The one thing that is always forgotten is the cost and the ownership of the property. Take the meandering bike trail and park on the unfinished sections of Cedar Blvd. WHO is going to pay for these proposed improvements and WHO will maintain them? We have already seen the City cut back on park maintenance when times became a little lean. I am sure that the homeowners, whose property lines are adjacent to the unfinished Cedar Blvd, will be thrilled with a park on the street with the potential for crime and other nefarious activities affecting their property. The only logical section, for a park, would be the section between the railroad tracks and Hailey. The most logical use for the other unfinished blocks is to either pave them, as a street, or run a line down the middle and let the land go back to the adjacent property owners. They would get a bigger lot and it would make a lot more sense to put in new property sound walls for the new lot size. In addition, new lots, with new houses, could be created and built where the unfinished streets end at an already paved street. I bet you could get 2 to 4 new lots and homes where Cedar Blvd. intersects with Spruce St, and the same where it intersects with Bettencourt. In fact, (continued in next comment) Dean Lewis
Margaret Lewis July 15, 2012 at 05:02 PM
In fact, I believe that if the City abandons the use of the land as a street, it is required to go back to the property owners, not be turned into a park. As for the rest of the plan, there are many owners of the land and buildings in the NewPark area. Getting them all together to agree on the proposed developments would take a Herculean effort that ‘aint going to happen. It is also doubtful that the land can ever be cleaned (ie, remove the chemical pollutants) in the so called Area 2 (the old FMC and other chemical plant area) to develop the transit proposed development. The proposed train station is a joke and will do little to serve our residents. A train station needs to be built in the area of Central and Sycamore. That way it could serve all the trains (ACE, Capital, etc) that run through Newark. Underling all of this is “Why would anyone want to build all this stuff in Newark anyway?” It is not like we are the center of the universe. We don’t have the traffic or population to support a “Santana Row” type development in the City. Wake up and quit dreaming. Dean Lewis
Mona Taplin July 15, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Dean and Margaret Lewis, I do understand some of your concerns, but I would like to see something beneficial happen to the unopened sections of Newark Blvd. I'm sure you remember the opposition to opening the street to traffic years back. Very legitimate opposition then and now. If it were paved now from say Bettencourt To the RR tracks it would be a street to nowhere. No housing or businesses on that portion at all, just a dead end at the tracks. Would letting it revert back to homeowners like me raise property taxes considerably? Realistically it shouldn't, but who can answer that question truthfully? I wouldn't like to see my taxes go sky high and I'm sure most other residents backing on the street would feel the same way, but wouldn't that be the least hurtful way to the city if nothing is done to make use of that street? Cutting that street there to begin with was a very bad decision as I'm sure the present City Council would agree. There has to be a compromise of some sort that would work for all of us don't you think? I wouldn't mind seeing a park there, or community gardens or something useful but my concern would also be what happens when money is tight. The entire length is an eyesore now to put it mildly. Recent weed abatement helped, but take a walk thru there yourself. It's still a fire hazard with dried bits of wood debris all along the road, and those huge pine trees that never should have been planted there.
Mona Taplin July 15, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Again Dean and Margaret, we were told years ago by the Dave Smith administration at the time that if the street was not opened the land would legally have to revert to home owners along the length of it. That was at a meeting of home owners and city officials back when there was a proposal to open the street using grant monies. I think if the city were to come up with a good plan for it's use there wouldn't be any problem getting consent to do so, as long as they didn't decide they could do whatever they wanted and the homeowners would be liable for upkeep. Lot's and lot's of pros and cons to the entire situation aren't there! If it did revert back to home owners, man I could raise enough food back there so trips to the grocery store would be infrequent! Let's see,- four chickens for eggs and meat. ( eat one,- replace it) Carrots, onions, green beans, beets, swiss chard, tomatoes, cukes, radishes------. we already have some fruit trees. Maybe we could put an orchard back there instead of veggies. Wow! I'm beginning to like the idea.
Mona Taplin July 15, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Not wide enough for houses on the intersection of Bettencourt and cedar, unless ONE house was built facing Bettencourt on each side of the street with one whale of a big back yard for both. Might get a wee bit of flood every time it rained though.
Geoff Burton July 15, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Mona, would that property revert to the home owners or would it be offered for sale to the home owners? Was that strip of land set aside during the development of the area or was it taken by the city from the property owners at the time through Eminent Domain ?
Geoff Burton July 15, 2012 at 09:52 PM
How about a solar corridor use the power generated to supplement the schools energy needs redirect the savings into the education of our kids. Just spit balling.
Dan Spencer July 15, 2012 at 10:23 PM
How about cleaning up the trash on the railroad tracks before anything else? Thanks for mowing over the grass and weeds but you left all the trash. Come on who's running this city now?
Albert Rubio July 15, 2012 at 10:49 PM
The NUSD already pitched their solar savings solution in the last school bond of 63 million dollars which passed by less than 1% of voters. The problem is that the savings is always illusory. It is a gain for someone at the cost of someone else. At full cost it is prohibitive, but once you add the government subsidies (tax dollars) and the government agency payment (more tax dollars), you have the full prohibitive cost borne by the tax payer.
Albert Rubio July 16, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Planning does not work. Unfortunately the notion of the public coming together to discuss city planning is farcical at best. This is not meant as an insult to anyone or to be dismissive: 1. The Emperor has no clothes.... City Planning is really a superfluous monopoly function interfering with the property rights of others breeding mischievous conflicts of political and economic interest at taxpayer expense. 2. Planning is either a science or an art. If a science then some study is required along some principled study. If an art, it requires some aesthetic taste neither of which are best found in a committee. Either way is a dressed up process for compelling business/home owners how to re-direct their resources. 3. Planning can better take place by voluntary and distributed cooperation among experienced business people and owners at private expense. 4. Abolishing plans, licensing, fees, and the multitude of other restrictions would do more for Newark's improvement than anything done in it's history or likely to be done in its future under government planning. AUDIO: The Private Production of Urban Planning Daniel Coleman and Stephen Krogh ASC Panel: Economic Freedom http://mises.org/media/3048/ Jane Jacobs, The Anti-Planner http://mises.org/daily/1247
Albert Rubio July 16, 2012 at 12:17 AM
The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs wrote: "There is a wistful myth that if only we had enough money to spend ... we could wipe out all our slums in ten years .. and perhaps even solve the traffic problem. "But look what we have built with the (money already received): Low-income projects that become worse centers of delinquency, vandalism and general social hopelessness than the slums they were supposed to replace. Middle-income housing projects which are truly marvels of dullness and regimentation, sealed against any buoyancy or vitality of city life. ... Cultural centers that are unable to support a good bookstore. Civic centers that are avoided by everyone but bums, who have fewer choices of loitering places than others. Commercial centers that are lack-luster imitations of standardized suburban chain-store shopping. Promenades that go from no place to nowhere and have no promenaders. "Thousands upon thousands of small businesses are destroyed, and their proprietors ruined, with hardly a gesture at compensation. Whole communities are torn apart and sown to the winds, with a reaping of cynicism, resentment and despair that must be heard and seen to be believed. "(And) the increased tax returns from such sites, accruing to the cities as a result of this 'investment,' are a mirage, a pitiful gesture against the ever-increasing sums of public money needed to combat disintegration and instability that flow from the cruelly shaken-up city."
Margaret Lewis July 17, 2012 at 07:35 PM
If you check out the details of Cal-Poly's plan you will see a proposed Bus Rapid Transit route on Thornton, Cherry and Mowry. BRT needs dedicated lanes which, in this routing, means removal of homes and businesses on Thornton, Cherry and Mowry. Thank you to the Newark Planning Department for encouraging and promoting this fiasco. By the way, the Planning Department is also outsourcing some of its work to Spangle and Associates. The mayor and council need to bring back responsible planning to Newark and if the current staff can't do it, time to find employees who can.
Margaret Lewis July 17, 2012 at 08:16 PM
When the development was planned, there had to be streets. These streets were dedicated to the city by the developer. If for some reason the streets are not used as such, as I understand the rules, the land, at no charge to the property owner, is supposed to be dedicated to the adjacent property owners. I don't think it would significantly or maybe at all change you property values. Dean Lewis
Mona Taplin July 18, 2012 at 06:32 PM
The crews are out there pruning back those overgrown pine trees today. I may have to leave my house and go to a motel till they are finished because it's really riling up my asthma and allergies big time.I wish they would cut them down and get it over with. none directly behind me, but on both sides.
Mona Taplin July 19, 2012 at 04:23 AM
I doubt if any of this will be built in the near future because of funding, and we really don't have any evidence that the three or four story apartment buildings will be tenements.
Nadja Adolf July 19, 2012 at 08:28 AM
Really? I guess you missed the law currently under consideration that would limit low income apartments to 1 parking space, and higher income ones to something like 1.5 or 2 spaces. Call your state assemblyman's or state senator's office and ask them about this. I consider it the developer save a buck and destroy the surrounding neighborhood act. And in Portland, Eugene, and Seattle they actually required more than one parking space per low income apartment.
Nadja Adolf July 19, 2012 at 08:38 AM
They could always run one of those little railroads like you see at the Zoo and at parks right down the middle. That ought to make for some amazing traffic accidents.
Mona Taplin July 19, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Good idea Nadja! They could lay the tracks where the drunkards style sidewalks are now. One train on each side of Bettencourt, going round and round. Wouldn't that be fun? They could put in a couple carnival type concessions in the center, selll greasy burgers and earn lots of money! Popcon! Candy! Whoop de do! On my side the tracks could go from the rr tracks to Bettencourt. 3 trips around the oval for $2.00. Toot! Toot! All aboard!! On the other side of the tracks pony rides and more carnival concessions. On second thought maybe we shouldn't give the planning commission any more ideas. I don't want any part of that land to revert to me, but I sure would like to see it turned into someting useful. Right now it's the place where all the dirt and gravel are dumped for trucks to pick up while doing road work. The conifers they are pruning row are beautiful trees, but they are way too big to be planted curb side even on a street that never opens.
Hilda July 20, 2012 at 07:34 AM
How about putting up a pre-cast wall on the north side of westbound Mowry Avenue from Cherry Street to Cedar Boulevard. This is the only portion of town that does not have the wall where the south side of street does, Cedar does, as does Mowry. The fences are worn and falling apart, looks horrible. If the city had money to update all of the other stuff why not this??? Not mention, it is the main road leading to the prestigious Silliman Center.
Hilda July 20, 2012 at 07:40 AM
south side of street does, Cedar does, as does CHERRY* (typo)
Alex July 20, 2012 at 10:53 AM
Most important Albert, her belief that urban planners and architects should not be realizing visions, but creating and preserving resilient, inclusive and adaptable neighborhoods – places which can largely look after themselves – still resonates.


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