City Council Set to Approve CarMax Development Despite Opposition from Residents


Pleasant Hill City Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, July 17 at 7:30pm to consider approval of the CarMax development at Diablo Valley Center (former K-Mart site), near Diablo Valley College.
Residents surrounding the site are mobilizing opposition.  At a recent Planning Commission meeting, no residents spoke in favor of the project and twenty-four residents voiced opposition.  PHCRG and Save Pleasant Hill hope to delay project approval until unanswered questions are resolved and project risks eliminated or lessened.

PHCRG opposes this project, as proposed, because it:

  •  Threatens public safety and fuels gridlock at one of the worst intersections in Contra Costa.
    • CarMax estimates it would receive 8-10 auto deliveries DAILY by 44-ft.-long car-hauler trucks weighing up to 86,000 lbs. and carrying 10 cars each -- the actual number could be HIGHER depending on sales volume.  These trucks would enter from Chilpancingo Parkway and exit onto Old Quarry Road, adding to the existing gridlock.
    • The Contra Costa Blvd/Chilpancingo Parkway/Concord Avenue intersection is one of the busiest and most accident-prone in the county due to high traffic volume, complex road configuration and poorly-designed freeway access.
    • The city plans to reduce the width of Old Quarry Road from 4-lanes to 2-lanes, increasing traffic.
    • Auto test drives and car-hauler truck deliveries would worsen existing unsafe traffic conditions.
    • Currently:
      • Diablo Valley College traffic is heavy “every hour on the hour” when classes are in session.
      • Chilpancingo Parkway serves commuters from Pleasant Hill and Martinez and backs up during commute hours and holiday periods.
      • Concord’s Veranda shopping center (Diamond Blvd., former Chevron site) opens soon, adding to area traffic.
  • CarMax's development application violates the General Plan and city zoning regulations, by allowing wholesale business in a retail area
    • This project isn’t allowed under our General Plan!  This site is designated as 25% housing.
    • City zoning laws prohibit wholesale operations in retail areas – a fact city officials ignore.  Wholesale business is permitted ONLY in the city’s designated wholesale district.
    • Pleasant Hill CarMax would refurbish cars and sell them, wholesale, to registered auto dealers/brokers.
    • Auctions increase the numbers of car-hauler trucks on our roads and would be IN ADDITION TO the estimated 8-10 DAILY car-hauler truck deliveries.
    • Note: The city is relying on CarMax's own estimate of 8-10 trucks daily. CarMax is hardly an objective source, this figure is likely understated. 
  •   Threatens the environment
    • Potential impacts to the adjacent creek
    • Toxic chemical use, pollutant runoffs, air quality issues, fuel storage tanks on site
  •   Reduces property values of adjacent homes, lessens livability of the neighborhood
    • CarMax is not a conventional shopping center -- it doesn't belong across the street from homes.
    • Wholesale operations don't belong in retail areas, which is why city zoning regulations prohibit what CarMax proposes.
    • Would add noise and light pollution and reduce walkability of area for residents.
    • Proposed hours of operation daily from 7:30am to midnight -- unsuitable for adjacent homes. 

86,000 lb., 44-ft. long car-hauler trucks would make 8-10 deliveries DAILY, and possibly far more, depending on sales volume.  Truck deliveries would enter CarMax from busy Chilancingo Parkway and exit onto the supposedly "pedestrian-friendly" Old Quarry Road that backs up to homes.

Car-hauler truck front view

We believe City Council should delay consideration of this project until:

  • Conflicts with the CarMax application and the General Plan and zoning ordinance are rectified.
  • Internal inconsistencies with the city's General Plan are resolved (including the city's own requirement to have 25% housing on this site . . . instead of 0%, as proposed!)
  • An unbiased INDEPENDENT opinion on traffic impacts is obtained from a consultant knowledgeable about retail/wholesale auto sales industry (to reality-check traffic estimates provided by CarMax)
  • Consider the reasonable demands of residential neighbors by requiring conditions of approval that lessen its adverse impacts on people and the environment – or reject the project altogether if project impacts cannot be mitigated.

Please come to this meeting and voice your concerns; or send the City Council an email to share your thoughts.