Looking to create a more consistent architectural look for a larger area near downtown, the Concord City Council this week approved expanding the boundaries within which its trademark Spanish-influenced architectural theme will predominate.

With Tuesday’s vote, the Concord Avenue corridor west from downtown to Market Street (“inner core”), as well as properties along and near Clayton Road west and south of the downtown BART station (“outer core”) will now fall within the zone where “early California” Spanish-themed architecture and design will be required.

The ultimate goal, Councilwoman Carlyn Obringer said, would be to ensure a consistent Concord look for people passing through city “gateways” — including the BART station, from state Highway 242 or along Clayton Road from the east.

A map outlines the newly approved expansion of what is now called the Downtown Concord Design Guidelines area. (Image courtesy of city of Concord)

“We’re trying to put forth a vision for the future Concord, and I think we’re making progress,” Obringer said.

Within the more southerly expansion of the “outer core” area is the Concord Terminal Shopping Center along Clayton Road just east of the elevated BART tracks. Council members said at least part of that 1963-built strip mall could be redeveloped in the coming years, and that the new design standards would guide such work.

“We’re trying to put forth a vision for the future Concord, and I think we’re making progress.”

Councilwoman Carlyn Obringer

A total of 28 properties, most of them occupied by commercial businesses, will be affected by expansion of the design area.

The design area was created in 2014 as the Todos Santos Plaza Design Guidelines for Spanish-style designs near that downtown square. With the expansion farther from the plaza, those guidelines are now called Downtown Concord Design Guidelines.

When asked by council members Dominic Aliano and Edi Birsan whether the expansion will create financial burdens for property owners, Director of Community Development Andrea Ouse said it would depend largely on the size of a given project.

Owners of projects already in the city’s planning pipeline, she said, have been made aware of the potential changes and have acted accordingly.

The changes were approved unanimously by the council.