About 50 people turned out Wednesday night to speak out against a plan to bring fireworks back to San Ramon.
During a two-hour forum, residents from the area proposed for the fireworks launch brought up more than a dozen concerns, ranging from fire danger to streets and trails becoming filled with outsiders coming to watch the Independence Day show.
The current proposal is to use Old Ranch Park as a place to shoot off the fireworks, but not as a place to watch them. The park would be secured, allowing access only to the pyrotechnicians, police and firefighters.
The city assembled a team to scout out possible locations for the aerial display, including interim Police Chief Joe Gorton, San Ramon Valley Fire Marshal Christina Keifer, city workers and the fireworks coordinator.
The plan would cost an estimated $167,000 and would close streets in the area at about 8:30 p.m. to prevent spectators from getting near the launch site. The show would begin at about 9:35 p.m. and end near 10 p.m.
The area "is owned by the city, including the fallout zone," Keifer told the crowd. "We have a lot of open space in the area.
The show is meant to be for San Ramon residents, and any advertising of it would be local to keep crowds of out-of-towners away. The potential of a large crowd from outside the area gathering in local neighborhoods was the prime concern to most of those at the meeting.
"The vast majority of people (coming for the show) are not from the area," said Jeff Larson, one of those opposed to the proposed location. "They're going to do everything they can to get close to the fireworks … This is thousands of cars. This is Candlestick Park."
Although the city cannot legally prevent people from elsewhere from attending the show, Gorton said, "We would have a large contingent of officers in south San Ramon" in the area near the launch site.
Motorcycle, bicycle and K-9 officer would be spread across the city, he said.
"Our primary concern is emergency access," Gorton said. At the last fireworks show, two years ago, much of the city was gridlocked for hours, blocking emergency vehicles.
Opponent Farrakh Khodadadi said forcing the fireworks on one section of San Ramon could polarize the city, and threatened legal action.
"If you're going to push this forward, you're going to have lawsuits on your hands, because we will fight you," Khodadadi said.