The Oakley City Council will review what many would consider a gutted zoning ordinance proposal. Approximately eighteen months ago, Councilmember Williams requested a zoning ordinance change. The item has come to the dais often, only to be sent back to staff or delayed.
Recently, it returned to the dais for approval. Black Hawk Developers, a heavy contributor to Councilmember Henderson’s campaign and Safeway, wrote a response. City Attorney Derek Cole asked for time to review the letters sent, saying the issues were “very complicated.” He did not finish “the review” until following the election.
Mr. Cole informed the city manager “that there is nothing the council can do” and must consent to Blackhawk Developers and Safeway. Mr. Cole has offered this advice habitually over the years. Joshua McMurray has submitted a “gutted ordinance” for approval. One of the provisions that a drive-thru must be 300 feet from a school disappeared entirely from the ordinance.
My thoughts are to leave the original proposed ordinance in place. A developer could apply for a code variance if willing to work with the city for an appropriate design that merits a zoning variance. Councilmembers Henderson and Shaw recently approved a variance for a residential driveway when they sat on the Planning Commission.
Now would be the time to contact Councilmembers regarding your thoughts on the gutted ordinance proposal. A link to the proposal is below. Yes, it will be interesting how Councilmembers Henderson and Shaw will vote on the item, having accepted accepting sizeable campaign donations from developers during their election bids.
George Fuller, MPA, MA City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA