Tonight, 01-24-2023, at 6:30 pm, the Oakley City Council will review a zoning ordinance. A review of the ordinance by City Attorney Derek Cole took place. Apparently, he has suggested that the ordinance, as originally presented, should not be approved. I am concerned because City Attorney Cole did not support the City Council not approving a McDonald’s across the street from Laurel Elementary School. Matt Beinke of Blackhawk Services and O’Hara Properties, LLC, has filed a lawsuit against the City of Oakley because of the denial of the McDonald’s drive-thru.

            Not surprisingly, Matt Beinke opposes the original proposed zoning ordinance. He did not believe it favored him. Consequently, the law firm of Cox, Castle, and Nicholson sent the council a letter explaining Beinke’s opposition to the original zoning proposal. The letter pretty much summed up the complaints in the lawsuit. The lawsuit is a public record.

            Mr. Cole apparently has sided with the law firm, which supported his position regarding McDonald’s. The City of Oakley hired Adam W. Hofman of the Hanson Bridgett law firm to defend the City in the litigation. My thoughts is Mr. Cole should have recused himself from providing input to the law suit, and allowed Mr. Hofman to advise the council regarding the ordinance.

            I believe that the Council needs to request that Mr. Hofman provide input to the zoning ordinance, and then meet with the council in closed session to discuss his findings.

            I believe it would be prudent for residents to voice their concern regarding the situation. The views should be heard considering that Steven Graham, a law partner in Mr. Cole’s law firm, is the City Attorney of Indio, home of Bryan Montgomery. Bryan Montgomery. Mr. Montgomery was involved in the support of building McDonald’s at Laurel Plaza.

Links to the proposed ordinance and the attorney letters are below.

George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA   

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