McDonald’s at Laurel Plaza is on the Oakley City Hall agenda again. O’Hara Properties, operated by Matt Beinke, the developer pushing for a McDonald’s and developing a Quick Quack car wash on the property, is back at the City Council dais. The issue is should McDonald’s be allowed a drive-thru conditional use permit (CUP) to operate. Also, should Quick Quack Car Wash be permitted to begin operations on the site?

            Yes, there will be increased traffic created by the opening of the two businesses. The Council denied the original request approximately a year ago. Much of the concern was the safety of the children attending Laurel Elementary School having to walk and arrive at school negotiating the businesses in the process.

            The superintendent of the Oakley Union Elementary School District (OUESD) demonstrated grit when he wrote a letter to the Council indicating a threat to the safety of the children with the opening of the businesses. Traffic consultants hired by Beinke proclaimed their own perceived expert opinion, based on “counting cars,” and said there was no threat. The “experts” did not seek input from the school officials and discounted Hetrick’s letter. There is a link below to view his letter.

            I fear that there are now members of the dais who will say the traffic experts are correct. Greg Hetrick is “just one man” and should not be taken seriously in saying the additional businesses across from Laurel Elementary School is not safe for kids. In the process, they are degenerating a person who dedicated his life to elementary school children. In the process, he needed to obtain a Master’s degree in education, pass numerous state tests to gain a school administrator credential and build decades of experience in ensuring the safety of children. Minimalizing his input is “just not right.”

            It will take grit to vote against the businesses. Especially so for the two new members of the Council. Much money was dumped into the last election by Beinke. Saying no to him can leave discomfort in some people.

            I hope the OUESD Board of Trustees takes formal action addressing the issue at their next board meeting on April 5, 2023. Contacting the Board of Trustees now to encourage such action would be prudent, at least in my mind.

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

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