Here is a brief recap from last nights council meeting.
In a reversal from the last City Council meeting which left many questions unanswered and the approval of the Corporation for Better Housing (CBH) application for a Density Bonus up in the air, the Oakley council appeared to have reversed course and approved the proposed Density Bonus.
By approving this Density Bonus—which is a right for CBH—it adds 105 units to the already 404 approved units. This also prevents the city from being sued while the developer agreed to work with neighbors on a wall, include trees and improve security.
Councilwoman Anderson started off by asked about how many concessions the contract allowed per the law. The builder could have up to three. She followed up by asking how many he has requested which was zero. She asked if the builder planned to ask for any. He replied he had no intention to increase further.
CBH President Charlie Brumbaugh made the statement on record that if this density bonus is approved, he will not add additional units later. He proclaimed that by going to the maximum capacity, it was not responsible development in their opinion and settled on a lesser amount of units—currently, CBH has about 28-units per acre.
Although Mr. Brumbaugh prefers a 4-story building, the council thought a 3-story unit that stretched wider would be a better solution and appeared to stand firm on this request. They appeared to not be fans of the high-rise buildings in Oakley. At the expense of this request, this will reduce a portion of the the proposed playground within the complex—the basketball court is unaffected. It should be noted, nothing is finalized on a 3-story vs. 4-story building.
The council also received feedback from staff from the outreach events prior to their decision. The many questions and concerns surrounding the project caused the City into quick action with two small meeting with residents and a large town hall forum for dialogue to occur. Topics from privacy, to security, to a wall all were discussed.
Prior to last night’s council meeting, a group of residents (myself included) met with Mr. Brumbaugh and City staff which included City Manager Bryan Montgomery. This was reported back to the council—essentially plans for a wall and trees are being worked out and easing concerns of residents.
A comment card by Lori Sprinkle recapped the meeting and mentioned how she didn’t want the city wasting money on legal fees since it would likely lose.
Leticia Gonzalez spoke about how she was a working mother and was thankful for the complex allowing her to have a cheap place to raise her family.
Paul Seger spoke about how there had been past discussion about a pool and a garden for the seniors because they are not dead and need activities. He suggested that there needs to be stress released facilities/programs onsite for the people living in this community which includes a teen center. He then mentioned how he heard an elevator in a senior building was broken for nearly 2-weeks before it was fixed.
Curtis Branson spoke about how he appreciates the thought of recreation on the complex which might want to include bocce ball. His reason for speaking but asks the council to ensure this project has a local hire
Jasmine Tabisaura echoed Lori Sprinkles speaker card by recapping the meeting prior to the council meeting, however, she added her concerns of child safety and the overcrowding of Orchard Park Elementary School.
Charlie Brumbaugh came back up at the request of the council and proclaimed that if an elevator was down for two weeks; his staff would not be working for him. He will look into that issue and report back to the council or the city and provide the report. After hearing concerns, he shared that in the new buildings, one of the rooms will provide a larger gym while other buildings can provide recreation areas.
Councilman Frazier stated that he strongly encourages local hire in the community and wants jobs created.
Councilwoman Anderson stated that for the residence, she understands it’s their decision; she recommends a 8 ft. wall due and would like large evergreen trees that are fast growing to protect privacy for the residents.
Councilman Pope weighed in and summarized how he was pleasantly surprised with the outreach the city did and the cooperative attitude. He stated how Mr. Brumbaugh was trying to be a good neighbor and it’s appreciated but he had a concern on the height of the wall due to shading it may cause, but he is a big advocate for senior housing and three story buildings as opposed to a four story building.
This was a complete 180 degree flip as Mr. Pope told the Contra Costa Times on January 11 “it stinks to high heaven”.
Vice Mayor Rios summed it up nicely when she proclaimed that she was, “willing to go with what the neighbors are happy with, I am happy with. They are the ones who have to live with this. This cooperative spirit is nice to have.”
After hearing the report back from the staff on the outreach, public comments, and hearing Charlie Brumbaugh’s commitments on record, the board approved the Density Bonus by a unanimous vote which two weeks ago went from a “I’ll take my chances in court” attitude to a unanimous approval—and saved the taxpayer some money.
Other Items to note:
- Senator Mark DeSaulnier was in the house and provided information regarding the City of Oakley electing to serve as the successor housing agency pursuant to AB 1×26. He explained the background and how he thinks there have been a choice amongst bad choices. Their solution was blocked by the CA Supreme Court. He explained how he was a very strong proponent for a strong and robust downtown-which Oakley was trying to accomplish as he did it in Concord. When the council debated, it was obvious that the council saw this as a power grab by the state and rather than allow the state or county to control funds, they thought its best if Oakley makes choices that are best for them. Randy Pope probably gave the most compelling response to this about smaller government and local control. Council voted 5-0 to become a successor agency.
- Jim Frazier is headed up to Sacramento today for a CALTRANS meeting. This will be the final hurdle for the relinquishment of Highway 4. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) will offer a final review and approval of the paperwork. The final exchange will occur in mid-February. As of today, it should be finalized and await transfer.
- Mayor Romick announced there would be a change to the Appointments to Regional Boards and Commissions. He announced that Jim Frazier would be taking on the Habitat Conservation Plan Executive Committee/HCP Conservancy. This will leave Mr. Pope with just two committees. Mayor Romick also announced Mr. Frazier and himself will exchanges mayoral committees with vice Mayor Rios also serving on boards Mayor Romick was on last year in the vice mayor role.
- Bryan Montgomery teased that there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony in a few weeks for Holly Creek. More details will be coming in the future.