Ordinance re-zones 25.92 acres north of Highway 64, east of Bowers Road

The Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously passed an ordinance on final reading that re-zones property north of Highway 64 and east of Bowers Road.
Board members took the action during their Oct. 15 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Karl Chambless and seconded by Alderman Billy Ray Morris.
Immediately before the final reading, the board opened a public hearing on the ordinance, but no one spoke either for or against it.
The ordinance, recommended by the Oakland Planning Commission, was passed on first reading at the board’s Sept. 17 meeting.
It amends the Municipal Zoning Map by re-zoning a 25.92-acre parcel from R-1, Low-Density Residential, to B-2, Highway-Oriented Business. The property is located directly across Highway 64 from the Olympic Steak & Pizza Restaurant.
During discussion shortly before the Oct. 15 vote, Mayor Chris Goodman said the “front part” of the property will be developed as a “community or neighborhood” shopping center, with a planned residential development behind it. He noted that, at a future board meeting, a request will be presented to re-zone the residential section.
Goodman said the “expectation or hope” is that residents who live in that area will “actually walk or bike over” to the shopping center.
While noting that this is a “common” type of development in certain areas, the mayor has acknowledged that it will be “something new” in Oakland.
Alderman John Troncone, who is a member of the planning commission, said there was not “currently” a specific proposal for use of the commercial area. He also said the proposed residential subdivision will be adjacent to an existing one.
“There are homes in The Oaklands,” he noted, “and that subdivision is going to be using that commercial area. We don’t know what it’s going to be. That’s a risk we’re taking.”
At the Sept. 17 meeting, Alderman Kelly Rector asked whether the residents were aware of the proposed development and had “spoken in behalf” of it. Goodman said he had not received any comments, either positive or negative.
“At the end of the day,” the mayor noted, “it all goes back to what’s developed and what’s put there, which would have to go through the planning commission.”
Rector concurred with Goodman’s comments.
“For me, personally,” he said, “I guess it would just really depend on what was proposed out front. But without a Design Review Commission, we don’t have a whole lot of control over what’s going to be out there, or what it’s going to look like.”
When Rector said he would be “anxious to hear” what the residents in that area have to say, Goodman said that was the purpose of the public hearing.
At least 15 days prior to the final reading, the Oakland Codes Enforcement Office had to send certified letters informing the landowners whose properties are within 500 feet of the land that was requested for re-zoning.
On the subject property, the re-zoning applicant had to post a sign instructing its readers to call the Codes Enforcement Office “for information about the proposed development.”