CLAYTON -- "I'm not trying to stir the pot," Councilman and Realtor Howard Geller said, before he proposed to reverse a past council decision prohibiting gas stations in Clayton.

"I think the policy is already decided," Vice Mayor David Shuey said.

Councilwoman Julie Pierce said, "I can't imagine how unsightly it would be."

Geller argued that the city has had a 1.66-acre parcel of downtown land on the market for four months without a written offer, and the gas station prohibition could be limiting developer interest.

"I would have mixed views," Councilman Jim Diaz said. "The community was very divided about the Chevron proposal."

In 2002, a Chevron gas station was proposed where CVS is now located.

"It was an old council and it was a vote in that location," Geller countered.

Pierce said a vote to change the prohibition would be an act of bad faith because a gas station would never be approved in the heart of the historic downtown.

Mayor Hank Stratford said a gas station could be OK in Clayton, but not in that location.

Council candidate Alyse Smith asked if the listing broker was marketing the property in an aggressive and creative way.

City Manager Gary Napper assured her that they are, noting that the property is considered small in terms of commercial development. The council quickly voted to keep the gas station prohibition in place.


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Geller then requested that the city-owned property behind City Hall bordering Mt. Diablo Creek be put on the market, too. He theorized that as long as there was a marketing team in place, it would be a good time to put the other property up for sale simultaneously.

Pierce reacted, "It is only .7 acres and impacted by a flood zone."

"I would rather keep that parcel in reserve," she insisted. It could be used for residential development, a city corporation yard expansion, library or historical society storage, or parking, according to Pierce. Other ideas for the property included tennis courts or a community swimming pool.

Shuey, who is on the real estate sale subcommittee with Pierce, told Geller he would make sure that the listing Realtor knows that the .7-acre parcel is also available, but the council decided not to put that up for sale.

Geller did not strike out on a third proposal to reactivate the Unsung Heroes Committee. He and Shuey were chosen to reconstitute the committee which will develop criteria for the selection of Clayton residents who will be publicly recognized for quietly giving their time and energy for the good of the town.

The entire council agreed that honorees should be people who have not been publicly honored or who are not necessarily well known.

Recessing to open its meeting as the Oakhurst Geological Hazard Abatement District board of directors, the group heard City Engineer Rick Angrisani report that the Stevens, Ferrone & Bailey Engineering Company found little change in the status of the potential slide area of the Kelok Way/North Valley Park area.

Angrisani said meters installed there would be read again around December. The board also approved the 1027 Pebble Beach Drive owner request for $2,040 to obtain an updated report on the property where there is evidence of separations and cracking.

Geller said that cracks are common during dry periods and may close when there is rain, but agreed with the entire board that it is a good idea to check the status of potential subterranean movement in the area at this time.

Contact Dana Guzzetti at dguzzetti10@gmail.com or call 925-202-9292.