OAKLEY -- Having failed to convince a regional planning agency to reduce the number of new homes it must plan for, the city of Oakley will be filing an appeal.
The City Council this week agreed to lodge a formal protest with the Association of Bay Area Governments, which notified Oakley last spring that, according to its preliminary calculations, the city must have enough residentially zoned land to accommodate an additional 1,163 housing units over the next few years.
Known as ABAG, the agency helps cities in the nine-county Bay Area meet challenges that affect all of them, including the need for housing that's accessible to people at all income levels.
As such, it periodically calculates how much housing each city must provide over a specified period in light of the entire region's need, a figure determined by the state based on population projections and other variables.
Of the additional homes that Oakley is expected to factor into its 2014 to 2022 residential development plans, 482 are to be for low-income individuals and families.
The city's current share is 775 units, including 339 for low-income households.
To meet that quota, the city rezoned 16 acres to accommodate developers that wanted to build apartments.
Oakley originally asked ABAG in September to revise its allocation downward but was denied.
The city argues that by requiring it to plan for so much additional housing ABAG is undermining its efforts to generate jobs, which Oakley has done by identifying three areas where commercial buildings could go.
Nor can it afford to have low-income housing built, Oakley indicated in its request; with the elimination of its redevelopment agency, some of the revenue it generated for that purpose also disappeared.
If the city fails to set aside enough land to meet the state's projected housing needs, however, it won't be allowed to continue issuing building permits, Senior Planner Joshua McMurray told the city council Tuesday.
Councilman Randy Pope voiced his dislike of the mandate.
"I see this as usurping local control. Why are we paying these folks when they keep doing this to us?" he said, referring to the dues that ABAG collects from member cities.
The city's appeal will go before an ABAG committee in early April; any revisions it recommends would be considered by the full executive board at its May meeting.
ABAG will present cities with their final allocations on June 3.
Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her on Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.