OAKLEY -- If parolees come to a halfway house here, the city will be ready for them.
The Oakley City Council on Tuesday unanimously embraced a proposed ordinance that sets rules for those who want to operate a residential facility for former inmates.
Council members were responding to the possibility of property owners wanting to rent to those recently released from prison. The parolee population has swelled as the state attempts to alleviate overcrowding by releasing inmates before they have completed their sentences.
While state law requires cities to allow group homes for other segments of the population such as those recovering from alcohol and drug abuse, seniors with dementia and the mentally ill, it's silent on the topic of living facilities for those on parole or probation, Oakley city Special Counsel Bill Galstan said.
In light of California's efforts to comply with federal mandates to reduce its prison population, however, "if we were to prohibit (them), I think we very well might be challenged," he said, noting that the appearance of the city interfering with the state's early release program could invite a lawsuit from the state or individuals who want to rent their property as a halfway home.
As such, Oakley will regulate these homes instead by requiring operators to obtain a conditional use permit from the City Council.
In the application they must specify the maximum number of people they will house and how many individuals will be supervising them.
Among the restrictions:
The proposed ordinance will come back to the council for a second vote; if approved, it will take effect 30 days later.
Reach Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.