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Planners Stay Active

POSTED January 24, 2012 10:14 p.m.

The Oakdale Planning Commission is waiting for the adoption of a new Oakdale General Plan to make many changes, but are not sitting idle in the meantime. Scot Hicks, chair of the commission, addressed the Oakdale City Council on Jan. 17 regarding the commission’s recent activities.
“Any changes we make will have to be in line with the new general plan, it just makes sense to wait,” Hicks said.
The adoption of the new Oakdale General Plan will mean a new set of guidelines for planning and development in Oakdale. Hicks said that the commission will thoroughly review all current zoning and code text to bring it up to date and in line with the new general plan.
“That will keep us busy for 10 to 18 months. We might start having more than just our two meetings a month,” Hicks said.
Recent scrutiny of the commission, according to Hicks, prompted comments that they are sitting around and waiting for the general plan update and he wanted to show that is not the case. Hicks said the commission also plans to start holding public meetings to discuss elements of the general plan and zoning laws.
The Oakdale Planning Commission has had several recent requests for conditional use permits in the central-commercial zone. The original purpose of the central-commercial zone was to create a special shopping and historic district in downtown Oakdale to cater to tourists and visitors. The Oakdale zoning code has specific requirements for what type of businesses are allowed in the central-commercial zone. Recently, the commission allowed an exception for a small automotive repair shop in the zone and on Jan. 18 they heard a request to allow a church in the central-commercial zoned area of South Sierra Avenue.
Churches are currently allowed in light industrial, residential, neighborhood-commercial and heavy industrial districts. Churches are not allowed in general-commercial, central-commercial, or limited industrial zones.
“Churches are compatible with other uses in the C-C zone. Churches are commonly found in historic city centers since they are often an integral part of a community,” said the staff study prepared by planner David Wage.
Planning commissioners approved a major use permit to allow a church at 220 S. Sierra Ave. The Oakdale City Council will decide on Feb. 6 if a code text amendment allowing churches in the central-commercial zone is appropriate.

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