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Busy Session Greets Oakdale City Council Members
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Oakdale City Council had a full agenda for its Sept. 6 meeting. The city introduced a code amendment that would establish a system for entering development agreements with developers of large projects in Oakdale. They also held a first reading of a proposed development agreement between the City of Oakdale and Trieste Investors LCC, which would lock the city into a 10-year agreement for a 155-unit housing project on East F Street.
The code text amendment would establish procedure for entering into development agreements, a process that the city does not currently have any system for. The city recognized that they lacked a development agreement process during the establishment of the East F Street Specific Plan. Trieste Investors LCC requested a development agreement with the city, and in drafting that agreement city staff realized that the city did not have a procedure for dealing with development agreements.
“We need to have the framework in there and this is the perfect time to add it,” said Danelle Stylos, Community Development and Services Director for the City of Oakdale.
Council also introduced a specific development agreement as a separate agenda item. That agreement is with Trieste Investors LCC for a housing development that includes 99 senior housing units and 56 single-family homes. The agreement was introduced as a first reading and was not voted into code. First readings give the council an opportunity to read the development agreement and request changes. It also introduces the agreement to the public and gives them a chance to express opinions. The development agreement will be brought back for a second reading at the Sept. 19 Oakdale City Council meeting.
Several council members voiced concern over the agreement, which includes use of  $2.2 million of city funding for installing roads in the development area. Under the development agreement the city would be responsible for extending D Street to meet Stearns Road and moving Stearns Road slightly west of its current location. Both councilmen Tom Dunlop and Michael Brennan expressed concern over what would happen if the city or the RDA were not able to fully fund the road projects.
“I don’t want the onus on the city, I want it on the developer. They are the ones who want to go through with it,” Brennan said.
Interim City Manager Greg Wellman told council to review the agreement carefully before agreeing to anything. A development agreement is a legally binding contract between the city and the developer where the city locks in certain rates and regulations in addition to the expenses the city agrees to pay. In return, the developer puts in most of the major infrastructure for the developed area.
“You want to make development and encourage desirable development while at the same time protecting the city’s interest to insure we have a sustainable development plan.”
Doug White, an attorney contracted to handle the development agreement, explained to council that they can re-write the agreement as many times as necessary.
“Our goal is to get it as right as possible,” White said.