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Looking Ahead: Plan Goes To 2030
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Oakdale’s General Plan update process is ready to move forward after the Oakdale Planning Commission and the Oakdale City Council hosted their last public study session on Monday night, Oct. 10. The joint meeting was the last in a series of public workshops to draft the language of the updated general plan.

The Oakdale General Plan is a document used to regulate most aspects of city services in the City of Oakdale. It controls everything from city growth to parks services and air quality policies. The Oakdale General Plan has not received a comprehensive update since 1994. The current update of the general plan has been an ongoing process since 2009. Once updated, the general plan will be valid until 2030.

Monday night’s meeting focused on two areas of the Oakdale General Plan, natural resource policies and community service policies. Consultants from Atkins (formerly PBS&J) presented a summary of each of the two sections and took comments and suggestions from the council, commission and members of the community.

Harriet Ross, a consultant hired to work on the 2030 General Plan, presented the new draft of natural resources policies for the Oakdale General Plan. This section of the plan included seven subsections: open space/biological resources, agricultural resources, air quality, water resources, mineral resources, visual resources, and cultural resources. New additions to this section include an emphasis on supporting local farmers’ markets. The council and commission spent time discussing agricultural mitigation and the possibility of including a plan for agricultural mitigation in the general plan update.

“Natural resources is a section that you are required to have in your General Plan, but agricultural mitigation is not specifically required. But we can look into that,” Ross said.

Community services policies are not specifically required for a general plan, but Dan Dameron with Atkins explained that Oakdale wanted to include topics relevant to quality of life. The subsections of the community services section included police protection, fire services, educational facilities, libraries and healthcare. The City of Oakdale does not provide educational services or healthcare, and relies instead on local school districts and the Oak Valley Hospital District for those services. Their role in those areas is instead a coordination and supporting role.

The next step in the general plan update is to complete the city’s specific plans. Dameron explained that the specific plans have to coordinate with the general plan, and any relevant changes must be made to both. Once the specific plans are complete, Atkins will start the Environmental Impact Report process.

“We will start the EIR by late February, and hopefully have adoption of the General Plan by the later part of next summer,” Dameron said.

One dozen or so Oakdale residents attended the study session at Gene Bianchi Community Center. Only a few chose to address the council and commission directly. Among them was Charles Bush, who expressed concerns that delays in updating the general plan could slow down current development projects in Oakdale.

“Please approve this general plan as soon as possible,” Bush said.