Oakley officials are trying to decide how much the city should be enforcing the upkeep of residents' homes, and they're asking for the public's input.
The Planning Commission is holding a special meeting Monday night in which residents will have an opportunity to weigh in with their opinions. In addition, an online survey on the city's Web site seeks input on such items as paint deterioration, broken or boarded up windows, overgrown weeds and the parking of recreational vehicles in yards.
Code enforcement standards modeled after those in Antioch were brought to the City Council in June. However, because Oakley has more rural and agricultural land than Antioch, it became clear the guidelines would need to be adjusted.
The standards were originally intended to focus only on rental properties, but the scope broadened as officials studied it.
"Months and months ago we began looking at this issue and soon understood that it needed to apply to all dwellings, not just rentals," said City Manager Bryan Montgomery. "And realizing that Oakley is transitioning from rural to more suburban, we wanted to include the public in those decisions. So the question became: What do people want, and how much is too much or too little?"
Mayor Kevin Romick explained the reason behind Monday night's meeting: "I had hoped that by taking it to the Planning Commission it would allow us to invite as many people as possible, and give us a better breadth and spread of ideas and how to address those issues and ideas."
Romick added that enforcement would most likely be in response to a resident calling the city to report a neighbor's violation.
Public input will be compiled and discussed at a City Council meeting next month, at which time the public will have another opportunity to weigh in.
"Curb appeal is a positive thing for everyone," said Planning Commissioner and Realtor Iris Obregon. "It enhances property values, and especially in this market it's an important aspect. It's also about pride of ownership and pride in the community. I think it's an important step."
Officials acknowledge that the topic is likely to create some debate among residents. "I know there will be some people who are unhappy with it, calling us the 'pretty police,'" said Montgomery. "But it needs to happen and it needs to be done. We think this is a very good way to start."
The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at Delta Vista Middle School, 4901 Frank Hengel Way. To participate in the city's survey, visit www.ci.oakley.ca.us and click on Oakley Property Maintenance Survey.