Development in Discovery Bay is a hot-button topic for many residents, but there is one growth issue most can agree upon the need for additional boat and RV storage.
The county does not allow for boat storage in driveways and side yards, but with the growth we've experienced over the years, we don't have a lot other options, said CSD Director David Piepho. My complaint has always been that you can't tell residents they can't park a boat in their driveway and then not give them an alternative.
For years, current county law has stated that residents cannot park or store their boats farther than one mile from public boat launching facilities. For most, the ordinance effectively ruled out storage locations other than the Discovery Bay Yacht Harbor, which has long been filled to capacity. The same holds true for the nearby Orwood Resort and Lazy M Marina. Consequently, owners have been forced to store their boats as far away as Livermore and Tracy.
Now, however, the rules might be about to change.
A new proposal called the Boat Storage Combining District is a countywide ordinance that would allow boat storage areas to be developed within agricultural zoning districts beyond one mile of public boat-launching facilities. The regulation would also provide for the storage of recreational vehicles in the same locations.
Our marina is in the corner of the community where there is nowhere to build more boat storage, and we (the town) realized we needed to do something else, said Piepho. So we went to the county and community development, and almost immediately they agreed that there was an issue. I think this is a good move for the community.
Scott Pellaton, owner of Delta RV and Boat Storage, thinks so too. Since purchasing his property on Bixler Road a few years ago, Pellaton has been storing as many as 200 boats and RVs on a portion of his 50-acre spread. When he originally bought the land, it was not his intent to serve as a dry-storage facility, but when the previous clients came to him saying they had no alternatives, Pellaton agreed to house them there.
While he concedes that his business technically violates the current ordinance, he believes the county has been looking the other way because of his small size and the vital service he provides. If and when the new ordinance passes, Pellaton said he has committed to the town to improve and expand his site.
If we become part of the new zoning, then we'll put up walls and make it less unsightly, he said. We have committed to the town to improve it at such a time that is financially feasible.
But I think the problem in Discovery Bay and surrounding areas is that to be within one mile of a marina or harbor is difficult. I understand that the whole idea (behind the original ordinance) was to keep the boats from coming back into town, but in a lot of ways this is forcing people to leave the area for their recreation, and that's not right, either. I believe this (new ordinance) will help.
Supervisor Mary Piepho agreed. People don't want to live in Discovery Bay and park their boats in Livermore or Pleasanton, she said. This (new ordinance) has the potential to provide more storage opportunities locally for our residents and will also keep the neighborhoods neat and tidy.
The negative declaration proposal a document that states there is no substantial evidence that a project will have a significant effect on the environment has been filed with the county, and the public comment period will be open until Dec. 10. The Contra Costa County Planning Commission is expected to conduct a public hearing on the proposal on Dec. 16.
A copy of the negative declaration may be viewed at the offices of the Department of Conservation and Development, and at the Contra Costa County Application and Permit Center at the McBrien Administrative Building, north wing, second floor at 651 Pine St. in Martinez. Written comments may be submitted via e-mail to email@example.com or by fax to 925-335-1250.