For Discovery Bay boat owners as well as those in surrounding areas, the adoption of the combining district on May 19 provides alternatives to the nearby marinas, such as the Discovery Bay Marina and Orwood Resort, which were reportedly filled nearly to capacity.
“I think that this ordinance tries to recognize that there is a unique and special need in Discovery Bay, because of their close proximity to the water,” said Patrick Roche, principal planner with the county conservation and development department.
The approved parcels sit on 800 acres of agriculture-zoned lands along the south side of State Highway 4, roughly a mile from the edges of the road from Regatta Drive to Discovery Bay Boulevard.
While the combining district allows for 25 percent of the storage spaces to be allocated for recreational vehicles, on the lands zoned for general and heavy agriculture (zones A-2 and A-3) and within one mile of public boating storage, the number of vehicles allowed drops to 15 percent.
Last year, when the environmental impact report was filed with the county, Supervisor Mary Piepho said she believed the passage of the ordinance would give residents constrained by county regulations (forbidding the parking of boats or RVs in owners’ driveways) appropriate alternatives. Piepho was unavailable for comment for this Press story.
But regardless of the ordinance’s potential benefits to boat and RV owners, worries over oil and gasoline spillage into nearby Kellogg Creek are a concern for some local residents.
Roche however, said the guidelines and regulations set in place by the county would sufficiently protect against such dangers: “Anyone that applies for a use permit is also subject to storm-drain regulations as put forth by CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act). They are also subject to the environmental review process and the public hearing process. There are rules in place; there are safeguards.”
Discovery Bay resident Don Flint said he is more concerned with the size of the district, and the tacit potential for future development.
“My objection stems from the large amount of land affected, and that it is directly across from the entrance to Discovery Bay,” said Flint. “I hope this isn’t part of a zoning creep strategy that will allow for more development that is not supported by necessary county services and infrastructure improvements.”
The reason for the large designation of acreage, according to Roche, was to allow for future growth. The availability of the 800 acres, he said, doesn’t imply they will all be utilized.
“We (the county) wanted to make sure we had a place near Discovery Bay that had the room and flexibility for the future,” he said. “It certainly doesn’t mean that all 800 acres are going to used. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that most of the owners will not choose to apply for applications. Frankly, if we were to get applications from all the property owners, we would have trouble processing them all. I don’t think anyone believes that will happen.”
Flint says he is taking the wait-and-see approach. “Now that the BOS has made their decision, I hope when we look back 10 years from now, we find that it has been a positive step.”