By Daniel Borsuk
Reacting to complaints from constituents in five of her rural-oriented District 3 communities, Supervisor Diane Burgis may have scored a political victory for voters in the communities of Bethel Island, Byron, Diablo, Discovery Bay, and Knightsen. Supervisors voted 5-0 to not include the five communities in her district as part of the ordinance that would, for the first time, lay down regulations on the raising and keeping of farm animals and bees in residential districts and the keeping of roosters in agricultural zoning districts.
Supervisors have yet to officially adopt the ordinance; that could occur on April 9, provided the county planning commission signs off on the alterations to the proposed law.
“The issue I have is who is going to enforce this in District 3?,” Burgis asked at Tuesday’s Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meeting. “You’re going to have to deal with bad actors.”
The county is inadequately equipped to enforce the proposed ordinance in District 3, she maintains, because her district encompasses 165,000 acres, and is by far, the largest. The next largest district has 53,000 acres.
District 3 has two county animal control officers and one county code enforcement inspector assigned to cover the entire area for violations, county officials said.
“It’s not a good idea to exclude an entire district from an ordinance,” Board Chair and District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill, at one point cautioned Burgis in an effort to have the supervisor identify the communities that should be excluded from the ordinance. “You need to be specific which communities you want to exclude from the ordinance.”
Initially proposed last year by District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, the ordinance was designed to insert land use controls as the county’s expanding housing market, especially in unincorporated rural areas, permits homeowners to own and maintain livestock or bees in residentially zoned areas that must meet lot size requirements.
For instance, a home with 40,000 square feet can have eight beehives. A house with 20,000 square feet but less than 40,000 square feet can have six beehives. A house with less than 6,000 square feet can have four beehives.
The proposed ordinance would permit a homeowner to have a maximum of two head of livestock for every 40,000 square feet.
A homeowner can keep one rooster provided the proprietor has a minimum lot size of five acres, according to the proposed ordinance.
Countywide Redevelopment Successor Agency in the Works
Supervisors were also informed that beginning July 1 the state mandated Countywide Redevelopment Successor Agency Oversight Board (CRSAOB) goes into effect.
The seven-member agency will assume all decisions previously taken by 17 municipal redevelopment boards and the county redevelopment board, Maureen Tomes of the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department informed supervisors.
The state legislature enacted AB X1-26; that legislation dissolved all redevelopment agencies in the state in 2012 as part of a move by Gov. Jerry Brown as a move to save the state money.
The CRSAOB will consist of one representative from the county board of supervisors, one from the city selection committee, one from an independent special district, one from the Contra Costa County Superintendent of Education, one from the Contra Costa County Community College District, a representative of the largest labor organization in the county, and a member of the public picked by the board of supervisors.
So far, Contra Costa County Community College Board trustee Vicki Gordon has been selected by her peers to serve on the CRSAOB.
The CRSAOB will be staffed by the Contra Costa County Auditor-Controller with assistance from the Contra Costa County Conservation and Development Department.