Oakley has a long history in agriculture, especially in producing some of the best wine grapes grown in California. Growing conditions here on the Delta are favorable for wine grapes and the soil here is unique in the state, both contributing to grape vines still producing fine quality grapes (and wines!) for over 100 year.
City Council is charged with directing growth and maintaining Oakley as a Place for Families, Business and Development in the Heart of the Delta. One initiative intended to maintaining “place” introduced by Council in the Fall of 2010 was a public workshop to gather input from the Community on ways to balance growth with Oakley’s agricultural heritage — some form of agricultural conservation. A Council Sub-Committee has considered various other conservation programs and approaches, and also reflected closely on input from Oakley residences in the recent Strategic Planning process. On June 26th of this year, City Council unanimously authorized the first of what may become a series of steps to introduce the Oakley Agricultural Conservation & Viticulture Program (“ACVP”).
The ACVP will:
- Have voluntary participation for Landowners interested in maintaining agricultural parcels, especially those with wine grapes;
- Include mitigation under provisions of state law for approved development projects on parcels with farmland of significance, as defined by the CA Department of Conservation;
- Be advised by Grower and Community participation; and
- Reflect the uniqueness of Oakley, its citizens, its location and its “ancient vines”.
The City has contracted with the Agricultural – Natural Trust (“Ag Trust”) for assistance in developing the ACVP. The Ag Trust is directed by a Board of farmers and ranchers, with combined experience in Contra Costa agriculture of more than 125 years. Over the past fifteen years, the Ag Trust has been involved in the conservation of almost 4,000 acres of agricultural and habitat land, and has been working with the City for several years in defining the approach adopted by City Council last June.
A Project Plan is in place to:
- Develop an “inventory” of agricultural parcels;
- Form and ask assistance from a Growers Advisory Forum;
- Hold a series of Community Workshops over the coming four months;
- Develop potential funding mechanisms for conserving agricultural parcels; and
- Assist City Staff in presenting formal recommendation to City Council on the Agricultural Conservation & Viticulture program before summer 2013.
The City of Oakley will be hosting the first Public Workshop for the proposed Oakley Agricultural Conservation and Viticulture Program (“ACVP”). The workshop will be held on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers located at 3231 Main Street, Oakley, CA.
The workshop is intended to present the proposed Oakley ACVP to the public and interested parties, build public interest, and solicit input from the broader community. Items on the agenda will include: welcome and introductions hosted by Mayor Kevin Romick; brief overview of the history of the ACVP and the goals of the workshop; a discussion of draft program’s future steps; and an open discussion amongst the workshops attendees.
The City of Oakley invites residents, local business owners, farmers, residential land owners, and other interested parties to help shape the direction of the Oakley ACVP. Participation from a diversity of stakeholders is essential for the program’s success.