Council to consider regs for parolee housing

By Tamara Steiner on June 4, 2018

The Planning Commission rejected an ordinance to allow parolee housing in Clayton at the May 22 meeting, sending the hot button issue on to the City Council for action.

In August 2016, the city received an email from a non-profit looking to house parolees in Clayton. With the Municipal Code silent on the issue, a parolee home can locate in any residential neighborhood in the city, subject to few regulations.

The Public Safety and Realignment Act (AB109) passed in 2011 allowed for the early release of some inmates and transferred their management to the counties. Contra Costa County has been increasingly using group homes to supervise the parolees.

To give staff time to draft an ordinance regulating the location of parolee homes, the council passed a one-year moratorium in October 2016 and extended twice.  The moratorium expired last October and the issue of how to control parolee housing is now on the front burner.

An outright ban on parolee housing is illegal and would subject the city to costly litigation.

In order for the city to have some control, Community Development Director Mindy Gentry asked the Planning Commission to recommend the Council adopt an ordinance allowing parolee housing in neighborhoods zoned for multi-family density and not within 300 feet of a school, daycare, library, park, hospital, group home or any place licensed to sell alcohol.

“I say we do nothing,” said Clayton resident Bob Deiss during the public hearing. “Let them sue. The community would welcome the challenge.”

“We live in a state that ignores federal law,” said another resident. “Why do we have to do anything?”

The planning commissioners were on the same page. None were in favor of recommending the Council adopt the ordinance.

“None of us wants to have this next to us,” Chairman CW Wolfe said. “We can see the level of discomfort. We just don’t have enough information to make an educated decision.”

The vote was to recommend the Council not adopt the ordinance.

The issue is tentatively on the agenda for the July 17 City Council meeting.

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