Home Local Business Oakley Business’ Not Happy With City–Send Letter

Oakley Business’ Not Happy With City–Send Letter

by ECT


I was forwarded a letter this afternoon that was sent to the Oakley City Council and City Manager. It appears to be a joint letter from multiple Oakley Businesses who want to see improvement from the City of Oakley regarding the Oakley Plaza planning.

In reading the letter, they have a point. But their opposition to how the project is being completed should have come months ago as construction is done with precise timing and planning. Having said that, I would hope the city would issue a formal response and fixes this mess.  I am all for the construction and improving downtown, but you have to take into consideration our local business and work with them. The city could have been proactive in advance in educating business on the construction and the impacts it would have–such as entrances being closed.

I won’t get into the “he said, she said” debate, but I will say this. The City needs to do better and do so with urgency.

Here is a copy of the letter which is dated February 1, 2013

Shop Oakley First

An Open Letter to the Oakley City Council and the City Manager

We are writing to express our concern and frustrations regarding the current construction in the Oakley Plaza shopping center. It seems that the planning of the parking lot construction did not take into account the severe negative affect it would have on the businesses in the plaza.

Any time that work on the parking lot has been done in the past, it was done in stages, so that the entire parking lot was not closed at one time. The closing of the last remaining main entrance to Oakley Plaza has been a nightmare for customers, law enforcement and of course, we as business owners trying to survive a down economy. Now we also must attempt to survive this construction project.

The last main entrance should never have been closed until one or both of the entrances from Main St. were re-opened. According to the city, all paving will be done at the same time. We urge you to reconsider and have the paving done in stages and one of the entrances from Main Street opened until the Vintage entrance is reopened.

On the first day of the closure of the main Vintage Parkway entrance, we observed two Oakley police cars responding to an emergency call in the Oakley Plaza. The cars exited the Police Department, crossed Main Street on to Vintage Parkway and then proceeded to what they thought was still the main entrance. Upon realizing that the entrance was barricaded, they made U-turns in the middle of Vintage, and then had to navigate to the opposite lane to enter behind Carpaccio’s, where, again to their surprise, a Sysco food delivery big rig was blocking half of the entrance. The difficulty our own police officers have entering the Plaza proves the difficulty our customers have entering the Plaza.

Since the construction began, the city has not maintained the Oakley Plaza in a manner to be inviting to customers. The sidewalks have an abundance of dirt caused by the construction. Windows are broken and not repaired. The newly installed garbage cans are filthy and never properly closed. Overhead outdoor lights have not been replaced. There is no key to the utility room or the rooftop access ladder (fire department violations). The back lot is once again overgrown. In fact, one of the city inspectors this week told a tenant that he should clean up his own mess – meaning the filth caused by the ongoing construction. And this was after he left several messages with the project manager requesting that the sidewalk be cleaned as it was filthy and becoming a safety hazard.

We are respectfully requesting that:

  1. At least one of the entrances from Main Street be reopened while the Vintage entrance is closed.
  2. The necessary repairs be made as noted above.
  3. The sidewalk, windows and garbage cans be cleaned at least weekly during the remaining construction period to make a more inviting presence and avoid further damage to indoor flooring, carpet and merchandise.

The above will not completely repair the financial damage that this project has caused us, but it will help prevent future losses. If the City of Oakley is going to continue to promote its “Shop Oakley First” campaign, then they should start by maintaining the shopping area right across the street from city hall so that our customers can do just that.

Silver River Restaurant
Latina Styles
Hook, Line & Sinker
Center Barber Shop
Nail Tek II

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Former Chamber Member Feb 2, 2013 - 2:55 pm

Shocker, Hook Line and Sinker is complaining again. They have cried wolf one to many times with the City. Sorry Gene & Michelle, the City does not revolve around your wants and needs.

Barbara DuMont Feb 2, 2013 - 3:12 pm

I talked to Michael of Silver River last week and he was very very pissed off. He had gone to city hall to complain and got blew off by city staff. So its not just Michelle and Gene.

Gene Buchholz, Owner, Hook, Line & Sinker, Oakley, CA Feb 3, 2013 - 10:46 am

What most of you don’t know we and other businesses in the Oakley Plaza exhausted every effort to work with the city manager. We left messages for Mr. Montgomery to call us which he did not return instead he sent his staff over to negotiate with us.
We have been told to by city officials to bring our concerns to the city council so the council and the newspapers would hear it first hand. We have been trying to work this out quietly, as Mike said he was sent this letter but by whom? It must have been someone within the city. The letter was hand delivered by Mike from the Silver River intended for Mr. Montgomery, but Mr Montgomery would not come out and accept it himself.
You must remember the City is our landlord. Yes they own the building we and 7 other business rent, Oop’s I forgot the newest business which came in in November just moved out and Yogurt Island closed in October because of their landlord.
AS MENTIONED IN OTHER ARTICLES THE CITY OF OAKLEY HAS BUSINESSES AND OTHERS SCARED TO SPEAK OUT. All the businesses in the Plaza have felt the same pain as the Hook but were scared to say anything because they are on a month to month lease and are scared of being evicted until now – they are fed up and thought it was time to address the city with their issues.
How many lawsuits and loss of businesses is the city going to have until they decide to make changes and become a Business Friendly City?
As far as “construction is done with precise timing and planning” – that’s only in a perfect world. It’s the timing, planning and communication that have been ongoing issues with all the businesses in the plaza and the city.
As far as crying wolf, Mr. Former Chamber member, the Hook, my wife and I have brought more revenue and positive attention to this city than the City of Oakley or you will ever dream of!!!
And we don’t hide our identity behind a handle like “Former Chamber Member”,

burkforoakley Feb 3, 2013 - 10:50 am

@Gene, I never got your letter from someone in the City. Someone who is a member of the “Oakley CA Tomorrow Group” saw it posted from your wife and sent it to me. For the record, I thought the letter was nicely done.

Julio-Antioch Feb 2, 2013 - 3:02 pm

While I agree with ‘Chamber Members” comments I also agree with the comments about the parking lot. Having made a trip to eat at LaCosta, the best place to eat in Oakley, it was a real nightmare. Oakley will also regret those insets or narrrowing of the street. That is a main artery and should not have that impeding traffic.

burkforoakley Feb 2, 2013 - 3:16 pm

@former chamber member
It’s their livelihood on the line along with the other business owners in the plaza… they have a right to have beef with the City and contractors. Can’t blame them, I am sure if it was your business, you would feel the same way.

Frank Spinelli Feb 2, 2013 - 5:26 pm

Past council forgot the name of the street when they approved their dream

JimSimmons42 Feb 3, 2013 - 7:11 am

While I feel for these business people, they knew the construction was coming and should just deal with it. They need to realize this is a small pain for long term gain. When completed, they will get more traffic.

Insert Name Here Feb 3, 2013 - 9:55 am

There isn’t any mention of how low their rent has been. I hear their rent is much lower than anyone elses. I agree that the parking lot is a pain in the butt to get in to but I also have noticed it has never been fuller despite the construction. People are finding their way in to get to the businesses they want to get to. If a certain business is hurting it might be that what they offer just isn’t worth the effort. Even so, as soon as it is all fixed up I bet they will see more traffic than ever at that shopping center. I would take this time to be fixing things up inside, planning a parking lot is done promotion, etc.

burkforoakley Feb 3, 2013 - 10:05 am

Well, you are correct, but their rent is not the issue, its the construction. I simply was providing the Letter sent to the City by the plaza business. I am waiting on a city response and I’ll post that as well (if they even give one). But to answer your question, this is information I provided in Oct.

The City is the landlord and Hook, Line & Sinker is on a month-to-month lease at nearly 50% less than market value.

Market value in Oakley is estimated at anywhere between $0.75 per sq. ft. to $1.10 per sq. ft.. So you can do the math on a 4,500 to 5,000 sq. ft. building. Basically, Hook, Line & Sinker has a fabulous deal on rent at our expense.

The biggie though, is the City further worked with the business to waive their Common Area Maintenance Fees (CAM) of $1,200 per month which could otherwise have gone to Oakley Taxpayers during construction.

To put this in perspective, Black Bear Diner across the street is paying well above market value at $2.08 per square foot with a 3% annual inflation adjustment.

While I feel for the business, there has to be some form of give and take. Knowing Oakley, they could always do their construction better. Just look around the City, everything is either behind schedule, delayed, or have to fix it again later.

Oakleyite Commoner Feb 3, 2013 - 10:37 am

The City should go out of their way to make the least impact on any business when construction is being done. Business is what keeps the city in business. Maybe the library idea is not that bbad. I read that they say eighty thousand people will visit annually. I bet a good percentage may stop and buy something going to or from the local center. To former chamber member, it is great that you are a former chamber member. You have no clue about the sacrifices and what it takes to be in business. I hope it all works out and the businesses eventually get more customers when the plaza is done.

Jon Gonzales Feb 3, 2013 - 1:06 pm

With all do respect to Gene B. at Hook, Line & Sinker, him saying Montgomery should be the one negotiating with him is ridiculous. I don’t want our city manager wasting his time doing that. That is why the City has staff, to talk to business. Montgomery is not at Genes service. He is correct in sending staff to find out what he is complaining about now. What is this accusation about Mike getting it from someone at the city, just log onto Facebook and see that Michelle posted the letter. See, he complains at anything.

Until other business “speak out” as Gene suggests, it’s all speculation. The city has been kind to them; they just want something for free.

I got a laugh by his last claim saying he brings positive attnetion to the city. There is a rumor floating around that Gene has sued Oakley, I don’t think that is much positive attention he claims he has given to the City. What a jerk, I’d rather buy my merchandise for half the price somewhere else.

Frank S Feb 3, 2013 - 2:45 pm

I agree 100%. Great comment.

Bobby Lott Feb 3, 2013 - 1:18 pm

I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I encourage these businesses to chill out. One bit of advice I have is taking from Field of Dreams. “If you build it, they will come”. This problem is only temporary, it will pass. You will get more traffic down there with Carpaccios and La Costa’s new building. Relax and have a beer.

Jill Thompson 55 Feb 3, 2013 - 1:29 pm

I agree this is temporary but Oakley should be helping its business more than they have done in the past. If the business feel this way, go to the city council and speak out. If the council does nothing, fire them in the next election.

Cathy Feb 3, 2013 - 1:42 pm

I agree, it seems like the city can’t win with this guy. I don’t see him being positive, all he does is complain. I was shocked when I drove by there the other day. All those people in the restaurants and all the cars in the parking lot. I would think with all the guns the media says are getting sold he is doing just fine. If there weren’t any cars in the parking lot I would say he might have a case but there are plenty of cars in there – just not in front of the complaining businesses. Makes me wonder more about the businesses rather than the parking lot. If they don’t like it they should go somewhere else. I bet as soon as the parking lot is done there will be tons of businesses looking to get in there, the rents will go up, and then they will complain about not being able to afford to stay there. Pathetic.

Frank S Feb 3, 2013 - 2:47 pm

Great point that when its completed more cars in a parking lot mean more traffic to stores when completed. Very pathetic.

Frank S Feb 3, 2013 - 2:44 pm

If these business don’t like it, then leave. It’s that simple. Stupid behavior does not need to be rewarded because they don’t like construction. They should have worked with the city well in advance, not last minute.

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