A series of unfortunate events

So there is this church in San Leandro, Faith Fellowship, that has been asking the city since last year to allow it to move into a vacant industrial building.

To this day, the church has been getting the same response from the city: Sorry, you’re not zoned for a house of worship.

The church sued the city and has been in litigation in federal court to get that industrial building. Whatever the outcome of the situation, it should be one for the history books because never in the history of San Leandro has there been a church that wanted to move into the industrial area of town.

So I thought it would be nice to provide a timeline of the series of events that have transpired since the church first began its quest.

Here’s what has happened:

2005: Church leaders realize the congregation at Faith Fellowship has swarmed to more than 1,500 weekly attendees and that the church has outgrown its sanctuary at 577 Manor Blvd.

May 19, 2006: The city receives an application from Faith Fellowship to rezone the former MDL building, which has sat vacant for months, after church leaders meet briefly with city officials to discuss buying the property.

January 2007: Faith Fellowship purchases the former MDL building.

March 19, 2007: The City Council approves a newly created assembly overlay district, which rezones 13 potential sites in commercial and industrial zones comprising 197 properties throughout the city. Faith Fellowship is not included in the overlay district.

May 1, 2007: The assembly overlay district goes into effect.

April 12, 2007: Faith Fellowship’s rezoning application is heard by the Planning Commission and denied.

May 7, 2007: Faith Fellowship appeals the Planning Commission’s decision to the City Council. The denial is upheld.

July 12, 2007: Faith Fellowship sues the city in federal court, claiming the city’s denial of the church’s rezoning application violates the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The church asks for a preliminary injunction allowing it to occupy the industrial building it purchased.

Sept. 5, 2007: A federal judge temporarily denies Faith Fellowship’s request to get a preliminary injunction, essentially siding with the city.

Dec. 6, 2007: The Board of Zoning Adjustments holds a public hearing after Faith Fellowship submits a conditional use permit to the city to allow the church to move into the former MDL building. This time, on the grounds it operates “entertainment activities,” a legality in the city’s zoning code that says assembly uses are allowed in industrial areas. The conditional use permit is denied.


Bonding time

Are Hayward residents willing to support a possible June 2008 school bond?

Trustees on Wednesday evening got a glimpse of that answer as results from a November feasibility study were released.

Read the full story here.

About 400 potential voters were surveyed in the district’s study, and district staff have little to no room for error if they want to pass a successful bond, according to the study.

But judging from our own independent HayWord survey, the district may have its work cut out for it.

Results from our survey show 82 percent of bloggers indicated they would not support a facilities measure. Take note, however, that only 67 voters participated in our online survey.

If the HayWord is Ms. Cleo and can predict the future, then what should the district do?

Drive around your neighborhood. Are you happy with how your schools look?

How about a parcel tax? Teachers’ union leaders have said they would prefer that the district pursue a parcel tax to increase salaries and improve the interior of schools before beautifying exterior facilities.

What are your thoughts on such an idea, and would you support a parcel tax if it were to go towards teacher salaries, school supplies, district programs and so on?


The HayWord is YOUR word

Happy blogaversary!

Today marks the first birthday of The HayWord, which launched last year in hopes of opening up a can of collective wisdom from you all.

We’ve written 213 blog posts, some of them better than others. We’ve fielded 1,427 comments, some of them better than others. And in the last month we checked, we had 6,647 viewers.

So as we move right along, we’d like to hear from you all about how we can advance the conversation we’ve started. More live blogging at City Hall? More “overheard” tidbits? What else?

Let us know.


Got toys?

The Salvation Army is looking for them. The organization will be collecting all toy barrels by Dec. 17 in order to begin distribution on Dec. 20. Here are the toy dropoff spots:

Drop Off Locations:
All Starbucks in Castro Valley and Hayward; Castro Valley drop off locations include Castro Valley Public Library, Dental Assistant Training School on Jaimison Way, Eden Hospital, First Baptist Church of Castro Valley on Redwood Road, Pete’s Hardware on Castro Valley Blvd., P&W Market on E Castro Valley Blvd., Crossroad Christian School at Neighborhood Church, Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church on Center Street, Safeway on Redwood Road, Score on E Castro Valley Blvd., Vibrant Care Rehabilitation on Redwood Road; Hayward drop off locations include Curves (B Street, Hayward Blvd., Mission Blvd.), Denny’s Restaurant on Industrial Pkwy, Dominique Hair Salon on Hesperian Blvd., Emil Villa’s Barbecue on Mission Blvd., HARD on E Street, Lucky’s (A and Mission, Jackson St., Hesperian at Southland Mall), Mimi’s CafĂ© on Hesperian Blvd., Moreau Catholic High School on Mission Blvd., Olive Garden on Hesperian Blvd., Planet Fitness on Southland Mall Dr., Safeway on Foothill Blvd., Selected Weight Watcher’s Locations, Social Security Office at Southland Mall, St. Rose Hospital; San Lorenzo drop off locations include Redwood Christian Jr. High on Paseo Grande, and Lucky’s on Hesperian; Pleasanton drop off location is Legacy Hacienda Terrace Office Building on Hacienda Drive.