The Live Oak City Council on Wednesday night decided to call a temporary halt to development in the city’s employment zone until city officials can revamp the city’s zoning code.

The council unanimously passed an urgency ordinance imposing a 45-day moratorium on the collection of entitlement fees in the 133-acre employment zone.

The ordinance was drawn up by city staff after an issue arose at the April 4 meeting concerning the permitted use of a firewood yard in the employment zone.

According to the City’s General Plan, businesses in the employment zone must be “primarily non-retail. Including offices, light assembly, processing, manufacturing, wholesaling, and agricultural processing, as well as related compatible uses and distribution of products that do not cause noise, dust, odor, smoke, bright lights, or vibration beyond the property lines.”

The ordinance states that there “appears to be a conflict between uses of Employment Zone properties and their location on the State Route 99 corridor and the City’s commercial and residential goals.

Under California state law, an urgency ordinance needs a 4/5 vote to pass. If the council decides to extend the moratorium out to a maximum of one year, a new vote must be taken.

In conjunction with the passage of the ordinance, the council also appointed  Councilmen Jason Banks and Lakhvir Ghag to an ad-hoc committee that will seek input on the development standards and permitted uses in the employment zone district.

City Planner Kevin Valente told the council that the “desired result of the ad-hoc committee  will be to create guidelines that can serve as a framework for the policy discussions regarding values, goals, opportunities, obstacles and strategies for the employment zone district.”

Valente added that the committee will solicit input from stakeholders and the public. City staff will use the committee’s work as the basis for any proposed changes to the City’s zoning laws, especially as they relate to the employment zone district.

In other action at Wednesday night’s meeting, the council passed a proclamation honoring Live Oak High School FFA officer Orrin Jones, who was elected Sentinel for the entire state at the organization’s annual convention last week.

Banks commended Jones’ achievements.

“Thank you so much for representing Live Oak in the way that you have,” Banks said. “I look forward to seeing you sitting up here or something like this in the future.”