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Public Hearing Set For Changes Proposed For Mountain Sage Business

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Groveland, CA – The public will have the opportunity to weigh in on proposed plans at a popular Highway 120 venue.

Next Wednesday at 6 p.m. the Tuolumne County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing over a project proposal from Regina Hirsch of Mountain Sage Nursery and Gardens and Café.

The business, which is located on her family’s historic 1860s 21-acre Laveroni House property, already hosts events as well as a summertime farmers market featuring locally grown produce and crafts.

According to the meeting documents, Hirsch is seeking a CUP to allow up to 14 outdoor music concerts, weddings or other seasonal events from April through October with amplified music, vendors and food service. She also wants to host a non-certified farmers market on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings between Memorial and Labor Day weekends and operate a co-op farm stand selling locally grown produce and cottage food products.

There is a Community Development Department staff recommendation for a mitigated negative declaration and that the 91 listed conditions of approval for a conditional use permit (CUP) are roughly proportional to the project’s respective potential environmental impacts.

Proposed construction plans call for changes to the existing events stage to become 35 feet by 45 feet with an attached overhead weather roof and a terraced area expanded in front of it to support a maximum of 500 people.

Other Larger Event Scaled Infrastructure Plans

The application also outlines the construction of an onsite 167-space parking lot adjacent to Powder House Street and a new access driveway from Highway 120 with a caveat that if Powder House Street is used to access the lot the road will need widening to county standards. A pedestrian walkway easement was previously approved by the supervisors through the county-owned ambulance building property to connect the new parking and event area.

If the project does not use Powder House Street as an access point to the new parking lot, a driveway could be built between the Groveland Medical Center driveway and it through the ambulance building parcel if the county grants an easement.

Caltrans and Tuolumne County Public Works did not require a traffic study because they do not believe the project will create a large enough traffic impact.

However, Caltrans made several advisements to ease potential impacts from events of 300 people or more that include providing bicycle racks and pedestrian paths to the site, creating traffic management and drainage plans and obtaining an encroachment permit from Caltrans for traffic control and signage for the Highway 120 right-of-way.

Staff notes in the documents that 67 property owners, including those within 1,000 feet of the project site were notified to which 14 responded, four in favor and ten opposed. Concerns shared include noise, increased traffic and emergency access during events and perceived loss of property values.

Next Wednesday’s meeting will be held in the county supervisors’ chambers (2 South Green Street). The doors will open at 5:30 p.m.