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Valley Springs: 210 Homes Planned

Three new housing projects are being proposed near Vista Del Lago in Valley Springs.

The potential traffic impacts have Calaveras County staff members calling for a benefit basin study, which supervisors will vote on Monday.

The Public Works Department is asking for a $30,000 traffic study by Dowling Associates of Oakland.

CRV Enterprises, developer of Gold Creek Estates, a 385-home development in Valley Springs, is proposing two more single-family residential developments, Hogan Oaks 1 and 2.

Hogan Oaks 1 would have 50 single-family homes on 33.5 acres, County Planner John Anderson said. Hogan Oaks 2 would have 77 single-family homes on 46.4 acres.

The third project, New Hogan Estates North would boast 83 homes on 40 acres, as proposed by Jim Platner of Portland, Ore.

Since all projects require a zoning amendment, they need approval from the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.

The Hogan Oaks projects were pulled off a February Planning Commission meeting agenda to wait for the traffic study.

So Monday, the Board of Supervisors will consider hiring Dowling Associates of Oakland to study the three projects´ impacts on Vista Del Lago, Highway 26 and Hogan Dam Road.

The consultant would also develop a benefit basin plan for the area. It would include a list of road projects and fees imposed on development in the benefit area.

Potential projects are to install a signal at Highway 26 and Vista Del Lago, extend left turn pockets on Highway 26, widen Highway 26, and improve Hogan Dam Road at Vista Del Lago and Highway 26.

The study would take a couple of months, Rob Houghton, county public works director, said.

Anderson said there are other projects creating an impact on Highway 26.

Olive Orchard Estates, a proposed 47 single-family home development off of Highway 26, was continued by the Planning Commission Thursday due to road impact concerns.

Eight residents testified the development would have an adverse impact on Highway 26 and the already dilapidated Olive Orchard Road.

The current proposal doesn´t call for any road improvement since Olive Orchard Road is listed as a Level of Service Road B, the second best designation in the county.

The road is not being kept up at Level B, said Tim McSorley, public works deputy director.

Genette Griffin lives next to the proposed development and said Olive Orchard Road can´t handle more cars.

Alice Raine of Valley Springs pointed out the road has a seven-ton limit and asked how the developer intended to move his heavy equipment for the project.

Joanne Semas´ family owns property next to the project.

“This road will not handle a subdivision unless there are some improvements,” Semas said.

Joyce Techel of Burson said the project needs further study on its road impacts.

Shirley Williams´ property borders the project. Caltrans didn´t comment on the project Williams said. She called Caltrans and was told by Frank Espinoza, a Caltrans representative, ‘”Calaveras County is our problem child,”´ she said.

Caltrans should comment and further traffic studies should be done, Williams said.

The commission directed the Public Works Department, Planning Department and the developer to get together to work on the road issues.

The people who live out there and deal with it every day say there´s a safety issue, Commissioner Ted Allured said.

“I don´t feel we´ve adequately looked at the road situation,” Commissioner Suzanne Kuehl said.

The project will be heard again on July 15.

The Planning Commission also decided to continue the Gold Country Apartments project to its July 15 meeting.

Developer David Sidle thought he would have access to his project through an easement on Old Airport Road. Turns out there is no easement. The county may still have an easement, so Sidle will work with planning and public works officials to hash that out, he said.

“If that doesn´t work, we´ll have to put in our own access road,” Sidle said

During a study session Monday, Houghton will ask the board to prioritize a list of road projects to submit to the Calaveras Council of Governments for funding.

Candidate projects include a countywide road study to ensure the county has addressed growth up to 2022.

The study could serve as the circulation element of the General Plan. And will be used in tandem with the regional transportation plan that the Calaveras Council of Governments is working on. COG is the county´s regional transportation planning agency.

Calaveras Enterprise story by Vanessa Turner. For more Calaveras news, click:calaverasenterprise.com