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Valley Springs Builder Defends Development

Residents of La Contenta in Valley Springs are up in arms about a proposal to build more homes in their backyard.

CRV Enterprises in Galt, which is building Gold Creek Estates, a 385-home development near La Contenta, is applying to rezone two parcels behind Gold Creek into smaller lots for single-family residential. CRV hopes to split 33-acres into 51 lots called Hogan Oaks and 45 acres into 77 lots called Hogan Oaks Two.

Behind those parcels, Jim Platner has applied to divide 40 acres into 83 lots called New Hogan Lake Estates.

Resident Victor Cherven, whose father´s house borders Gold Creek, said this would add too many homes to an already poorly planned area. The developments are on hold for a traffic study that´s being done by the county Public Works Department. The study will focus on the Vista Del Lago Road and Highway 26 intersection and will take three to six months, Public Works Director Bob Kawasaki said.

The Hogan Oaks developments would be accessed through Gold Creek Estates off of Highway 26 with the back of the development bordered by the New Hogan Lake Estates at the corner of Hogan Dam Road and Vista del Lago.

The Hogan Oaks project was scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission this Thursday but was pulled because the traffic study wasn´t ready. In preparation for the hearing, residents within 300 feet of the new project and other affected parties were notified by the county Planning Department.

When Cherven´s father received notice it sparked the forming of a group of residents who plan to fight such development. Their concerns mostly revolve around water drainage.

The proposed development area has several creeks that flow into La Contenta Subdivision before joining Cosgrove Creek, the younger Cherven said in a letter to the Planning Department. Every winter the golf course and several homes are flooded, he said. “I think the standards in place today are a lot more strict than 20 years ago when La Contenta was developed,” CRV President Ryan Voorhees said. As far as Gold Creek is concerned, “we put in our own storm drain system.”

As for the Hogan Oaks developments, all flooding concerns will be mitigated by the county, Voorhees said. The county is in the process of submitting mitigation measures to Voorhees for his review, he said.

Still Cherven argues, “The whole area truly is a wetlands. The flooding will only get worse if the vegetation is removed and hundreds of new driveways and patios are put in. The only way to insure that the flood risk will not increase is to limit the number of new homes to what is allowed with the present zoning.”

CRV is doing lower density, half-acre lots, to try to maintain trees and existing topography as much as possible, Voorhees said. The group of homeowners is circulating a petition to stop the development and has collected 145 signatures so far.

The Calaveras Unified School District also sent a letter to planners that said the project would have a “significant and adverse effect” on the district. The district is near capacity and is already in the process of looking for money to relieve overcrowding, the letter said. The state mandated $2.05-per-square-foot developer fee for schools would only mitigate 60.5 percent of the impact, it said.

Voorhees said he intends to contact the district to discuss the issue, but he points out the state sets the $2.05 fee as the maximum amount a school can collect.

The Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center of Twain Harte, a private nonprofit organization, also sent a letter that said the development would have negative impacts on wildlife and the environment and if the development moves forward it should have further environmental review.

Voorhees insists his project is the next logical step in developing the area. The Calaveras County Water District has put sewer and water in place by setting up an assessment district anticipating subdividing, he said.

CRV gave CCWD $1.5 million to set up the district, Voorhees said. In turn, CRV gets credit towards future sewer hookups and a commitment from CCWD to provide the service.

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