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Oak Canyon Ranch Project Wins Approval

A final piece of the puzzle is locked in for the Oak Canyon Ranch development near Copperopolis.

Supervisors Monday gave their final OK on the development agreement that permits the building of 2,275 houses and 704 townhouses on 3,251 acres near Copperopolis. The vote was 3-1-1 with Supervisor Merita Callaway opposing and Supervisor Lucy Thein absent.

“It´s a big step. But it´s only one step in the process. We will still be coming back to the Planning Commission and board with tentative tract maps,” Oak Canyon developer Maury Froman said.

The specific plan, development agreement, and Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) were approved Dec. 15. The development agreement, since it´s an ordinance, came back for a final vote Monday.

The development agreement serves as a binding contract between the county and the developers of Oak Canyon. It outlines responsibilities and commitments of both sides.

Road Impact Mitigation (RIM) Fees, Copperopolis Benefit Basin fees and affordable housing fees are called for in the agreement.

Oak Canyon will build a 19-acre community park, a 5,000-square-foot county library, a 1,500-square-foot community center, 2,000 square feet of county offices, a 1,500-square-foot sheriff´s substation, and donate acreage for an elementary and a high school. In return, Oak Canyon developers have a guarantee to develop the project.

Froman said the agreement is beneficial to both sides. “We´re delighted. It gives us the right to build out our project. The county is going to get something that would be harder for the county to obtain, in general. I hope the county is happy with it,” Froman said.

Despite concern from Planning Commissioner Susan Kuehl over whether there is sufficient water for the project, Froman said, “We don´t think there is a water issue.”

“Steve Hutchings (Calaveras County Water District engineer) has said there isn´t a water problem,” Froman said.

Froman said he is working on resolving Tuolumne County´s concerns about the project´s impacts on O´Byrnes Ferry Road.

Tuolumne County supervisors voted unanimously two weeks ago to sue Calaveras County for approving Oak Canyon Ranch without requiring the developer to help pay for road improvements on O´Byrnes Ferry Road.

Froman will meet with Tuolumne County Supervisor Dick Pland Jan. 21 and hopes to come up with an agreeable resolution, he said.

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