While the proposed Angels Camp Bypass project might not happen for many years, the City of Angels is doing its homework so that when funding is available, the bypass might move a bit more swiftly.
The City of Angels Planning Commission unanimously approved the Principles and Guidelines Regarding Intersection Design and Improvements at its Sept. 9 meeting. The document helps “articulate community issues to be considered” as the city and California Department of Transportation officials work out the details of the state handing over the Highway 4 and 49 intersection after the bypass is completed, said Kaye Simonson, planning director.
The city, Caltrans and the Calaveras Council of Governments developed the document through a series of community meetings. Once adopted by the City Council, the guidelines will become part of the Project Study Report for the improvements the state will make to the intersection as part of the Highway 4 relinquishment agreement.
“This will get on record what we think are the important issues for the community,” Simonson said.
The intersection improvements will be open to more public comment once the environmental review of the project begins.
“Right now, there is no funding for this project,” said Scott Maas, a consultant working for the Council of Governments, said of the intersection improvement project. He told planning commissioners that money may not become available until as early as 2008 or as late as 2010.
Commissioner Steve Difu asked if there was anything in the guidelines that might need to be changed later.
“This is so preliminary,” changes can be made during the environmental review, Maas said. “The environmental work is very significant. It can take years.”
“You´ve put a cloud over my property,” said Dorian Faught, who owns property on Finnegan Lane near the intersection. He said talk circulating in the city has alerted potential lessors that commercial buildings on Main Street (Highway 49 near the intersection) may be affected.
“Because this project is on the horizon,” Simonson said, “owners could get worried.”
She told the commissioners that three important issues have been addressed in the guidelines: Preservation of the character of the downtown area, safety and preservation of Angels Creek, which involves two bridges near the intersection.
Inside the guidelines, Commissioner Roger Neuman suggested the term “property values” be added under consideration of the economic impacts the intersection adjustments may cause.
Commissioner Norm Price asked Simonson if the city had any control whatsoever in the timeline of the intersection improvements.
With a handful of additions and small alterations to the document, commissioners sent the guidelines to the City Council. The item is up for approval at Tuesday´s regular council meeting at 6 p.m. at the Angels Firehouse at 1404 E. Highway 4.
Also on the agenda is a public hearing on Ordinance No. 410, which would require a regulatory permit to operate a medical cannabis dispensary within the city.
Calaveras Enterprise story by Mike Taylor. For more Calaveras news, click: calaverasenterprise.com