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Committee Denies Mountain Springs Plan Again

It was a heavily-attended and late-running meeting of the Tuolumne County Agriculture Advisory Committee.

Mountain Springs developers and supporters appeared before the Tuolumne County Agriculture Advisory Committee again Thursday night, with a revised version of their 897-home development, south of Sonora.

The goal for Mountain Springs developers was to show responsible planning and public benefits that would come from the development, during and after construction.

“Since April 15th, we have worked hard to incorporate the recommendations we´ve heard from this committee, and we appreciate the opportunity to go over those changes with you,” Operations Manager Ron Kopf told the committee at the beginning of Thursday night´s presentation.

Kopf said Mountain Springs is now consistent with and compliant with the Tuolumne County General Plan.

And he pointed to an additional 50 acres of open space, buffer zones, and more than 100 low-cost houses as improvements over the last version of their plan, which was denied unanimously by the committee in April.

But opponents of the development also spoke out Thursday night, saying side effects of Mountain Springs could be increased liability for neighbors, a higher rate of trespassing, and larger costs to owners of nearby ag land.

Committee Member Ty Wivell put Dave Bunnot from the opposition group Voter´s Choice on the spot by asking “Why are you against Mountain Springs?”

“Because we don´t think it´s needed. It´s not an appropriate conversion of ag land for our needs. The county doesn´t need this,” Bunnot replied.

The committee´s final vote was three against the Mountain Springs plan as it relates to agriculture, no votes in favor, with Committee Member Ty Wivell abstaining.

Committee member Marilyn Rice recused herself.