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Calaveras Supervisors scrap proposed housing plan

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Rejecting a recommendation to revamp the housing element to the general plan, the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors decided to keep the one they have.

Supervisors adopted the same housing plan Tuesday that´s been in effect since 1991, with the exception of an amendment made in 1999 to include a first-time home buyers program. They set aside a proposal that included new policies addressing lower-cost housing.

State law requires the county update the element every five years. The element should look at the county´s housing needs and ways to address them through 2007.

“A plan needs to be adopted by Dec. 31,” Robert Sellman, Planning Department deputy director, said. Earlier, the planning department staff had recommended sweeping changes to the housing element

The draft plan will be sent to the state Department of Housing and Community Development for certification prior to final adoption by the board.

“We´ll see what the state says,” Supervisor Tom Tryon said, “then we´ll address their comments.”

The Planning Commission adopted the plan proposed by the Planning Department and sent it to the board with a recommendation for approval. The commission was under the false impression that it had to adopt the staff´s recommended changes to the plan because state law required it to do so, Supervisor Paul Stein said.

The controversial piece of the planning department´s proposed housing plan would have required developers to provide “direct construction” of low-income houses or contribute money to an overall program, often referred to as inclusionary housing.

It´s not state law that makes the inclusionary housing type program essential, it´s what´s happening in the county, Sellman said.

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