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Oak Canyon Project Goes To Cal Co Planners

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The sprawling Oak Canyon Ranch, one of the biggest proposed developments in Calaveras County history, will be considered by Calaveras County planners at 9 a.m. Thursday. A public hearing will be held at that time.

Commissioners will vote on whether to approve the project´s specific plan, development agreement, and supplemental environmental impact report (SEIR). Planning staff members recommended approval. If approved, the project would go before the Board of Supervisors as soon as Dec. 15.

The specific plan provides details for the project´s 2,275 single-family homes, 103 resort/lodge rooms, 11 motel rooms, and 704 townhouses, 300,000 square feet of retail space, two golf courses, a 19-acre community park, a 5,000-square-foot county library, a 1,500-square-foot community hall/ center, 2,000 square feet of county offices, a 1,500-square-foot sheriff´s substation, 1,039 acres of open space, and acreage for an elementary and a high school.

The project is proposed to be on 3,251 acres south of Highway 4 west of Reed´s Turnpike with one mile of frontage and an entrance on Highway 4. Little John Road would also serve as an access.

At the center of the project would be a village center/resort area with commercial space, spa, conference center, restaurant, retail and lodging. In addition to hotels and motels, employee housing may be incorporated into the village center as town homes or flats.

Building would begin in the village center and working outward in phases, with build out projected in 2023.

Gates would ensure that only residents are allowed in to residential areas. Homes will have cable television, phone, PG&E, high-speed Internet access, and an intranet allowing access to on-site activities and meetings. Some developed areas would be high-density clusters to allow more open space.

An Oak Canyon Ranch Community Owners Association along with individual Home Owners Associations would be created to oversee and enforce guidelines. Walking, biking, and equestrian trails would be built throughout the undeveloped areas.

A 400-foot corridor would serve as a wildlife and habitat protection area along Little John and Sawmill Creek. Any removal of trees larger than eight-inches diameter would be replaced.

The lack of water is listed as a significant unavoidable impact. “The cumulative demand may exceed available supplies,” the environmental report said.

If Calaveras County Water District built the water system, it does not have sufficient water rights. CCWD would need to apply to the State Water Resources Control Board to receive more water from Lake Tulloch, the report said. The district said it´s not currently committed to supplying water for the project.

“We haven´t communicated with Oak Canyon,” Leroy Fonceca, CCWD board member, said. “It´s like we´ll talk to you later,” he said. “They´re just assuming that CCWD is going to serve them the water and sewer. If they´re going to do development they need to talk to us and ask us what the price is. We don´t know exactly what they´re planning, we´d need to take a look.”

Mitigation measures for the water impact would be using low-flow plumbing fixtures, drought resistant plants, recycled irrigation water, a limit of 110 acres of irrigated turf per golf course, and, prior to building, CCWD or the developer, whoever supplies the water, would be required to show an adequate water supply.

Oak Canyon would increase daily traffic on State Route 108 by 41-percent. State Routes 108 and 120 both in Tuolumne County would be deficient and are listed in the SEIR as a significant unavoidable impact.

Mitigation measures would be consultation by the county and developer with Tuolumne County to develop a fee program to address the out-of-county impact.

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