Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne County Supervisors turned down the Yosemite Gardens group’s plea for another extension to purchase the $379K mine property by December 30th. They did that by taking no action on the issue and letting the group’s agreement with the county expire. After the last extension was granted, Developer Vincent Estell had offered to pay the county a non-refundable $100K to grant the extension if the sale did not close by December 30th.
Today Estell withdrew that offer saying, “I got cut off at the knees at five o’clock last night by my investor that I have had in tow for the last couple of months, and they put the brakes on.”
Estell told the Board that water issues had made the investor pull out that money. He says his investors wanted a will service letter from Tuolumne Utilities District (TUD) before they pay for an environmental review. That’s an agreement TUD’s says they cannot make due to state law, but General Manager Pete Kampa told the Board the District has the water to supply the project.
County leaders had previously stated publically that no further extensions would be approved. District 5 Supervisor Karl Rodefer told Estell the water demand made it impossible, “I do not see the assurances that your investors require being possible. I don’t believe that their requirements are realistic in the development environment anywhere. Certainly not in this county, but I don’t believe they are realistic in any county. You’re not going to get them. If that’s what you need to get the money. You’re project is dead.”
Other board members questioned whether the investors were actually on board with the project. They questioned why investors would baulk at paying a $100K and lose a potential $300 million dollar project.
The Board taking no action now allows the county to put the land on the market again for potential buyers. The Yosemite Garden group can resubmit their proposal again to the board if they choose.