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No Decision On Birthing Center

Sonora, CA — A decision on whether to allow a natural childbirth facility in Tuolumne County has been postponed by the Board of Supervisors.

The applicants, Ellen Jasmer along with Sara and Jennifer Painter, plan to convert an existing residence on 16500 block of Draper Mine Road in Soulsbyville into a birthing center.  The Planning Commission approved the project in February, but an appeal was made to the Board of Supervisors.

At Tuesday’s public hearing, three next-door neighbors spoke in favor of the project.  Across the street neighbor, Judy Finley told the board, “I see what goes on there every day. It does not concern me that there may be one or two births a month across the street.  And, not all neighbors are against this there are many neighbors who are for this.”

Some neighbors have complained about the increased traffic that would result and that it would drop the nearby property values.  One resident against the project asked the board to continue the hearing, as many people who wanted to speak out about the birth center were not able to make the meeting. The board agreed and postponed making a decision until a May 6th hearing.

The home sits on 3.2 acres. Long-term, the project consists of three phases that would spread over 15 years. Phase one is to convert the residence into two birthing suites for expectant mothers. The second phase is to add a third birthing suite, and the third phase is the construction of an additional residence on the property, that would include three more birthing suites.