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Road Fees For Tuolumne Developers

Sonora, Ca — The cost of turn lanes was debated at length by Tuolumne County Supervisors, who faced whether to send two proposed subdivisions back to planning.

A proposed five-acre Racetrack Road development for 19 single family lots was  discussed first. The Tuolumne County Supervisors didn’t believe a turn lane onto Johnny Avenue was needed and asked if other solutions like a stop sign might work. Several noted if the turn lane was needed, it had been needed for a long time, and that the developer, KOR Sonora Investors, LLC, shouldn’t have to pay for all of it because the subdivision wouldn’t be the only one using it.

The 19 lots were described as the type of development that the county wants to encourage. District 2 Supervisor Randy Hanvelt and District 5 Karl Rodefer agreed this project was “the poster child for infill development.” Supervisors Hanvelt, Rodefer, and District 3 Supervisor Evan Royce noted that excessive fees charged to developers discourage growth.

Karl Rodefer said to Duke York, deputy director of Tuolumne County roads, “It looks like, to me, we have a problem — specifically in roads…and we are trying to solve the problem on the backs of developers, and I don’t like that in principle.”

Tuolumne County Community Resources Agency Director Bev Shane pointed out the process to modify the proposal could not be resolved today. Supervisor Royce asked Eric Lemke, the developer and CEO of Kor Investors Sonora LLC, if he wanted the project approved today, as is, or to wait. Lemke said, “We are comfortable in moving forward with your vote of approval with the conditions as they stand now. We appreciate all the constrictive dialog and inquiry with regards to infrastructure costs and we will be applying that to future projects.”

The vote was 4 to 1 with Randy Hanvelt voting against. Hanvelt said, “I am not going to support the motion, not because I don’t support the development, but I do not support the adequacy of the analysis and answers I got from staff on those conditions.” York said that the county had paved the area among other calculations to lower the cost of the needed road improvement.

A second 3.9 acre proposed subdivision on Parrotts Ferry road was also approved by the supervisors. The vote on that project was unanimous in favor. The Parrotts Ferry Road project is for 14 to 28 residences, depending on how many duplexes are built. It will also require fees to cover the county’s costs to construct a turn lane.