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Twain Harte Apartment Project Now In Limbo

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Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne County Planning Commission reviewed plans last night to convert a portion of an existing building in Twain Harte into apartments.

The proposal is to completely remodel the top floor of a building at the intersection of Twain Harte Drive and Tiffeni Drive into six individual apartments. They would range in size from studio to two-bedroom units. The lower level, which houses the Twain Harte Library branch, would remain the same. The building is behind the Twain Harte Shopping Center.

Community Development Director Quincy Yaley reports that there were three different aspects reviewed by the planning commission, a General Plan amendment, a zone change, and a site development permit.

The commission’s decision last night leaves the project with an uncertain future.

For some types of items, the commission makes recommendations to the board and on others it has the final say.

The first two items referenced above are solely recommendations to the Board of Supervisors (General Plan amendment and zone change), and they were both endorsed by the commission.

But the third item (site development permit), which the commission oversees, was not approved. The vote was 3-4. Commissioners Mike Gustafson Larry Beil and Catherine Santa Maria were in favor of approving it, and commissioners Linda Emerson, Kara Bechtle, Jim Jordan and Jerry Morrow were opposed. There were concerns brought up ranging from the amount of notice members in the community received to criticism about the small size of one of the planned studio apartments.

To sort out the next steps moving forward, Yaley confirms that the first two aspects that were endorsed by the commission will go to the board of supervisors for consideration. However, they are insignificant by themselves in the full picture, because the project cannot go forward without the Conditional Use Permit too.

Yaley says project proponents (the building is owned by George Lee and Phyllis Chiu) could appeal the planning commission’s decision on the Conditional Use Permit (10 days to so). If they choose to go that route, all three of the aspects would then be reviewed and decided upon by the board of supervisors.

This appears the most likely scenario.

If the proponents do not appeal, the board of supervisors would review just two aspects of the project, which isn’t enough for the project to move forward.

We will pass along additional information as more is known over the coming days.

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