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Stage Set For Dollar General Appeal

Columbia, CA — As it stands right now, three Supervisors will hear the appeal over the Columbia Dollar General proposal.

Last month the Tuolumne County Planning Commission, by a count of 5-2, denied a proposal to build a Dollar General Store along the historic corridor through Columbia. The applicant, Cross Development, decided to appeal the decision to the county supervisors. At today’s supervisors meeting the board had the task of scheduling a date and time to hold the public hearing.

At the beginning of the discussion, District Five Supervisor Karl Rodefer said he needed to recuse himself because he “unintentionally signed a petition” opposing the project. He claimed he did not want to put the county at-risk of a “due-process” violation. District Four Supervisor John Gray also recused himself over concerns that his “partner represents a piece of property that Cross Development has expressed an interest in purchasing.” This left only three Supervisors, Sherri Brennan, Evan Royce and Randy Hanvelt. In order for the Dollar General proposal to be reversed, all three will need to be of the same thinking, and overturn the planning commission decision.

There is a wrinkle, however, that was brought to light by Sharon Marovich, representing the Tuolumne Heritage Committee. She asked whether the proponents, Cross Development, had paid the $150 fee that is required under county code, to send the matter to the supervisors. Deputy Community Resources Agency (CRA) Director Mike Laird said the proponents had not paid the fee, but indicated that in recent cases CRA has been ignoring the rule, if the actual proponent of the project is making the appeal.

Supervisor Hanvelt said, “I’m disappointed that CRA has acted like this in the past, but is apparently being consistent with previous actions, and the applicant (Cross Development) probably should not be penalized for that.”

Supervisor Royce also voiced out that he was “very disappointed” to hear that the county had not been following the stated ordinances.

County Counsel Sarah Carillo was directed by the three remaining board members to further look into the $150 legal issue, and report back to the board at the next meeting.

The board members felt it was still prudent to place the hearing on the upcoming schedule. Anticipating a large crowd, it was decided that it will take place on February 9, at 6pm, at the Columbia Elementary School.