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2005-2008 Community Planning in Valley Springs
When it formed in 2005, set up an Internet website to educate the public about the importance of land use planning, community design, and to encourage participation in community planning. We soon posted information about current and proposed residential development, the county planning and review process, our local water supply, Cosgrove Creek flooding, stormwater runoff, and other issues impacting our scenic rural area.  It was clear there was a need for more comprehensive community planning, and a need to update the 1974 Valley Springs community plan.  In 2006 compiled ideas from community members and smart growth principles and published draft Valley Springs Community Goals to encourage discussions for visioning and updating the Valley Springs Community Plan.

In early 2007, in partnership with Foothill Conservancy, hosted a series of educational Valley Springs town hall meetings about smart growth, transportation planning, and watershed management/ land use planning.  Professionals from the Local Government Commission and the Calaveras Council of Governments shared presentations, photos, circulation planning maps, information and ideas about land use planning and community development with area residents, and answered questions.  These meetings coincided with Calaveras County’s “kickoff” for the county’s General Plan Update in April 2007.  Communities began giving input to the county for community plan updates and inclusion in the general plan.

Following the three educational meetings, and the LGC presented a two-part Valley Springs ‘Community Design Workshop’ in October 2007.  Area residents & stakeholders looked toward the future to describe their visions for Valley Springs, and listed community priorities and values. They toured downtown and worked on planning map concepts.  The LGC prepared a summary report of Valley Springs workshop results with photos and draft ideas maps.  Click here for 'Valley Springs Community Design Workshops Summary of Results' for October 2007. The Summary Report was presented to the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors in January 2008, for input and inclusion in community sections of the General Plan update.  Click here for Press release.

In January 2008, MVS invited a graduate student researcher and community liaison from University of California, Davis to prepare a Baseline Data Report on information about the Valley Springs area to inform the creation of an updated Community Plan for Valley Springs.  In February 2008, hosted a public meeting and led a ‘call to action’ for a community-based Valley Springs community plan update.  Public support was high, and residents formed a new group, the Greater Valley Springs Advisory Group (GVSAG), to begin work on an update,.  The GVSAG held public meetings, created a website, and posted draft visions and boundary options for community review and feedback from March-June 2008. 

On June 26, Colleen Hiner, the graduate student intern from the University of California, Davis, presented the Valley Springs Community Planning Baseline Report to area residents at a meeting of the Greater Valley Springs Advisory Group (GVSAG).  The report is the culmination of six months of research.  Its purpose was “to document current progress on community planning in Valley Springs while identifying productive pathways for expressing community voices and preferences within the County’s planning processes.”  Click here to read the June 8th, 2008 ‘Valley Springs Community Planning Baseline Report’ with photosClick here to read the July press release and description of the report

Current Community Planning in Valley Springs
Since July 2008, efforts to find funding for a Valley Springs area community plan update were successful, culminating in the September 2008 award of a $204,648 Caltrans Community-Based Transportation Planning Grant! A local $51,162 match was provided by the Calaveras Council of Governments, which is administering the grant funds and work on the Valley Springs Community Plan Update started in January 2009!! Go back to the Community Planning page for current status of plan update.

Food for Thought: What is the Valley Springs community area?
There are no official town boundaries because Valley Springs is an unincorporated area of Calaveras County.  Caltrans highway signs in town with population figures of 7,592 reflect a much larger area than the original town site or community plan area. Since the original plan was adopted in 1974, residential subdivisions such as Rancho Calaveras, La Contenta, and Gold Creek Estates have developed and grown outside the Valley Springs Community Area boundaries, along with the bulk of the resident population.  The original small town has become a “community of neighborhoods.”

La Contenta and Gold Creek have homeowners association CC&Rs but no community plan—this is designated a county "community center" (a "black hole" on county land use maps, like Wallace and Burson).  A “community center” allows commercial, light industrial, multiple- and single-family residential within its boundary, but has no “plan”.  Residents of Rancho Calaveras wrote their own “Special Plan” to protect their rural residential neighborhood from commercial encroachment.  If La Contenta, Gold Creek, or Rancho Calaveras were to be folded into a larger community plan area, their CC&Rs and Special Plan land use protections would remain in place.  By being part of a larger community plan area, residents of many neighborhoods could benefit from a stronger sense of community and could have additional layers of protection and control over land use planning.

To view Valley Springs Community Plan area questionnaire results, preliminary community boundary options, project photos, background maps, FAQ sheet, slideshows and meeting presentations, and project documents, visit the CCOG Valley Springs Community Plan page on the Calaveras Council of Governments (CCOG) website.


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