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2024

Supervisors agree to give new animal shelter another look
It appears construction of a new animal shelter in Calaveras County could be back on track… Estimates are it will cost $7 million for just the dog shelter and $11 million for the entire project. The county has $4 million earmarked for a new shelter…District 3 Supervisor Martin Huberty voiced skepticism about getting additional money to cover construction costs…"It's hard to believe we can't make the lives of dogs better for $4 million," Huberty said… "Until we can bring this down to something we can actually afford to do, I don't think this is a good idea," Garamendi added. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, May 17, 2024

Calaveras Sheriff DiBasilio Planning To Retire
Rick DiBasilio, the sheriff of Calaveras County, will be retiring from office sometime in the summer…DiBasilio still has years left on his term, so once it takes effect, the board of supervisors will have the task of picking his replacement to fill the remaining period. When reached, DiBasilio confirmed that the rumor of his upcoming retirement is true, but declined to comment further at this time since the board of supervisors has not been formally noticed during a public hearing. Click here for article—Union Democrat, May 17, 2024

Family celebrates conservation easement of their 500-acre Wallace ranch
The Yates family, who own a 500-acre ranch in Wallace on the western edge of Calaveras County, recently celebrated their partnership with the Sacramento-based California Rangeland Trust (CRT). Through CRT, the family's ranch is protected through a conservation easement that ensures that this property will maintain its existence as a fully operational ranch, and is thus safeguarded against any future development. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 16, 2024

County taking legal means to keep highway work on track
The State Route 4 "Wagon Trail" Realignment Project, plagued by construction delays and cost overruns, is forcing an adjacent property owner to extend a pair of temporary construction easements. The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 last week to use the power of eminent domain to compel Tiscornia Ranches to extend leases on their properties for another two years as the first phase of the highway realignment project between Angels Camp and Copperopolis is completed. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, May 1, 2024

Lack of Rancho road improvements comes under scrutiny
Frustration with upcoming plans to resurface and pave roads in the Rancho Calaveras subdivision were expressed Tuesday by District 5 Supervisor Benjamin Stopper… dissatisfaction with the latest road improvement list provided by Public Works Director Robert Pachinger. Property owners within the subdivision pay a special assessment for road improvements. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, April 26, 2024

Alarming Farm And Ranch Losses In State Push Conservation Efforts
Noting that California is losing farms and ranches at an alarming rate, the California Rangeland Trust is celebrating the conservation of the 500-acre Yates Ranch in Calaveras County…in 2022, the Yates family partnered with the trust to place a conservation easement on the property, safeguarding its integrity against future development. The ranch on Highway 12 in Wallace is the hub for the Yates family's cattle enterprise and supports a thriving habitat for diverse wildlife species. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 18, 2024

Cost overruns, delays persist on Wagon Trail project
Cost overruns continue to plague the State Route 4 "Wagon Trail" Realignment Project. The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to increase a professional services contract with Dokken Engineering Inc. by $530,904 to a total amount not to exceed $7,242,306…Tuesday's vote was the second time in the past 90 days contracts for the $14 million project have been amended with substantial cost increases. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, April 12, 2024

Amid explosive demand, America is running out of power
Vast swaths of the United States are at risk of running short of power as electricity-hungry data centers and clean-technology factories proliferate around the country, leaving utilities and regulators grasping for credible plans to expand the nation's creaking power grid…Planners are increasingly concerned that the grid won't be green enough or powerful enough to meet these demands. Click here for article—The Washington Post, March 7, 2024

Supervisors reject funding proposal for animal shelter construction documents
With the county having only $4 million of guaranteed funding for the new animal shelter project, which was estimated by the Stockton-based LDA Partners to cost nearly $11 million, the supervisors were unable to agree to have nearly $800,000 spent on plans for a project that is far from being fully funded… "We've always talked about building it in stages, moving forward, and taking care of the most dire needs first with what we have. And if we can find a little bit of extra, that would help us." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 4, 2024

County has 1 year to come up with historic building code
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 last week to extend an urgency ordinance prohibiting demolition of historical buildings, such as the Valley Springs train station, for one year while staff prepares an historical preservation ordinance. Calaveras County is one of just a few counties in the state without a preservation ordinance and such a code is called for in the county's recently adopted general plan… Manna said the scope of the final ordinance should not be limited to demolition, but also consider rehabilitation of historic buildings. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, April 4, 2024

Calaveras County Meeting For Input On Parks Direction
Calaveras County has announced an open house event to gather community input on the future direction of local parks and recreation facilities. Additional meetings will be held throughout April, and the full schedule of those meetings can be found here. "Do YOU have concerns or ideas about Parks in our community? Have you heard about things that you still want to happen?" Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 3, 2024

Measure A Tax Collection To Begin Next Fall
The Calaveras County CEO reports that collections of Measure A will begin next fall for the City of Angels and the county's sales tax rate. Measure A, a one percent sales tax was approved by voters in this month's primary election with just over 55 percent of the vote… County officials outlined that its passage funds local fire districts…for staffing, training, equipment, and other costs. They added that it will generate "approximately $5M annually, without expiration. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 27, 2024

Cell tower installation in Rancho neighborhood on thin ice
Consideration of whether to install a telecommunications tower in Rancho Calaveras once again has been continued. The Calaveras County Planning Commission spent 4 ½ hours Thursday on the subject and nearly voted to approve a neighbor's appeal to deny the project… Planning Commissioner Don Parker had strong words for Vertical Bridge, saying the firm had not been totally honest with the planning commission and calling for a thorough analysis of all the alternative sites. "I'm not convinced you did the research you needed to based on how little information you provided us," "It's like you thought you were going to come in here and slam dunk this thing. We're a rural community and we live here for a reason. We don't allow stuff like this to ruin our peace and serenity without a fight." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 20, 2024

Caltrans, Angels Camp step up outreach on roundabouts project
More people seem to be coming around, so to speak, over two traffic roundabouts in the works for the intersection of Highway 4 and Highway 49, and Highway 49 and Francis St. in Angels Camp… While roundabouts often require more space in the immediate vicinity of an intersection than comparable traditional intersections, they cost much less to construct and require less overall space on the approaching roads than building out an intersection controlled by stop signs or traffic signals. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 20, 2024

County seeks public's thoughts on park master plan
Parks master planning will engage residents throughout the county through several community meetings and an online survey. The goal of the community meetings and online survey is to analyze the current programs and facilities and to consider the community needs and aspirations. The community meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. on the following dates… If unable to attend any of the community meetings, an online survey will be available from March 29 to April 25. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 15, 2024

Measure A approved by county voters
Measure A, a ballot measure to provide additional funding for local fire districts and the Angels Camp Fire Department, gained sufficient votes to pass… Measure A will impose an additional 1% tax on gross receipts of retail sales transacted in Calaveras County. Jenny Lind resident Kyle Harvey, coordinator of the Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District's Measure A outreach efforts, referred to this ballot initiative as having an "overwhelming" result. "I…elections are usually not 10 (percentage) points apart like that," he said. "So, we were pretty pleased that we had so much support and we appreciate everyone that took part in getting it passed." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 13, 2024

Calaveras Sales Tax Passes, Supervisor Races Heading To Runoffs
It is clear that two board of supervisor races are headed to a November runoff as no candidate received over the 50% threshold. In District One, the top two vote-getters advancing are incumbent Gary Tofanelli (47%) and challenger Tim Grant (33%). In District Two, the candidates will be Autumn Andahl (34%) and Trevor Wittke (32%). Measure A, a one-cent sales tax measure for fire services, passed with 55% in favor and 44% opposed. A similar measure narrowly failed two years ago. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, March 11, 2024

Valley Springs Wellness Center plans behavioral health expansion
Calaveras County was among 21 California counties to receive funding from a new behavioral health grant from the California Department of Healthcare Services. The Valley Springs Health & Wellness Center was awarded $3.5 million for an infrastructure expansion to include treatment for mental health services, including urgent care. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 21, 2024

Board of Supervisors adopt interim ordinance for historic building demolitions
Under the urgency ordinance, the chief building official cannot issue a demolition permit for a listed historical building or structure unless it has been approved by the Calaveras County Planning Commission… "The historic sites are a legacy passed down by your ancestors, and they aren't just important to us; they are important to the history of the founding of this state." Supervisor Amanda Folendorf mentioned that most of the Mother Lode already has historic preservation ordinances, making Calaveras County "kind of an abnormal county in this respect." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 21, 2024

Supes pass ordinance to save station
An interim urgency ordinance temporarily blocking demolition of any historic building in unincorporated Calaveras County was adopted by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors…The ordinance, which was amended during the meeting, went into effect immediately and is good for 45 days…The primary reason behind consideration of the urgency was the pending demolition of the former Valley Springs train depot... Click here for article--The Valley Springs News, February 16, 2024

Neighbors oppose placement of cell tower in Rancho
Cancer, wildfire and plummeting property value concerns were raised during discussion at Thursday's meeting before the Calaveras County Planning Commission about placing a tele-communications tower in Rancho Calaveras. Vertical Bridge…wants to erect a 90-foot tower at 5992 Clements Place…A neighbor next to the proposed tower location filed an appeal… The planning commission's decision and public hearing on the matter was continued to a March 14 meeting. Click here for article--The Valley Springs News, February 14, 2024

California receives $63.7 million for EV charging infrastructure--More charging stations needed in Calaveras
While there are currently no alternative fuel corridors within Calaveras County, there are some EV charging stations, with more on the way. Unfortunately for drivers of electric vehicles in Calaveras County, the charging stations are often separated by dozens of miles, which can make long commutes and traveling difficult. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 14, 2024

Supervisors will consider urgency ordinance to save historic buildings—Train station on brink of tear down
A downtown Valley Springs landmark on the verge of being demolished might get a reprieve Tuesday from the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors. Several weeks ago a permit was pulled to tear down the former Valley Springs train depot located on the southwest corner of State Routes 12 and 26…The California Office of Historical Preservation and California Department of Transportation consider the old train station historical…However, Calaveras County has nothing in code to preserve its historical sites. Click here for article--The Valley Springs News / February 9, 2024

Measure A discussed at town hall meeting in Valley Springs
While the meeting was presented by the Calaveras Local Fire Protection Committee for Measure A, the program also included a question-and-answer session that was open to anyone…If approved by a majority of the voters in the March 5 election, Measure A will impose an additional 1% tax on gross receipts of retail sales transacted in Calaveras County…An impartial analysis by the county counsel notes that the 1% sales tax would generate an estimated $5 million annually. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 7, 2024

Grant opportunities for ranchers, farmers; state seeks to define regenerative agriculture
Two new grant opportunities, the Value-Added Producer Grant and the Healthy Soils Program Grant, are available to California agricultural workers, including ranchers, farmers and producers. The Value-Added Producer Grant places emphasis on projects that increase climate change resilience through economic equity in rural communities, and the Healthy Soils Program Grant is focused on supporting California growers and ranchers to implement conservation management practices that sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gases, and improve soil health. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 31, 2024

Cost for animal shelter hits $10 million
Efforts to build a new animal shelter in Calaveras County took another step forward Tuesday but there are concerns there will not be enough money to fund construction… the county is looking at a price tag of $10 million or more for full build out of a 10,000-square-foot shelter…The problem is the county has only $4 million set aside for a new animal shelter… The existing animal shelter has been under grand jury scrutiny for nearly two decades…"the shelter is understaffed, unsanitary, underfunded, overcrowded, as well as unappealing and in need of replacement." Click here for article--The Valley Springs News, January 26, 2024

The Farmers Had What the Billionaires Wanted
Rio Vista, part of Solano County, is technically within the San Francisco Bay Area, but its bait shops and tractor suppliers and Main Street lined with American flags can feel a state away. Sramek's plan was billed as a salve for San Francisco's urban housing problems. But paving over ranches to build a city of 400,000 wasn't the sort of idea you'd expect a group of farmers to be enthused about. Click here for article—The New York Times, January 21, 2024

US Supreme Court hears oral arguments in California case challenging building permit fees
The outcome of the case could have widespread consequences on how states conduct permitting and other land use management. It may potentially remove barriers to development or eliminating a reliable source of funds for basic government infrastructure. A ruling is not expected until the end of the term. Click here for article—Jurist.com, January 10, 2024

Supreme Court case about impact fees could have huge consequences for housing in California
If the high court does ultimately decide that a more rigorous, project-by-project analysis is required, the implications could be dramatic — and not in the way that plaintiffs either imagine or hope…What it would almost certainly do is "really slow down and make more expensive the process of pulling permits and doing other kinds of development projects," she said. "We're just concerned, particularly in the middle of a housing crisis." Click here for article—CalMatters.org, January 9, 2024

Angels Camp to enact new ordinance on vacant buildings
As proposed, the ordinance calls for owners of unoccupied commercial buildings to be subject to a monthly vacant building monitoring fee to be set by the city (currently at $450) to cover the city's costs of regularly checking on the properties…Council Member Michael Chimente reiterated that the ordinance, as amended by the city attorney, allows for a pre-waiver of building vacancy fees for owners who come forward and work with the city. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 4, 2024

Conservation easement secured for Valley Springs ranch
The Nakagawa family has a more than 80-year agricultural tradition in Northern California. And in an effort to protect their ranch in Valley Springs from suburban sprawl, the family recently partnered with the California Rangeland Trust (CRT)… while the California Rangeland Trust acquired the development rights on the ranch, the Nakagawas maintained ownership of the property. "They could pass it on to the next generation; they could sell it if they chose to," he said. "What they sold to us was the right to subdivide it. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 3, 2024

CCWD wraps 2023, elects officers for 2024
In separate but related news, an effort to recall the entire five-member board due to the district's recent rate hike is still underway. As earlier reported, it was organized by Valley Springs resident Steve Blackwood, who in recent weeks confirmed his interest in seeking Ratterman's seat. Ratterman and Davidson's terms both end at the end of 2024, and the others will end in 2026. The group was able to get through the initial hoops and is currently circulating petitions in each district. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 3, 2024

 

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