CURRENT NEWS & REPORTS

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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

2023

Ranch in Valley Springs Secures Conservation Easement
The Nakagawa family…has successfully conserved their agricultural legacy through a strategic partnership with the California Rangeland Trust. Established in 1941, the Nakagawa family's ranching journey faced challenges during a tumultuous period in American history. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the family…was forced to relocate to an internment camp…The Nakagawa Ranch Conservation Easement, under the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program, will allow the family to continue owning and managing the land while maintaining the health of the ranch through their American Wagyu cattle. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, December 27, 2023

Salmon return to Moke River in record numbers
The 2023-2024 fall run of Chinook salmon on the Mokelumne River is now the most successful return in more than 80 years, according to the East Bay Municipal Utility District. More than 20,000 fish – and counting have returned from the Pacific Ocean to spawn in the river, the most since record keeping began in 1940, EBMUD reported on Nov. 16. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 29, 2023

$10 Million awarded to Habitat for Humanity -
Nonprofit seeks donations, volunteers, homebuyer applicants
The $10 million is earmarked to fund all the "ground down" infrastructure construction for the nonprofit's 107- unit Eureka Oaks planned development that will be built off Copello Drive in Angels Camp, roughly across from the Habitat Calaveras headquarters on North Main Street. The building site, donated in recent years by a very generous local couple, is a planned community of 65 three- and four-bedroom homes that will be built in its first phase, followed by 42 two- and three-bedroom condominium units in phase two. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 22, 2023

Decorative Signs Will Be Placed Throughout Calaveras Next Year
State grant funding will help install entry and wayfinding signs throughout Calaveras County… in Angels Camp, Murphys, Arnold, Copperopolis, Mokelumne Hill, San Andreas, and Valley Springs. Public Works is soliciting quotes from fabricators for the sign panels, individualized logos, lettering, etc. The construction will begin in the spring of next year. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, November 13, 2023

Cattle prove to be "King" in Calaveras County's ag report
Agricultural Commissioner Jesse Fowler announced the gross value of agricultural production in 2022 was $21,121,038, an increase of 13 percent from the 2021 value. Cattle were Calaveras County's leading commodity with a total value of $12, 861,300, an increase of 61 percent from its 2021 value…Although cannabis cannot be included in the crop report as it is not federally legalized…Calaveras County gross cannabis production values increased 32 percent in 2022 to $20,449,900. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 10, 2023

CCWD recall efforts underway
The gloves are off for a bruiser of a fight being instigated by a group of irate Calaveras County utility district customers against the Calaveras County Water District (CCWD)… Blackwood hopes to have the petitions turned in by mid-December for review by the elections office and subsequent action by the board of supervisors, which he estimated might result in an April special election. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 8, 2023

'The Orphans' at Calaveras Big Trees State Park Are Alive and No Longer Stand Alone
The sequoias were damaged during a prescribed burn in the park's North Grove area last fall. Several scientists visited The Orphans on Thursday, October 5, and observed that they are alive and thousands of giant sequoia seedlings now surround them. "Standing beneath these magnificent trees and seeing the carpet of baby seedlings is incredible" Click here for article—ThePineTree.net, November 1, 2023

Former school superintendent leaps from Planning Commission to Angels City Council
Longtime public servant Michael Chimente has been tapped to fill a recent opening on the Angels Camp City Council…Chimente, a 35-year resident, has spent over 45 years in public service, including as a superintendent in two school districts. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 25, 2023

Valley Springs Is Buzzing With Chainsaws
The county has hired Nate's Tree Service for the Annual Cosgrove Creek Vegetation Management project. Crews are on foot and using weedeaters and chainsaws to clear vegetation and debris in the riparian corridor along a nearly two-mile section of Cosgrove Creek, south of Valley Springs, from Gold Creek Estates to Silver Rapids Road. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, October 7, 2023

Calaveras County Water District Adopts Modified 5-Year Rate Plan
The Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) Board of Directors approved a revised 5-year rate plan during its Public Hearing on September 13, 2023…a majority of the Board adopted a five-year rate schedule with rate increases that were lower than initially proposed. Click here for Calaveras County Water District Press Release, September 19, 2023

Supervisors fund major brush clearing work on Cosgrove
Flood-prone Cosgrove Creek will receive major attention this fall. The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday decided to earmark $115,000 in the county budget to clear vegetation from Cosgrove Creek along a 2.27 mile stretch between Gold Creek and Silver Rapids roads. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, September 15, 2023

CCWD board plows ahead with double-digit hikes
Calaveras County Water District customers can expect double-digit increases the next three years in their bills. The CCWD Board of Directors voted 3-2 Wednesday night on a motion by Jeff Davidson in favor of a five-year rate plan. His motion called for yearly rate increases of 22, 12, 13, 7 and 7 percent for water rates and 12, 12, 12, 6 and 5 percent for wastewater rates. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, September 15, 2023

Release of Draft Zoning Code Update
The Planning Department is pleased to announce the release of the draft update to the Calaveras County's Zoning Code. The code is drafted in groups of related topics and will be presented in three sections: Zone District & Use Regulations, County Wide Regulations, Administrative Procedures. The first of several study sessions with the County Planning Commission is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. Click here for more info and Planning links, CAP website, September 11, 2023

County supervisors approve scaled-back redevelopment plans
The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 this week to approve a General Plan amendment allowing scaled-back redevelopment plans that include adding up to 37 apartments to existing buildings at Twain Harte Village Shopping Center. Proponents of the project, including John Buckley, executive director of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center in Twain Harte, said it's "truly un-American" to say or insinuate that people with less money are somehow bad or undesirable. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, September 11, 2023

Cal Fire updates strategic fire plan for Tuolumne, Calaveras counties
People often ask, "What causes all the fires in the Mother Lode?" The TCU's 2023 Strategic Fire Plan has answers… for an area totaling 2.8 million acres that round out 4,483 square miles. Elevations in the unit's area range from 300 feet in the Central Valley to nearly 5,000 feet in Tuolumne County and 6,000 feet in Calaveras County. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, August 24, 2023

Board approves new countywide fire prevention effort
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Calaveras Fire Joint Powers Authority for the county to perform inspections and enforce minimum fire safety standards… John Parks, a retired senior fire inspector and arson investigator for the city of Palo Alto, has been hired as the county's fire marshal. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 25, 2023

CCWD Rate Increase Sample Protest Letter
Protest letters must be in writing, and be mailed or hand-delivered to CCWD at 120 Toma Court, San Andreas, CA 95249 before the Sept. 13 public hearing. Letters must include a description of the property, a statement of protest of proposed water and/or sewer rate changes, and be signed and dated by the property owner on record. Click here for a CCWD Rate Increase Sample Protest Letter.

Additional Information Available about CCWD's Proposed Rate Increase
CCWD has released additional information and documents on their website https://ccwd.org/rate-study-23-28/ about the proposed rate increases. This information includes a presentation with construction costs for critical infrastructure projects and Frequently Asked Questions including salaries and benefits. Click here for CCWD Press Release and more info, August 25, 2023

CCWD presents rate hike reasons to its customers
Over the course of the five years, water rates would double and the sewer rate would increase by 73.4 percent. Ratepayers wishing to send a letter protesting…must have it reach the CCWD office [at 120 Toma Court in San Andreas] before a Sept. 13 public hearing…If a majority of all property owners file protests, the proposed rate increases will not be imposed. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 23, 2023

Calaveras County company gets $15.2 million federal loan for high-speed internet
A Copperopolis-based company is getting a $15.2 million loan to improve high-speed internet access through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law championed by President Joe Biden, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture news release Monday… The loan to CalTel will benefit 2,496 people ,13 businesses, three farms and one educational facility in Calaveras County.. Click here for article—Union Democrat, August 23, 2023

Water rate woes call for deep dive towards solutions
…The rate adjustment plan for the next five years…is bound to be an eye-boggler for nearly every customer and will without a doubt have a significant impact on those who are already struggling to make ends meet. "We (at CCWD) sympathize and understand the frustration and wish we didn't have to impose the increase — but if we don't fund it the impact will be larger than the impact of if we don't. We need other agencies and community leaders and a statefunded solution." "We need to come together as a community and address the needs." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 16, 2023

Help on the way to increase area's housing stock
Several counties in California – including Calaveras – are teaming up to make it easier for residents to add accessory dwelling units – ADU for short – to their properties. Mother Lode ADU is a new partnership between the counties of Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa and Nevada created to help homeowners in the region build ADUs… also known as "granny flats," or "in-law units" - come in a variety of shapes and sizes…They can range from prefabricated units to brand-new additions that are attached to the main home. They can range in size from a 500-square-foot studio to a 1,000-square-foot unit with multiple bedrooms. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 18, 2023

Sheriff's office facing critical staffing shortages
"We have a staffing problem," the sheriff told the board. "We're losing people like there's no tomorrow." And according to the sheriff, "It's all about pay."...The office has been running nine to 11 deputies short "for a long, long time," he said, and the dispatch center is at a critical level with only seven dispatchers although it should be a dozen. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 11, 2023

Murphys cigar lounge draws unanimous Planning Commission approval
While the application originally stated the partners would allow cigar smoking on the front patio and open the area behind the structure for cigar smoking after 7 p.m., ensuing discussion with the commissioners resulted in a compromise agreement with more mitigative measures to address drift smoke concerns. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 9, 2023

CalCo Fire dealing with staffing shortage
Staffing shortages and budget concerns have forced Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District to close its downtown Valley Springs station one day a week. The staff, which just a few years ago had a pool of more than three dozen firefighters, is down to a dozen firefighters, according to CalCo Fire Chief Rich Dickinson. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, August 2, 2023

West Point residents form committee to fund raise for community park
In small towns, new ideas are often born out of conversations between neighbors and friends…From that conversation, a collaborative effort to purchase and transform the empty space at the corner of Pine Street and Main Street was set into place…the West Point Park Committee met for the first time on Friday, July 21, at the Blue Mountain Coalition for Youth and Families, which sits next to the empty lot. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 28, 2023

Valley Springs Fire Station Temporary Closures Could Be New Trend
… Calaveras Consolidated Fire Department's Valley Springs Fire station is temporarily closed, with a sign outside stating it is due to "staffing' issues…during the last election cycle, Calaveras voters narrowly declined a one-percent sales tax measure to boost fire protection. Proponents are planning to try again during the upcoming March Primary election…"We had 182 calls just in July, alone, and that is in 163 square miles, with 15,000 plus people…" Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, August 3, 2023

Worsening fire district woes trigger station 'brownout'
The CalCo district, which services a third of the county's population, averages about seven calls a day, more than any other district…Covering a 163-square-mile area in western Calaveras, it serves the communities of Valley Springs, Burson, Wallace, Campo Seco, Milton, Rancho Calaveras, La Contenta and Jenny Lind… Firefighters, who are required to hold a Firefighter 1 degree and EMT certification, work at least two consecutive 24-hour shifts, often more, for which the pay works out to average $6 per hour. [A local ballot measure] seeks to raise the local retail sales tax on non-grocery items from 7.25% by 1% to 8.25% and have those funds directly channel to the county fire districts. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 1, 2023

Calaveras County fire station to be closed some days due to low staffing
"Closed due to staffing" — the message draped across a Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District station reads loud and clear. The chief said he has no choice… The fire district's staff is now down to just 13 firefighters… The Calaveras Consolidated Fire District covers 168 square miles with only two operating stations… Dickinson is proposing a tax hike next year to help solve the money trouble. Click here for article—CBS Sacramento, July 31, 2023

Shift In California's Population Projections
The California Department of Finance now projects that California's population will remain pretty flat, landing at around 39.5 million, in the year 2060… Meanwhile, the state projections predict that both Tuolumne and Calaveras counties will lose population by 2060. Tuolumne is currently at just over 55,000 people and Calaveras has around 45,000. The state projects Tuolumne County's population will fall to 49,317 in 2060 and Calaveras will drop to 36,445. The state compiles the information to help long-term planning. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, July 26, 2023

Supervisors approve big parcel fee increase
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors approved a substantial increase to the county's solid waste parcel fee for the 2023-24 fiscal year following a public hearing on June 27. The fee will increase this year from $150 annually to $277.30 for single family and multi-family residential properties, and increase to the lesser of $1,512.29 or 120% of the previous fee for commercial properties. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 5, 2023

County's handling of cannabis code comes under scrutiny
Calaveras County's recent venture to allowing the legal cultivation of cannabis has been fraught with problems, according to a report released last week by the 2022-2023 Calaveras County Grand Jury…In addition, the grand jury was critical of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors for not requesting or receiving regular updates on the impact of its decision to allow legal cannabis cultivation. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 28, 2023

Stop signs slated for Burson site
Caltrans last week announced it will make traffic safety improvements with the installation of four-way stop signs at the intersection of State Route 12 and Burson Road…Sunday, July 9, will install new stop signage and modified lane striping to help improve traffic safety and reduce the potential for broadside traffic collisions at the intersection… Caltrans is also reviewing additional, long-term alternatives to continue improving traffic safety at this intersection, and is considering either a traffic signal or roundabout. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 28, 2023

Grand Jury critical of response to past winter's storms
"In order to help reduce the risk of wildfires and improve public safety the Grand Jury has identified several areas to improve. Our main area of focus is to increase public safety. This would be accomplished by improving the use of alert systems, identifying opportunities for more effective land use options, and increasing the effectiveness of fire control and prevention measures." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 23, 2023

Animal shelter needs immediate attention, can't wait for new
facility, according to grand jury The jury's report entitled "Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks" was released Tuesday and says, "the shelter is understaffed, unsanitary, underfunded, overcrowded, as well as unappealing and in need of replacement."… The complete report can be found at the grand jury's website - . Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 23, 2023

Board backs plan to reduce visitors bureau tax collection
The room tax, officially called the Transient Occupancy Tax, is a 12 percent surcharge on the rate for short-term rentals such as hotel and motel rooms.…The visitors bureau agreed to a one-year reduction of their allocation to $275,000 to help fund a $50,000 request from the Chamber of Commerce and $75,000 for the countywide park master plan study. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 21, 2023

Prescribed fire severely damages pair of iconic giant sequoias in Calaveras Big Trees State Park
"Unfortunately, it's impossible to do a prescribed fire with zero risk to the sequoias," Shive said. "The only alternative to that risk is to do nothing. Doing nothing would keep these groves fuel-loaded and at high risk of severe fire that has the potential to kill far more of these incredible trees." Click here for article—Union Democrat, June 9, 2023

Work begins this summer to improve Moke River bridge
Motorists on State Route 49 between Amador and Calaveras counties can expect delays this summer…The $10.1 million project is scheduled to begin in late July or early August and will be conducted over two, possible three construction seasons…New bridge rails that meet current crash safety standards will be installed, and the bridge, which was built in 1952, will be widened to include 4-foot shoulders that will better meet the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, May 31, 2023

Big Trees Association advocates for saving the sequoias
Calaveras Big Trees State Park has been identified as the No. 1 risk for wildfire among all giant sequoia groves in the state… Wildfire in this beloved park, as well as the surrounding area, is truly not a question of "if," but "when."… The state has a five-year plan to burn approximately 2,900 acres of the 6,500-acre park… A shocking new discovery — two iconic giant sequoias, known as the Orphans…were scorched during a prescribed burn last fall. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 7, 2023

Financial difficulties plague SR 4 construction projects
County Engineer Robert Pachinger proposed using funds collected from the county's Road Impact Mitigation Program…to keep the project on track. District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi expressed concerns about "gambling" $2.3 million in RIM fees. The RIM fees are collected from new development in the county and are used to pay for road improvements. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 2, 2023

State Farm won't sell new home insurance in California; can the state shore up the market?
But the retraction of California's biggest home coverage provider is only the latest development in a wildfire-fueled crisis that has smoldered beneath the surface of the state's insurance market for years…High rebuild costs, increasingly severe wildfires and high prices of reinsurance are all risks that insurance companies might be willing to take on. But only for the right price. Click here for article—Union Democrat, June 1, 2023

Supes reluctantly approve Cal-Waste hike
If the board did not grant the increase, the county itself would have to make up the difference. Garamendi and Tofanelli also voiced displeasure with information Cal-Waste sent to the public about the recent proposal to extend the life of the county's landfill. Tofanelli called Cal-Waste's publicity about the landfill proposal "misleading and not accurate." He added Cal-Waste was silent when it came to providing the public information about its own rate hike. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, May 31, 2023

Notice of Public Hearing on Solid Waste Parcel Fee
…The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing…on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 at 9:00 a.m…to consider the adoption of a proposed increase to the parcel fee for solid waste services… Any property owner of record subject to the proposed charges may submit a written protest against the proposed fees…If the owners of a majority of the affected parcels submit protests, Calaveras County may not adopt the fees as proposed. Absent a majority protest, the fees may be implemented once adopted by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors after the public hearing. Click here for Notice—Calaveras County Integrated Waste Management, May 9, 2023

Tuolumne County seeks homes to buy for housing program
It's the latest in a series of recent efforts by the county to combat homelessness as California lawmakers consider proposed legislation that would require city and county governments to provide more housing for residents who are unsheltered… Click here for article—Union Democrat, May 12, 2023

Local Housing Collaborative Embraces 'YIMBY' Movement
With growing challenges in finding workforce housing, there is a nationwide "YIMBY" movement, or "Yes in my backyard." The idea is to bring counterpoints against the "NIMBY," not in my backyard mindset, which thwarts many housing proposals… The YIMBY idea focuses on removing housing obstacles, encouraging people to tell stories about their challenges, and building community coalitions. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, May 18, 2023

County accepting parcel fee protests
The clock is running if Calaveras County property owners wish to lodge a protest against the proposed 85 percent solid waste parcel fee increase. The county Board of Supervisors will consider increasing the single-family residential fee on homeowners' annual property tax statement from $150 to $277.30 at a June meeting…"If the owners of a majority of the affected parcels submit protests, Calaveras County may not adopt the fees as proposed. Absent a majority protest, the fees may be implemented…" All written protests must be submitted prior to the June 27 meeting… Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, May 17, 2023

Travel-related spending in county surpasses pre-pandemic peak
While travel-related spending in the state has declined since the pandemic, a recent report shows that visitors spent more in Calaveras County last year than in 2019. The study, released by Visit California, the state's official tourism site, shows that travel related spending increased to $246 million in the county for 2022…accounted for $19.1 million in state and local tax revenue in 2022, and supported 3,000 jobs, mostly in the accommodations and food services sectors…In all the counties bordering Calaveras, travel-related spending has yet to recover from its 2019 peak… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 17, 2023

Potential parcel fee increase in the mail
Calaveras County retains control of its own landfill and maintains six transfer stations. These facilities, available to all residents of Calaveras County, are maintained primarily by a parcel fee collected at the same time residents pay property taxes… There hasn't been an adjustment to the parcel fee since 1991…a woman from Rancho Calaveras who felt moved to comment "For the last decade you should have known this was going on. I worry about seniors on a fixed income. I worry about people who don't use the dump and now have a really big increase," she said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 9, 2023

Supervisors criticize Visitors Bureau for not doing enough to promote west end of county
In the bureau's promo video, a montage of images painted a picture of the county: outdoor recreation including skiing, rafting, parasailing…the Frog Jump, Murphys Grape Stomp, Irish Days… Stopper pointed out that while districts 1 and 5 have minimal TOT-generating businesses, the tri-lake area brings in plenty of visitors to the county who spend money at restaurants and other businesses. "I would like to see more focus presenting to the other side of the county" Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 3, 2023

Habitat for Humanity Calaveras provides update on 107-home project in Angels Camp
Plans currently call for 107 homes that will range in size from 1,248 to 1,436 square feet, with two-, three- and four-bedroom units… Homes at Eureka Oaks will include garages, private yards, drought-tolerant landscaping, energy-efficient appliances and plumbing fixtures…Homes will be sold to local families with household incomes up to about $104,650 per year for a family of four. Mortgages will be fixed at no more than 30% of their gross monthly household income. Click here for article—Union Democrat, April 28, 2023

Name Announced For 107-Home Calaveras Habitat Development
Habitat for Humanity of Calaveras County is moving closer to building homes on a 17-acre property off Copello Drive and Highway 49 in Angels Camp. The development will be known as "Eureka Oaks." The 107 homes planned for the site will range in size from 1,148 to 1,436 square feet, and will be either two, three, or four bedroom units, and they will be under a homeowners association. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 18, 2023

Supervisors considering 85% hike in dump fee
Calaveras County's homeowners could see an 85 percent increase in the annual parcel fee that supports the county's solid waste system…The solid waste system is running at a budget deficit… Supervisors at the June 27 meeting will consider increasing the annual $150 parcel fee to $277.30. The fact sheet presented by the consultants indicates 75 percent of the county residents self-haul their solid waste to the landfill or transfer stations. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, April 28, 2023

Board approves $9.6 million contract to extend dump's life
Calaveras County is moving ahead with plans to spend $9.6 million to expand the Rock Creek Landfill... The current trash collection cell at the landfill is nearing capacity and the new cell is projected to handle the county's waste disposal needs for the next 25-plus years… The county landfill is operating at a deficit and a study to address those issues is expected to be completed this month and come to the board for consideration. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, April 21, 2023

Tuolumne County officials expect development costs to rise from new state-mandated fire safety standards
California is imposing new construction standards that are expected to make development projects more costly in fire-prone areas like Tuolumne County…the new requirements are still anticipated to drive up construction costs for new residential, industrial and commercial buildings. The changes are also anticipated to increase the costs of constructing new roads or extending existing ones. Click here for article—Union Democrat, April 19, 2023

New Local Housing Projects Impacted By State Fire Rules
CAL Fire recently adopted new minimum fire regulations for its State Responsibility Area and other "Very High Fire Hazard Severity" zones… County Supervisors are concerned that the rules could thwart potential projects. For example, new roads constructed must sustain 75,000 pounds, and new driveways must sustain 40,000 pounds… Rural County Representatives of California lobbying group has made the issue a priority, and there could be legal action forthcoming from them. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, April 18, 2023

Angels Camp business denied permit to host events
At a March 23 hearing, the Planning Commission denied an appeal for a permit to allow the Niemuths to hold weddings and other large events on their property, which is located in a rural residential zone. The Planning Commission maintains that the property is not zoned for the types of events that have already taken place at Niemuth Manor. One event, a wedding, had been scheduled to take place just two days after the hearing. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 6, 2023

Board has concerns fire map update will hike insurance costs
Citing the threat to Calaveras County residents in retaining fire insurance for their homes, the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved sending a letter to the California State Fire Marshal expressing concerns about an update to the state's Fire Hazard Severity Zones map. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 31, 2023

PROTECTING GIANTS -- Big Trees town hall reveals progress, plans for more fuel reduction
The redwood trees at Calaveras Big Trees State Park have weathered hundreds of years of rain, fire and wind, but recent fire seasons have shown that the survival of the giants of the North and South groves is not guaranteed. An ambitious 1,520 acres of forest are slated to be burned this year at the park to improve the health of forest and prevent devastating wildfire. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 29, 2023

Twain Harte residents seek answers about shopping center redevelopment plans
"This is the first major development that would make use of existing, vacant facilities and would not need to significantly disturb or clear a natural, undeveloped site," Buckley said. "The shopping center already exists, and the buildings for the first two phases of the project would simply be upgraded so those two first phases would have very little effect on the environment, if any." Click here for article—The Union Democrat, March 24, 2023

California farmers flood their fields in order to save them
With the drought-stricken state suddenly inundated by a series of rainstorms, California's outdated infrastructure has let much of the stormwater drain into the Pacific Ocean…If more farmers would inundate their fields rather than divert precipitation into flood channels, that excess could seep underground and get stored for when drought conditions return. Click here for article—Reuters, March 24, 2023

156-home project approved for Valley Springs
A proposed Valley Springs development with 156 building lots cleared its final hurdle last week when the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors approved the final map for North Vista Plaza Subdivision. The 35.5-acre development is located off Vista Del Lago West in between Quail Oaks and Rancho Calaveras subdivisions. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, March 24, 2023

Big Trees Town Hall reveals progress, plans for more fire fuel reduction
An ambitious 1,520 acres of forest are slated to be burned this year at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. A prescribed burn plan for 1,300 acres in the South Grove area of the park is already approved, pending millions of dollars in contract negotiations with partners to prepare roads and create a defensible perimeter around the area first. Then, it's up to the elements. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 24, 2023

County selects Kern staffer for top post
Calaveras County's fourth executive officer in a four-year period has been announced. Teresa Hitchcock, an assistant county executive officer in Kern County, has agreed to accept the top administrative post in Calaveras County effective March 25…Hitchcock is replacing Christa Von Latta who resigned last July. The year before, Albert Alt resigned after two years at the post and Timothy Lutz stepped down as CAO in January 2019. Craig Pedro, who retired as Tuolumne County's CAO, has been Calaveras County's interim CAO since August of last year. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 24, 2023

Drop in County, State Population
The latest Census figures show more people are leaving California and Calaveras County. California's population declined in both 2021 and 2022. Over the two-year period, through July of 2022, the population dropped by more than 500,000 people… The latest statistics from the California Department of Finance note that Calaveras County's population was at 44,883, a decline of 180 people from the prior year. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 22, 2023

Calaveras County's first Registered Consulting Arborist weighs in on tree mortality
Calaveras County is one of 10 high-priority California counties identified by the United States Forest Service in 2017 via an aerial study of forested land. According to that study, Calaveras County lost a cumulative total of more than 3.2 million trees between 2010 and 2017... Thousands of these trees were likely affected by the Butte Fire…but were also already stressed by drought and beetle infestation. Click here for article—The Calaveras Enterprise, February 16, 2023

Flood control cited as reason for releases from New Hogan
The large volume of water released the past month from New Hogan Lake has been attributed to maintaining enough room in the reservoir for flood control. "…space for potential future inflows from rain and snowmelt, which helps reduce the chance of uncontrolled releases out of the reservoir." Releases reached a high of 4,446 acre-feet a second on Jan. 23 and were down to 172 acre-feet as of Tuesday. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, February 8, 2023

Calaveras In No Rush To Push Cannabis Tourism
Leaders in Calaveras County expressed that they want to take a slow approach when it comes to changing any existing rules that would open the door to becoming a hub for cannabis tourism. The county's Planning Director Gabriel Elliott led a presentation to the board of supervisors yesterday with the goal of gauging interest on whether there is a desire to change existing regulations that would allow the cannabis industry to hold events, and things like farm tours… Cannabis is currently not considered an agricultural product in the county, so agritourism opportunities allowed by other types of farms and wineries are not legal under existing rules. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, January 25, 2023

Who can stop the flooding? Officials discuss decades of failed efforts to protect La Contenta homeowners
After two major floods in Valley Springs with many calling the most recent one the worst yet, many residents have expressed frustration, demanding answers from county officials as to who is responsible for preventing such a disaster from happening again…District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli and Director of Public Works Robert Pachinger about the ongoing issue…La Contenta residents write letter to Board of Supervisors. Click here for article—The Calaveras Enterprise, January 24, 2023

Tuolumne County supervisors ask staff to evaluate inclusionary housing ordinance for possible changes
Mike Lemke, of Lemke Homes, a former member of the county Housing Policy Committee, disbanded by the board in December, helped build the Sierra Meadows subdivision off Jamestown Road, approved by the county in March 2008, and its 45 homes include five that were built as affordable housing…Lemke and Ron Kopf, a development manager and consultant, spoke to the board and recommended doing away with the current terms of the ordinance…In November 2013, the county Board of Supervisors voted to amend the county's inclusionary housing ordinance by converting it from a mandatory to a voluntary, incentive-based system. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, January 19, 2023

Storm System Causes Flooding And Traffic Impacts
Emergency officials have been busy…The Calaveras Consolidated Fire Department reports that on Saturday evening there was widespread flooding in parts of Valley Springs, including at the Ace Hardware store, Alpine Gas, and multiple homes and condos along Highway 26, Grouse Drive and St. Andrews Drive. Emergency officials rescued some citizens trapped in vehicles and homes. Click here for article—MyMotherLode.com, January 15, 2023

Homeowners displaced, frustrated by Valley Springs flooding - Residents say decades-long dialogue with county failed to prevent disaster
The overflowing [Cosgrove] creek not only affected La Contenta homes but surrounding trailer parks and apartments as well. Several houses sit empty after being red-tagged by the county, while many have sandbags braced up against their walls… A recurring theme from every homeowner was a history of dialogue with the county over who is responsible for maintaining the creek. Click here for article—The Calaveras Enterprise, January 11, 2023

At least 50 homes flooded in Valley Springs -- New Year's Eve deluge leaves some stranded, requiring rescue by raft
Valley Springs and Copperopolis residents have shared photos of submerged backyards and flooded roadways…CalCo reported multi-agency efforts to rescue 15 people by boat from "catastrophic flooding in Valley Springs," including Castle Oaks mobile home park and "multiple homes and townhouses flooded in La Contenta". Click here for article—The Calaveras Enterprise, January 5, 2023

'WATER: OUR GOLD' -- UWPA launches campaign to preserve Calaveras County's vital flume system
With increasing environmental hazards such as drought and wildfires posing a major threat to the flume system, the UWPA has been focusing resources on the maintenance and protection of the water system... runs through Murphys Creek and that without it, the creek would run dry most of the year. The system is vital for local agriculture including ranches and vineyards as well as residential areas. Not only does the system provide water to the residents of Murphys and Angels Camp, but power is generated through two hydroelectric powerhouses. Click here for article—The Calaveras Enterprise, January 3, 2023

 

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