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2020 Archive

Tuolumne Supervisors Approve Terra Vi Lodge Yosemite
The development permit addressed additional well monitoring due to neighbor's concerns about their wells and drought… The supervisors discussed the helicopter landing pad and stated that no private helicopters would be allowed to use the landing site…With this approval the project developers, Hanji Corporation an investment group out of Los Angeles, can move forward with any grading or building permits… Two weeks ago the supervisors supported the luxury tent camping resort, Yosemite Undercanvas, planned for Highway 120 and Hardin Flat Road… Click here for article—, December 31, 2020

New Outreach Coordinator Joins Community Action Project Staff
San Andreas, CA- The Community Action Project (CAP) Governing Committee is pleased to announce the addition of Megan Fiske to its staff as the Outreach Coordinator for both CAP and the Calaveras Planning Coalition (CPC), which is CAP's primary program. "We are extremely pleased to put Megan's education and experience to work for CAP and the Coalition," said CAP Co-Chair Joyce Techel. "She is already familiar with the county and the issues we address and has previously done similar work in the region." Click here for article—Ledger Dispatch, December 31, 2020

Supervisors Vote On Terra Vi Lodge Halted
Sonora, CA – The hearing on whether to approve the Terra Vi Lodge at Yosemite ended abruptly on Tuesday evening. After nearly five hours of listening to callers, Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors walked away with no decision on the project… Buckley criticized the board saying it is "blatantly rushing citizen review in order to allow outgoing board members a chance to approve projects before leaving office." Another special meeting will now be held on Thursday (Dec. 31, New Year's Eve) at 9 a.m… Click here for article—, December 29, 2020

Vote on second Highway 120 resort delayed due to error
Buckley said the omission of the points his center made were an example of mistakes made due to the "rushed" nature of the approval process, an argument that many detractors of the project have also made… "Based on Mr. Buckley's comments, the county and consultant reviewed the comments and responses and confirmed the bulk of Mr. Buckley's comment letter was not responded to due to an inadvertent error," Click here for article—The Union Democrat, December 29, 2020

Supervisors appoint two interim department heads
In a unanimous vote, the board appointed Robert Pachinger as interim director of public works, effective Jan. 2, 2021, and Samuel Leach as interim director of health and human services, effective Dec. 19."Robert (Pachinger) has been with Calaveras County for over 30 years, and in addition to his new role as interim director, he also serves as the county surveyor and deputy director of public works," a statement from public works reads. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 28, 2020

Planning Department Says Zoning Update Map Fixed – Review Time Extended
"Thank you for your patience while we worked out some glitches with the GIS maps of the proposed zone changes. The southern portion of the County is now included in the map. Because of the delay in getting all of the information up, we are extending the review period for comments. We ask that you get your comments to the Planning Department by Friday, January 22, 2021." Comments were previously due on January 8. One "glitch" appears to remain. There is a discrepancy between the amount of land designated as Agriculture Preserve and… Click here for Planning Update—CAP/Calaveras Planning Coalition, December 24, 2020

Supervisors approve use of eminent domain to carry out Wagon Trail project
The Wagon Trail project, which has formally been in the works since 2001, aims to realign and improve a roughly six-mile stretch of Highway 4 between Copperopolis and Angels Camp…Pack said that eminent domain proceedings were not a "preferable option," but were the "last option," and that the process could take up to five months, finishing just before the funding deadlines… "We will continue to negotiate with the property owners in parallel to this process." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 18, 2020

Supervisors Approve Yosemite Under Canvas Resort
However…added some conditions to the project approval…Related to fire concerns, the developer will not be allowed to use wood stoves for heating the luxury tents, and instead must use propane. In addition, pedestrian pathways must be developed for the nearby YARTS bus turnouts. Also, the roughly $272,000 in traffic impact mitigation fees collected from the developer will be used for needed improvements to Hardin Flat Road. Click here for article—, December 18, 2020

More People Moving To Mother Lode But Overall Population Declines
In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, many urban areas in California saw more people move out than come in, while the Mother Lode witnessed the opposite trend…The Mother Lode counties, while having more people come then go, saw an overall decline due to more deaths than births, primarily due to an older population base. Tuolumne County fell from 55,557 residents last year to 52,353 this year. There were 710 deaths and 447 births. Calaveras County's population dropped from 44,402 to 44,286, Amador from 37,464 to 37,325… Click here for article—, December 17, 2020

Calaveras native put her retirement in storage … literally
The Mokelumne Hill native made the decision to return to the area to build her retirement plan: Toyon Smart Storage… Four buildings on the 5-acre site house 245 units with room on the property to expand to two more buildings. A solar array has made it possible for Whitaker to keep the energy needs of the business completely self-contained, so she doesn't have to rely on Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to supply her electricity. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 17, 2020

Planning department releases proposed zoning map
"One of the primary implementation tools of the General Plan is its zoning ordinance, which includes a zoning map," Maurer said. "When the land-use designations were changed on some parcels, that meant that we needed to modify the zoning as well to bring it into conformance with the General Plan." The proposed map includes rezoning for about 6,100 parcels, about 13% of the county's 45,000 total parcels. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 15, 2020

Proposed zoning map update ready for public review
The Calaveras County Planning Department has released the proposed zoning map update to bring the county wide zoning into compliance with the General Plan…map changes are to rezone parcels zoned with the interim zones…affects approximately 5,000 parcels in the county. In addition, another 1,100 parcels are proposed for rezoning to make them consistent with the land use designations. Comments should be received by the Planning Department no later than January 8, 2021. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, December 9, 2020

Exodus continues of Calaveras department heads
Planning Director Peter Maurer and Health and Human Services Agency Director Kristin Stranger are joining Public Works Director Joshua Pack in an exodus from the Government Center in San Andreas…"It is with mixed emotions that I am letting you know that I intend to retire at the end of March," Maurer said in his Nov. 30 notice to the county Board of Supervisors...Maurer has been the county's planning director the past seven years. "There have been a number of unanticipated twists and turns along the way that have made it interesting to say the least," Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, December 9, 2020

Appeals seek to overturn Highway 120 resort approvals
Appeals seeking to overturn the approval of both the Yosemite Under Canvas and Terra Vi Lodge resort projects on Highway 120 between Groveland and Yosemite National Park have been filed and will be considered by the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors… The projects…have faced vehement opposition from dozens of neighboring property owners, South County residents, owners of other hotels and resorts on Highway 120, and local environmental advocacy groups. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, December 8, 2020

Another Highway 120 resort approved amid outcry
The Tuolumne County Planning Commission approved the second of two proposed resorts off Highway 120 about 20 miles east of Groveland at the end of a five-hour meeting Tuesday night, despite warnings of a potentially long and costly legal battle ahead. Click here for article—The Union Democrat, December 7, 2020

Calaveras public works director going to Butte Co.
Pack's family lives in Nevada City and he has been commuting and living in an apartment in Mokelumne Hill since he began working in Calaveras County in October of 2018… He listed the Butte Fire Road Restoration Project as a major accomplishment during his tenure in Calaveras County…The department has a lot of momentum going forward and Pack suspects many will see the Calaveras County public works directorship as an "attractive position." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, December 2, 2020

American Legion Ambulance wins bid for services in county
The award comes after nearly a year of uncertainty hanging over who the next provider would be… ALA will continue to staff three 24-hour units at posts across Valley Springs, San Andreas and Angels Camp, along with a 12-hour day car in San Andreas that provides added support. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, December 1, 2020

American Legion gets nod for new contract
The private ambulance service out of Amador County received a unanimous vote Monday from the Board of Directors of the Mountain-Valley Emergency Medical Services Agency to begin negotiations for a new five-year contract…The fire districts did not protest the expert committee's findings…One part of the new contract will be quicker response times…Another feature…will be GPS monitors on all ambulances to accurately track response times. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, November 20, 2020

Supervisors voice support for industrial hemp ban
Sheriff Rick DiBasilio voiced concerns about the costs of regulating hemp, the difficulty of differentiating hemp from marijuana, and the impact that hemp could have on the county's marijuana industry due to cross-fertilization, which could damage marijuana plants and result in legal issues for the county. "I agree with the board," he said. "It needs to be banned." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, November 20, 2020

Yosemite Under Canvas Project Approved By Planning Commission
A luxury tent camping resort project planned for Highway 120 and Hardin Flat Road was approved by the Tuolumne County Planning Commission… now a 10-day window for anyone to appeal the decision to the board of supervisors, which is a possibility given…many people and groups speaking in opposition, including the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center (CSERC). Click here for article—, November 19, 2020

ROAD-WORTHY ENDEAVOR--City of Angels breaks ground on pedestrian, bicycle project
"We're hoping to achieve the community's vision in our Angels Camp Main Street Plan," City Administrator Melissa Eads..."We've received their direction for the context of their community, and we want to aggressively go after funding that helps build that vision, and we don't want our plans to sit on the shelf..." Another major component of that vision is the Angels Creek Master Plan and Trail, which proposes approximately five miles of trail stretching from the Highway 4 Bypass to New Melones Reservoir. That plan was developed in 2012 and identified in the city's 2020 General Plan as an Implementation Project. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 21, 2020

Doubt cast on financing for public ambulances
An earlier promise made by the county Board of Supervisors of a $2.6 million loan from county coffers to provide seed money to get the public ambulance service up and running will not be possible. County Counsel Sarah Edwards informed the board and fire chiefs at a special meeting Monday that state law prohibits the county from making a direct loan to the joint powers authority being established by nine districts to start the public ambulance service. However, the county has the authority to loan money to the individual fire districts… Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, October 21, 2020

Seed funding remains challenge for fire districts pursuing county ambulance contract
The discussion among supervisors resulted in a 3-2 decision to amend that the loan be distributed to individual fire districts, with a cap at 85% of each respective district's assessed tax base. Two of the three chiefs at the meeting said this would be "a tough ask" of their respective boards...a short timeframe to determine what each district's tax base amounts to and whether the individual district boards will sign off on the agreement. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 20, 2020

New permit rules protect mountain lions, but tie hands of western Sierra ranchers
With 198,000 acres of rangelands in Calaveras County, the cattle industry yielded $7.8 million in revenues in 2018, the second highest commodity behind timber, per the 2018 crop report. Mary Anne Garamendi, District 2 representative on the county fish and game commission said she understands the need for the county to preserve its open spaces to protect mountain lions and ranchers' livelihoods, including through the use of conservation easements. "…we need to try to keep our habitat managed correctly so we don't have depredation of our livestock," Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, October 8, 2020

Book closed on decade-plus process to approve VS plan
The previous Valley Springs Community Plan dates back to 1975. By 2010, two community plans had been drafted for Valley Springs…The competing plans generated controversy. To address this, the two drafts for Valley Springs were merged…Colleen Platt of explained to the supervisors, "The Valley Springs Community Plan section and policies currently before you is a 'blended' and condensed version, and includes a broad spectrum of goals and policies from both of the draft plant submitted by community members in 2010." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, September 25, 2020

Supervisors pass Valley Springs community plan
It took more than a decade of controversial planning efforts for a new Valley Springs community plan to make it before the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors... The Calaveras Planning Coalition, a community planning group, sued the county over its General Plan update in December of 2019, citing a lack of clear deadlines for implementation of approximately 120 mitigation measures listed in the plan, including the excluded community plans. "I'm glad to see the county moving forward with this," said coalition member Joyce Techel of the Valley Springs Community Plan. "As development takes place, some things will be addressed that wouldn't have been addressed if the plan wasn't there. Is it perfect? No, but not much is." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 23, 2020

Steelhead conservation plan on Calaveras River draws concern from fisheries advocates
Stockton East says the plan will protect threatened steelhead in the Calaveras River while meeting the needs of agricultural and municipal water users through 2070… One conservation group said the plan doesn't do enough to help fish pass through stretches of the river below Bellota, an often-dry streambed offering minimal quality habitat, depending on the water year…"It basically memorializes a dewatering of the river 24 miles from Bellota to the confluence of the San Joaquin," Jennings said. Click here for article—Ledger Dispatch, September 18, 2020

40,000+ gallon sewage spill at MCSP
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) spilled 42,227 gallons of sewage at Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) on August 11 according to the Governor's Office of Emergency Services report… According to CDCR, a valve failed at the Mule Creek Infill Complex lift station at MCSP causing overflow that was stopped at 11:30 a.m. Since 2006 there have been more than 60 spills. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 18, 2020

Supervisors approve $2.6M seed funding commitment for fire districts to take over ambulance services
After several hours of deliberating, supervisors voted 3-2… Funding for the loan will come from the following budgets: $500,000 from the Valley Springs benefit basin, $500,000 from the Copperopolis benefit basin, $1 million from the Butte Fire settlement from Pacific Gas & Electric and $600,000 in road impact mitigation study (RIMS) funds… "We are turning ourselves into a pretzel to make this thing happen," Garamendi said…Talk of a "structural deficit" surfaced again during budget discussions. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, September 10, 2020

Fire prevention ordinance going to supervisors
A fire prevention ordinance for the communities of west Calaveras is close to consideration. The Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District Board of Directors last week voted 7-0 to recommend approval of the ordinance by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors…A major focus of the proposed ordinance is mitigating the build up of "fuel loads" such as weeds and other vegetation on both unimproved and improved parcels…To put teeth into the chief's authority, there is a fee and fine schedule. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, September 4, 2020

Estimated 150 gallons of oil illegally dumped in Valley Springs
Authorities located 46 five-gallon buckets and a 55-gallon drum of what appears to be motor oil upturned and flowing into a stormwater drain north of the Vista del Lago Way and Highway 26 intersection in Valley Springs Wednesday morning. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 26, 2020

Fire districts to bid on Calaveras County ambulance contract
Calaveras County's nine fire districts were successful in their efforts to delay a Request for Proposal (RFP) process that they say would have excluded them from putting in a bid for the county's ambulance contract for its north and south response zones… The Mountain-Valley board, in an Aug. 17 special meeting, agreed to an addendum clarifying that public safety agencies are allowed to submit proposals… Under a second addendum passed by the board, the proposal due date was delayed 30 days to Oct.19 and the implementation of the contract was pushed back 60 days to June 1, 2021. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 20, 2020

Calaveras Moving Forward With COVID-19 Educational Compliance Approach
Businesses will receive education and guidance if they are found to be in violation of state requirements, then the county will encourage voluntary compliance, and if all else fails, the county counsel's office has the ability to take legal action in the form of a temporary restraining order/injunction… The idea of a fine structure did not have enough support from a majority of the board. Click here for article—, August 12, 2020

SNF adjusts amid COVID-19, wildfire conditions
With the public health threats of COVID-19 and wildfire smoke compounding each other, the Stanislaus National Forest has established a number of protocols to limit contact among firefighters and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus…"We are a resource management agency and we use fire as a resource management tool," Johnson said. But this year's different. "We are really focusing on keeping these fires as small as we can to reduce the amount of personnel and smoke impacts to communities." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, August 7, 2020

County will not pursue lawsuit against CDCR as talks continue on Mule Creek contamination
"Over 500 defects were found in the stormwater and sewer systems. These defects range from minor corrosion to broken/collapsed pipes, fully separated joints, deformations, compromised seals, failed previous repairs, and large holes cracks or breaks where soil is visible."…a settlement of $2.5 million against CDCR is fair and reasonable and fulfills its enforcement objectives…and is in the best interest of the public. Click here for article—The Ledger-Dispatch, August 1, 2020

Sheriff, board chair disagree over Newsom's mask order
"…I will not make criminals out of people who will not wear a mask."…"I will not tell people they 'shall,'" the sheriff responded. "I believe that's a violation of their constitutional rights and I won't do that"…"I'll compromise," he said. "They must wear a mask when they're in public and not able to social distance, but I'm not going to arrest and I'm not going to cite." Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 24, 2020

Coping with COVID-19 – Board OK's temporary outside dining
Hawg Dawgs in Valley Springs was one of the first restaurants to go through the permitting process…owner Louis Menard called Wednesday morning for an inspection and had his later that day. He was asked to change the configuration of his dining area tent out in front of his restaurant so patrons would have a better exit in case of a fire in the kitchen. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 24, 2020

County establishes zero-cost permits for businesses to expand outdoor services
Planning Director Peter Maurer told the board that permits could be issued the same day applications are submitted, depending on the details of the site plan. "If it's just using existing space and not going into the public right-of-way, not installing tents or canopies…" Calaveras County received $5.49 million of a $2.2 trillion federal stimulus package made available by the CARES Act, which passed in March of 2020. About $902,000 of the funding is allocated to the county's General Fund. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 22, 2020

Ambulance contract sought by fire chiefs
The fire chiefs of Calaveras County have submitted a letter to the Board of Supervisors asking for consideration to start a joint power authority to provide ambulance service. American Legion Ambulance's contract to provide service to two of the three ambulance zones in the county expired last month. No bids were received when the contract went out to bid earlier this year. The letter from the fire chiefs to the board states: The Fire Chiefs of Calaveras County are very concerned about the possibility that there might not be an ambulance service provider in the near future… Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 22, 2020

Calaveras Commercial Cannabis Tax Moves To The November Ballot
The county is already regulating commercial cannabis under an ordinance passed last year by a 3-2 vote. According to Board Chair and District 3 Supervisor Merita Callaway, to date, 24 permits approved through the county and the state, are now operating under those licenses… at the rate established in the proposed measure, the county will probably garner an estimated $1.7 million in taxes from the current licensees. Click here for article—, July 16, 2020

Building boom in Toyon - Cal-Waste moves into new transfer, repair complex - New storage center has recreation needs in mind
The skyline in Toyon, for years dominated by the water tower, has a new feature…Cal-Waste's new transfer facility…is expected to be nearly finished by the first quarter of next year… Toyon has been a hub of construction activity lately and one of those projects is Toyon Smart Storage being built at the crossroads of State Routes 12 and 26. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 10, 2020

Experts call for more burning statewide to protect communities, natural resources
More than 1 million acres have burned in California wildfires during extreme fire years, but that's a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated tens of millions of acres per year that burned before European colonizers began actively suppressing fires… A large portion of fires were due to lightning ignitions, but many were prescribed burns conducted by indigenous inhabitants…"For the last 150 years, there's been a massive extermination of fire with detrimental results." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, July 3, 2020

Court decision could derail county General Plan update
A recent court decision against San Diego County adds further support to the Calaveras Planning Coalition's 145-page legal case against the 2019 Calaveras County general plan. "We are pleased that the courts continue to protect the health, safety, and well-being of citizens by ensuring that local governments follow the law," said Community Action Project Co-Chair and founding Coalition member Joyce Techel. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 1, 2020

Green light from panel for transit proposal
A $7.8 million plan to improve pedestrian, bicycle and motor vehicle safety in downtown Valley Springs received unanimous support Thursday from the Calaveras County Planning Commission… Since many of the suggestions are along State Route 12 and 26, Caltrans will have the final say… A number of improvements in the vicinity of Valley Springs Elementary School were outlined and they would not need Caltrans approval, but funding could be an obstacle and necessitating the acquisition of grants. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, July 1, 2020

$7.8 million transit plan unveiled
The so-called Valley Springs Town Center Connectivity Plan has been in the works for several years. A traffic congestion problem at Valley Springs Elementary School got the project rolling…The outcome…is an implementation plan that covers six downtown areas. It identifies infrastructure projects to enhance bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicular connectivity. Click here for article—The Valley Springs News, June 24, 2020

Habitat for Humanity Calaveras submits subdivision plan to Angels Camp officials
On June 3, the nonprofit submitted plans to Angels Camp officials for a 107-unit subdivision on the western side of North Main Street on Copello Drive… Behiel said that he hopes to break ground on the project in about a year… "It's affordable workforce housing, so we're looking at families that make between roughly $40,000 and $65,000 a year," he said. "It will be either 0% or low-interest mortgages… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, June 11, 2020

Amador County sends notice of intent to sue CDCR
In a letter to Patrick Covello, Warden of Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP), and Ralph Diaz, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), Amador County has given a 60-day notice of its intention to sue with regard to violations of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly known as the Clean Water Act (CWA). The county alleges that CDCR is engaging in ongoing violations of the CWA by discharging pollutants from MCSP into Mule Creek… Click here for article—Ledger-Dispatch, May 22, 2020

Many sectors still seek better online connectivity to provide services
Of the many industries impacted by the relatively low level of internet connectivity in Calaveras County, medical services would greatly benefit from faster speeds… Calaveras County Supervisor Jack Garamendi…The spread of the novel coronavirus and the enactment of shelter-in-place restrictions have made the need for adequate broadband increasingly clear…"…vital for continuing to grow our community and our economy, and they're places where we need federal and state help to help mitigate the excessive costs of doing this." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 22, 2020

CCWD wins case filed by former La Contenta Golf owner
The Calaveras County Water District was notified earlier this month it prevailed in a lawsuit filed in 2011 by a former owner of La Contenta Golf Club… CCWD's general counsel, Matt Weber of Downey Brand LLP, handled the litigation and is now seeking to recover CCWD's legal defense costs… Voorhees sold La Contenta Golf Club in 2018 and is not associated with the current golf course owners who have a productive partnership with CCWD, the water district added. Click here for article

Supes Back Tri-Dam Project Proposal For Tulloch Rec Area, 4-1
The Calaveras supervisors denied an appeal to thwart approved plans to proceed for a free public day-use area on Lake Tulloch… Planning staff confirmed out that the use of the parcel is permitted by right in C-2… reasons given by appeal did not provide any evidence that the applicants did not meet requirements and performance standards, including landscaping, screening, signs, parking, and refuse storage… No public comments came in for or against the appeal. Ultimately, the board denied the appellants' appeal 4-1 with Mills casting the lone dissenting vote. Click here for article—, May 18, 2020

CCWD Wins on all Counts in Lawsuit Brought by Former Owner of La Contenta Golf Club
This lawsuit involved a dispute between Ryan Voorhees, one of the former owners of La Contenta Golf Club, and CCWD regarding $1.8 million in sewer capacity credits… After nearly 10 years of litigation, the judge found that CCWD met all its contractual obligations and Voorhees' company had not earned any additional sewer capacity credits. Thus, the Court found CCWD had no obligation to compensate Voorhees and his company. Click here for press release article—, May 15, 2020

Judge Holds Landowner Liable for Cultivation-related Environmental Crimes
A California judge recently ordered a Calaveras County property owner liable for damages after their tenant committed environmental crimes in conjunction with a cannabis operation…the judge ordered a Calaveras County landowner liable for over $680,000…CDFW and local authorities eradicated over 6,200 plants at the unpermitted cannabis grow, which was linked to 10 separate sites where discarded vehicles, garbage and human waste were dumped in or near a stream. Click here for article—CDFW News, May 7, 2020

How prepared is Calaveras County for illegal cannabis cultivation?
Some prospective growers are just "days away" from germinating, and more than 100 applicants are in various stages of licensing…With forecasts from local law enforcement that new illegal grow sites could pop up as legal cultivators get started, residents may be wondering about the county's capacity to respond. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 14, 2020

Broadband deployment lags behind in Calaveras County
As county residents are urged to shelter in place, access to a reliable, high-speed internet connection has become more important than ever before. But many locals lack access to high-speed broadband service, making working from home, telehealth and distance learning difficult or impossible… The CCBC graded each county by comparing local broadband infrastructure to the state average. Calaveras County received a "D-."…the county's relatively low level of broadband service has significant repercussions for local businesses. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, May 14, 2020

Calaveras Supes Hear COVID-19 Update, Kelaita's Summer, Fall Predictions
Board Chair and District 3 Supervisor Merita Callaway queried the doctor about the return of tourism lodging, adding that when it resumes it will indicate that Calaveras is inviting nonessential travel into the county. He maintained that reopening those businesses would also be based on local disease occurrences and impacts. "When the Stay At Home order is rescinded, we will have more local flexibility regarding recreational travel and activities." Click here for article—, April 21, 2020

Water contamination confirmed in wells near Mule Creek - MCSP dumps 4 million more gallons of waste
"The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is using storms to dump a mixture of industrial waste, sewage, gray water, and stormwater containing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Semivolatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs) into Mule Creek, violating direct orders to cease and desist from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) that regulates the CDCR and the Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) facility," Click here for article—Ledger-Dispatch, April 17, 2020

Legalization of adult-use cannabis sales delayed by COVID-19
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday directed staff to send an order down to the Planning Commission to, within 40 days, review proposed changes to the ordinance that regulates the county's cannabis dispensaries…in response to a March 26 vote by the Planning Commission to put the item on hold until after the COVID-19 crisis passed… On a separate item, the board voted 3-2 to amend Chapter 9.22 of the Calaveras County Code – the cannabis background check ordinance… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 16, 2020

Commission votes to allow delay of Fishmas; three Eastside counties have requested it
Fishmas is the trout fishing opening weekend, and government representatives for the Eastside counties of Alpine, Mono and Inyo have requested delay of the Eastern Sierra trout opener scheduled April 25… Eric Sklar, the commission president, emphasized there is no proposal or plan to ban fishing statewide. Whatever is decided for Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties "will be a surgical approach if we take it," Sklar said. Elsewhere in California, when Fishmas trout openers occur, "hunters and fishers need to be smart about social distancing, not congregate in parking lots wherever you go," Sklar said. Click here for article—Union Democrat, April 16, 2020

Regional water board has few answers on Mule Creek spills
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (CDCR) has had more than 50 industrial waste spills into Mule Creek since 2006… There are more questions than answers or solutions from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) that regulates the CDCR and Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) facility. Click here for article—Ledger-Dispatch, April 10, 2020

High-use areas, high-use roads in Stanislaus National Forest closed due to pandemic
The federal agency also announced the routine winter closure of more than 345 forest roads is now extended through April 30… Designated recreation sites and roads are closed but "the general forest area, including the extensive trail system will remain open and available to the public…" The federal forest covers 42 percent of the land in Tuolumne County and 11 percent of the land in Calaveras County. Click here for article—Union Democrat, April 7, 2020

Gardening During COVID-19
"Start out with a small kitchen garden of mostly herbs, something that is in small containers that you can grow next to your kitchen. Start simply…" In addition to herbs, according to "Central Sierra Vegetable Planting Dates" in April (below 2500 feet elevation) you can plant asparagus, beans, potatoes, radishes, beets, carrots, celery and Swiss chard. If you live above 2500 feet, you can try beets, broccoli and cabbage, and various kinds of lettuce. Click here for article—, April 5, 2020

Land trust paves the way for casino in Plymouth
The Ione Band of Miwok Indians on Monday announced that the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), has acquired more than 220 acres of land into federal trust for the Tribe in Amador County…The Ione Band's claim to ancestral land has been subject to a years-long legal fight between both Amador County and the citizens group No Casino in Plymouth, both which have mounted lawsuits to challenge the Ione Band's status as a Federally recognized Tribe and its ability to claim land in Plymouth. Click here for article—Ledger-Dispatch, April 3, 2020

With $5.5 million recently secured in grants, Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions (CHIPS) is planning for its biggest year yet. The nonprofit formed in 2004 to spur job growth in economically depressed, former logging communities and end traditional rivalries between environmental and timber interests. Its focus originated on forest restoration and fire prevention work in Calaveras and Amador counties, but has since expanded… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, April 2, 2020

Calaveras County Issues Local 'Stay At Home' Order
Noting that the balance differs between wanting people to get exercise outdoors and doing it in a group setting, Kelaita counsels that solitary activities are good, but group activities are prohibited. The order states that "all individuals living in Calaveras stay home, except as needed to maintain essential business and governmental operations." … some of those essential businesses like groceries, pharmacies and other stores have also been found to be packed with people…could include only allowing so many people in a business at a time. Click here for article—, March 27, 2020

Planners approve day-use recreational area for Tulloch
"The parcel is 5.25 acres in size with approximately 1.5 acres being above the high water mark, depending on the reservoir levels"…"I'm not convinced that this is a safe project with respect to access," District 4 Commissioner Kelly Wooster said…"This decision will be final unless appealed to the board of supervisors within 15 days," Deputy County Counsel Julie Moss-Lewis said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 27, 2020

Turner: "Millions" in cannabis tax possible from applicants
The usual crowd for a cannabis study session had to watch remotely Tuesday as the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors received an update on the commercial cultivation program and hashed out policy changes going forward... ranging from a "symbolic" land use redesignation of cannabis cultivation as an "agricultural operation" to introducing new license types in the county…Other topics the board discussed included updating administrative enforcement procedures on illegal marijuana grow sites and background check requirements for on-site business owners or shareholders. They also unanimously supported taxing by canopy rather than by weight, with a rate yet to be decided. All policy changes discussed in the study session will have to be taken up by the Planning Commission…Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 26, 2020

Kelaita: Mark Twain Medical Center doubling number of beds in anticipation of new coronavirus cases
The Calaveras County Public Health Department is working with Mark Twain Medical Center on "surge capacity" to expand patient care. That means doubling the number of beds from 25 to 50 beds and increasing "Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity in anticipation of increased hospital and critical care demand in the next two weeks," Public Health Officer Dr. Dean Kelaita told the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 24, 2020

Newsom and PG&E strike deal to end company's bankruptcy
"We now look to the California Public Utilities Commission to approve the plan through its established regulatory process, so that we can exit Chapter 11, pay wildfire victims fairly and as soon as possible, and participate in the state's wildfire fund," Johnson said… "This is the end of business as usual for PG&E," Newsom said in a written statement. Click here for article—Union Democrat, March 20, 2020

Valley Springs child play area closes; cites high cost of rental space
Setting a rate of $50 per month for unlimited play time, it wasn't a venture she intended to make too large of a profit on. Still, La Rue hoped it'd be enough to keep the doors open… Commercial utility rates…added to the hefty financial burden. On top of snowballing expenses, not enough community members wanted to buy in… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 19, 2020

$4M in fire prevention grants awarded to Calaveras County
…all of which will be used for contiguous fuel reduction work along the Ebbetts Pass Corridor from Murphys to Dorrington. The funding was split between two recipients, one of which was the Calaveras County Resource Conservation District (RCD). The $2.1 million awarded to the RCD will fund the construction of a new fuel break from Murphys to Forest Meadows designed to protect 7,000 homes along the Highway 4 corridor. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 17, 2020

Ironstone closing tasting room, normal operations to continue; other venues to close temporarily
On March 11, Gov. Gavin Newsom made an executive order directing gatherings of 250 people or more to be canceled. On Sunday…He also called for all bars, nightclubs, brew pubs and wineries to shut down and for restaurants to reduce capacity by half… President Donald Trump on Monday called on all Americans to cancel gatherings of more than 10 people… Hawg Dawgs, a gourmet hot dog and steak eatery in Valley Springs is keeping its doors open for now…following the half-capacity rule Newsom put in place, Menard said…adding that Hawg Dawgs may end up switching to take-out only. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 16, 2020

Is the Mother Lode ready for coronavirus? Officials weigh in on local outbreak preparedness
With the confirmation of two COVID-19 cases in Copperopolis and Gov. Gavin Newsom's moratorium on mass gatherings, Mother Lode residents have already felt the impact of a "rapidly evolving" global pandemic that was first detected in China late last year… local hospitals and county services are taking measures to fortify resources against a potential tidal wave of public health demands…Efforts have included setting up triage areas for testing at hospitals, providing remote services for some patients and isolating those who are elderly or have underlying health conditions. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 13, 2020

Valley Springs property available for homeless shelter under Newsom's plan-Stopper: location not viable due to list of reasons
The property in Calaveras County, according to District 5 Supervisor Ben Stopper, is not only "not viable" due to a lack of water and sewer infrastructure necessary to support a shelter, but it's also too far away from various services people experiencing homelessness may rely on. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, March 4, 2020

Agriculture commissioner Wright retires after 7 years at post
I think the benefits of agriculture to help with the prevention of fires and fuel load really can't be overemphasized. If you didn't have those cows in Valley Springs, that would all be just brush, and the county would be more or less a tinderbox, so the contribution that longterm rangeland holders, ranchers make for the safety of the county is sometimes overlooked, but it's really kind of huge. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 27, 2020

Turner, Osborn leaving cannabis department posts
Two of three staff members in the county's Division of Cannabis Control office will be leaving the county by the end of March… Turner and Osborn will be leaving behind a program that, still in its infancy, has been on a tight budget due to conflicts among the county Board of Supervisors… Turner said recruitment is open for the position, which he described as a "politically fraught role – there's no way you can do it and please everyone." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 27, 2020

Cannabis cash still frozen after mid-year budget adjustments
As of Wednesday, the unapproved budget for the commercial cannabis cultivation regulatory program, which consists of registration fees from prospective growers, contained $351,708… Restricted to covering staff and equipment costs of processing applications, those funds can't be spent until four of five county supervisors authorize a budget transfer. District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli and District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills have remained opposed since November… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 26, 2020

Copper Valley promises hotel, homes, more
According to Fletcher, CV Development has shifted its focus from retail to making Copper Valley a launching pad to the foothills, Yosemite National Park and other outdoor pursuits. The long-neglected square and its hotel, called The Gateway Hotel, will be "the heartbeat" of this new community, Fletcher said. "I think if we had not come along, honestly, it would have ended up with a fence around it," Fletcher said of the "ghost town" square, which was built by Castle & Cooke in 2008 for $53 million. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 14, 2020

Reality TV dating show may be coming to Copperopolis
A United Kingdom-based production company has announced plans to shoot a reality dating show at the Copperopolis town square… The owners of Copper Valley, CV Development Partners, believe the show will increase the visibility of Copperopolis and surrounding destinations in the foothills, which will be visited by the participants, Mike Fletcher with CV Development Partners told the Enterprise on Monday. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 14, 2020

Cement kiln dust disposal site in San Andreas slated for closure
Almost 40 years after the Calaveras Cement Company's Kentucky House plant ceased operations in 1982, cleanup efforts continue… The cement kiln dust disposal site slated for closure is one of three on the former 250-acre limestone quarry and cement production facility. The disposal site encompasses roughly eight acres and contains an estimated 430,000 cubic yards of cement kiln dust, ranging from depths of 102 feet to 20 feet of material. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 14, 2020

Motion for injunction denied in cannabis lawsuit
A court motion requesting a preliminary injunction that would have temporarily restricted the county from validating commercial permits or granting approval for commercial cannabis operations was denied on Feb. 14… Declarations from County Administrative Officer Al Alt and Tax Collector Barbara Sullivan claimed, respectively, that the program will create 2,880 jobs for the county, and "millions of dollars" in tax revenues would be lost if implementation were to be halted… Only in the most "egregious" situations should an injunction be granted, and "that just does not exist here," Sanders said. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 14, 2020

Cannabis cultivation applicants facing number of barriers
Since two ordinances for cultivation and background checks took effect in December, the county has received 86 pre-applications…Twenty of those applicants have been issued letters of conditional authorization and submitted $251,220 in registration fees that still cannot be spent without authorization from four of five county supervisors. For some farmers, policy uncertainty and the glut in legal canopy around the state kept them from putting their hat back in the ring. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 14, 2020

Adult-use sales to be legalized in coming months for cannabis dispensaries
Doing business as a cannabis dispensary in Calaveras County isn't good at the moment, but it may be getting a little better soon. Upcoming regulations to legalize adult-use sales could help struggling retailers rebound. Planning staff are currently reviewing proposed changes to the county's cannabis dispensary ordinance… The draft ordinance should be available for public review by the end of the week… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 5, 2020

Rare view offers different perspective of Calaveras County
"Calaveras County Airport is a low-use airport, so it's not very busy, not very crowded," he said. "We have an airport manager that's very supportive of general aviation, and it's nice to be able to fly somewhere from Calaveras County." "It's the best way to see the county," he said. "The aerial view is just phenomenal any day." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, February 5, 2020

Callaway Discusses Calaveras Supes' Priorities This Year
While General Plan priorities were the main topic for Calaveras supes this week, Board Chair Merita Callaway is also sharing highlights of the board's 2020 shortlist… "Now we are starting to do things that have been on the consistent back burner, such as an office for the DA who's been operating out of a trailer that sinks occasionally, the animal shelter, taking down the old jail, [replacing] the HVAC system. Some of it is housekeeping." Click here for article—, January 23, 2020

Angels Camp has long list of economic development projects for 2020
"I think it's going to be a big year of doing environmental review and approval of projects, then next year could be a really busy year building with all the interest we've had in new development," Augustine said… Water and sewer projects are in environmental and design stages… Utica Park may get a nearly 4-acre expansion and some improvements as well… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 22, 2020

Locals seek to locate, protect old hospital cemetery in San Andreas
"We contacted the current landowner and he is well aware that he has a county-owned property within his parcel," Costello said. "As long as this cemetery is undefined, it is a liability for the current owner if he wants to develop his land." Costello said that she hopes the county will take responsibility for the cemetery and contribute to the effort to locate and preserve it. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 22, 2020

Board sets priorities for General Plan implementation measures
Of the 213 measures (not including those in the Housing Element), 90 are one-time tasks, and 27 require an amendment to zoning code. All five supervisors agreed that an overhaul of the county's dated zoning ordinance should be one of the first steps...That would likely take several years and use of an outside consultant… The board also directed staff to start working on mitigation program guidelines for the impacts caused by conversion of land designated as Resource Production (RP). Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 22, 2020

Calaveras County is a small but mighty California wine region you should know
Diversity is a defining characteristic of Calaveras County's small but spirited wine trade… Grapes have been grown and wine made in Calaveras County since the start of the Gold Rush in 1848…Land planted to wine grapes in Calaveras County rose to 1,700 acres in 1901… Today, Calaveras County is home to more than 50 family-owned vineyards ranging from West Point at the county's north-central reaches to Copperopolis along its southwestern edge. Click here for article—The Press/SF Chronicle, January 21, 2020

Hotel Construction Among Copper Valley Plans Rolling Forward
Stirrings that began just over a year ago under new ownership are simmering in and around the town square in Copperopolis… As far as housing goes, two more single-family housing developments are in the works…In the coming months, the owners indicate they will be moving forward with plans for condos and a warehouse district within The Square at Copper Valley footprint for which a broad range of zoning codes was approved under the previous ownership. Click here for article—, January 20, 2020

On Heels Of Lawsuit Filing Supes Prioritize General Plan Study Session
It is no coincidence that the Calaveras supervisors are devoting most of this week's meeting to a study session geared to guiding staff on General Plan Update implementation priorities. As reported here, Calaveras Planning Coalition, a community advocacy group, filed suit in early December against the supes and county. Its petition argues that officials "wrongfully refused to include in the plan feasible measures to mitigate the adverse impacts of new development on both the built and natural environments"... Click here for article—, January 20, 2020

CPC seeks state Attorney General's support in General Plan lawsuit
The notice asks agencies to encourage the Attorney General to get involved in the lawsuit, which alleges that the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors violated environmental laws when it adopted its General Plan update…It's not unheard of for an attorney general to intervene in litigation over general plan updates. Such was the case for the city of Stockton in 2008, after the Sierra Club filed a suit… Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 16, 2020

County has $150K in cannabis fees that cannot be spent
The revenues generated by registration fees cannot be allocated until four of five county supervisors vote to authorize a budget transfer. That has failed on 3-2 votes every time the issue has been before the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors, with dissenting votes from District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli and District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills… Alt said the county will likely not issue 150 permits by the end of the year, given staffing constraints and the number of incomplete applications that have been received. Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 15, 2020

Home prices forecast to increase in 2020, but affordability remains a problem
"I think the biggest issue is the availability of a range of rental housing and homes for first-time buyers," Planning Director Peter Maurer said. "The cost of construction essentially exceeds the market value, so unless you are an equity immigrant or retiring from a high-paying job elsewhere, little housing is being built." Click here for article—Calaveras Enterprise, January 9, 2020

Group Suing Supes Over General Plan Sends State Notices
This week, the Calaveras Planning Coalition (CPC) sent out a notice regarding the county's recent adoption of the updated plan to 18 state and local agencies…Muriel Zeller comments, "I don't think enough people recognize the extent to which our local General Plan impacts our lives each and every day." She states that as the document directly affects the condition of local roads, community safety, water quality and quantity, and many other environmental and aesthetic concerns, it is critical to the quality of life. Click here for article—, January 9,2020

CCWD & State Board Not Enforcing the Proposed 55 Gallon Per Day Usage Limits
…CCWD will be given a target water budget by the State Board that is the aggregate of indoor water use, outdoor water use and leaks. Only if the District is unable or unwilling to meet that budget would the State Board consider taking action against CCWD. Even then, the State Board has committed to working with water agencies across the state to bring them into compliance before issuing fines. Click here for article—, January 7, 2020

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