Deadline to comment on draft plan is next Friday

By the time property owners receive their postcards notifying them that the Calaveras County General Plan is being updated, they will have only a week, maybe less, to comment on the draft version of the plan.

Calaveras County Planning Director Peter Maurer, speaking Wednesday at a meeting of the Calaveras County Water District board of directors, said he expected to mail the postcards Thursday.

“I would have liked to have that out earlier,” Maurer said.

A 90-day comment period on the draft general plan expires on Friday, March 20. Calaveras County officials have been trying to update the General Plan for almost a decade, and Maurer is under pressure to get it done as soon as possible. Deficiencies in the existing plan make the county and developers vulnerable to lawsuits if projects are approved based on the existing plan.

The General Plan is the county’s guide to where development can happen, and seeks to ensure that roads, sewers, water systems and other infrastructure are adequate to meet residents’ needs.

Many county leaders have said they want the plan updated so that the county will be prepared if and when the real estate development economy rebounds. At the same time, property rights advocates have been pushing for county officials to notify owners if any of

the changes in land-use designations in the draft plan

might affect the values of their properties.

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors reviewed options for notifying property owners and concluded that attempts to customize letters to thousands of property owners were too cumbersome and time consuming. The board in February ordered Maurer to instead send a postcard to every property owner alerting them to the fact that after nine years of effort, there is now a draft general plan available for comment.

Calaveras County Water District Director Jeff Davidson told Maurer that property owners are likely to be displeased to receive the notice so close to the comment deadline.

“It would seem you would need to extend the comment period for the people you are sending those cards out to,” Davidson said.

For information on the General Plan update, go to: planning.calaverasgov.us/Planning.aspx

​​Contact Dana M. Nichols at dana@calaverasenterprise.com or call 498-2052.

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