Calaveras Enterprise

Supervisors nix general plan change

A general plan amendment to sweep a 40-acre minimum-parcel-size restriction across 25 square miles, including West Point, Glencoe and Rail Road Flat, was denied by Calaveras County supervisors Monday in a 5-0 vote.

About 100 people showed up at the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors meeting to speak out on the issue.

Supervisor Steve Wilensky, District 2, outlined five steps to generate a community plan for the area in the near future.

Zoning for parcels in the residential areas in District 2 will follow the existing maps in the current Calaveras County General Plan until a community plan is made.

Wilensky was pushing for the 40-acre minimum as an interim measure in order to bring legal conformity of an amendment that was passed by a previous board in 1997. Planning staff members recommended the approval of 40-acre minimums as a temporary measure until a community plan could be drafted for the district.

After nearly two hours in an emergency closed session, the other four supervisors said they would not support the adoption of the land-use restriction, but would support resources going into a community plan for the area, which would specify the zoning for the district.

While the board denied the amendment, it approved Wilensky’s plan to draft the District 2 community plan, alongside those of Copperopolis and Valley Springs, and to direct planning staff that subdivision of parcels would follow the current general plan.

According to Community Development Agency Director Stephanie Moreno, an amendment was passed in 1997 that required the county to redraw the residential center, which is a buffer zone between dense community centers and rural space, to match other towns in the county. The 25-square-mile Blue Mountain Residential Center in District 2 was almost three times larger than in Sheep Ranch.

Due to an oversight in the county, the 1997 redrawing was never done. Planning staff recommended a 40-acre minimum in order to legally comply with the amendment, which stated land-use would comply with the Conservation and Open Space Element of the general plan until the zones were redrawn.

Former planning deputy director Mary Pitto said during the meeting that current open space maps, such as for timber and habitat conservation, allowed for 20-acre minimums and that she believed a 40-acre restriction was an incorrect interpretation.

Action from the board followed this plan by directing staff to adhere to existing maps whenever a project to subdivide a parcel is brought to the county. The board also directed staff to redraw the residential center in four separate sections to reflect the towns of West Point, Glencoe, Rail Road Flat and Wilseyville.

According to Pitto and Planning Director Robert Sellman, the action by the board was a good compromise. Pitto said the residents in District 2 would be able to work together and get a community plan much faster than if the 40-acre minimum amendment was passed.

Residents showed a majority of support for the amendment under the condition that they would receive a community plan. Many of the 100 people in attendance waited for more than eight hours for the board to take action.

Contact Maveric Vu at

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