The Union Democrat

Valley Vista project OK’D

- By GUY MCCARTHY The Union Democrat

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisor­s voted 4-1 on Tuesday to approve revised plans for a previously approved residentia­l subdivisio­n on 92.7 acres in Jamestown.

Builders have been pursuing the Valley Vista Subdivisio­n Project since at least 2010. The project site is on the north side of Golf Links Road, east of Jamestown Road and west of Mckibbin Drive in Jamestown, where Sonora Golf Course used to be.

Billed as factory-built affordable housing, the homes at Valley Vista are planned on lots from 5,662 to 21,220 square feet, with buyers able to choose from various models and floor plans.

County Supervisor Ryan Campbell, who serves as board chairman this year, said he voted against the project because he objected to last-minute changes to the plans.

“It’s no secret we are in need of affordable housing in Tuolumne County, and apart from some traffic concerns, I’m not opposed to this project,” he said on Wednesday. “I voted no because I did not agree with the 11th-hour changes that were proposed. It’s a project that’s been in the works for years. I would have preferred those changes be vetted through the planning commission first.”

Campbell had signaled support for a motion to approve the project and county staff recommenda­tions that was made by County Supervisor Anaiah Kirk before withdrawin­g his support for a substitute motion put forward by County Supervisor Jaron Brandon that included additional changes.

Among the additional changes requested by Brandon was a requiremen­t for fencing intended to protect a historic rock wall at the site during constructi­on.

Some of the revisions to the overall plan developed prior to the meeting and approved by the board on Tuesday included a reduction in the number of single-family residentia­l lots from 213 to 187; a reduction in single-family lots for condominiu­ms duplexes from 50 to 32; and a reduction in the number of planned apartments from four to two.

Quincy Yaley, the county’s Community Developmen­t director told the board that the previous plan was approved in 2010. The overall net reduction in units from that to the one approved by the board on Tuesday is from 305 to 259, or 46 fewer units.

Another change from the 2010 version of the project to its current iteration is that the project was origi

nally supposed to get water from Tuolumne Utilities District and connect to Jamestown Sanitary District for sewer services.

The current version of the project has TUD providing both water and sewer services.

Valley Vista developers are also suing both the JSD and its contracted consultant, Black Water Consulting Engineers, over claims of false and overstated available capacity for new residentia­l hookups before they planned constructi­on.

In addition, the previous version of the project required a stoplight to be installed to cope with increased traffic. Traffic will be analyzed as the project is built out under the current plan approved Tuesday to determine whether a stoplight will be needed.

Caltrans will determine whether a stoplight is necessary, Yaley said.

Other changes to the project also include a modificati­on for oak woodland mitigation on about 25 acres of open-space zoning. The 2010 plan was to mitigate off-site, but now the developers are required to mitigate on-site and make a payment to a county oak woodland mitigation fund.

The original project was also for people ages 55 years and older, but

it will now not have age restrictio­ns.

Supervisor­s Jaron Brandon, David Goldemberg, Anaiah Kirk, and Kathleen Haff all voted yes on the project.

Kirk and Brandon both acknowledg­ed at the start of the public hearing on Tuesday that they received campaign contributi­ons from Valley Vista Property Investment­s, LP, of Sonora. Kirk acknowledg­ed he had previously received $500 from the developmen­t group.

Brandon did not specify how

much he received from Valley Vista Property Investment­s, LP, but campaign finance records archived by The Union Democrat showed he received a total of $4,700 from limited partnershi­p between July 2019 and October 2020 before defeating incumbent Karl Rodefer in the November 2020 election.

“As I said yesterday in the meeting, it had nothing to do with my decision,” Brandon said Wednesday of the campaign contributi­ons he received. “I was a pro-housing candidate and I’m a pro-housing supervisor. I checked it off with county counsel, to ensure there was no conflict beforehand.”

Valley Vista Property Investment­s, LP, also contribute­d $500 in 2018 to Randy Hanvelt, the former county supervisor for District 2 who was defeated by Campbell in the November election that year.

According to a final agenda report about the Valley Vista project put together for the hearing on Tuesday, the project plan includes a 1.2-acre lot with eight single-family condominiu­ms or duplex units; two lots totaling 2.9 acres to be developed with 15,000 square feet of office, commercial and community center space; a 2.7-acre lot with one- or two-story buildings containing at least 3,500 square feet of community center space and one apartment; and a 0.36-acre lot with one-story or two-story building containing up to 11,500 square feet of office and commercial space; a 4.02-acre lot with 32 single-family residentia­l lots for condominiu­ms or duplexes; a 0.8-acre lot for storage and parking of recreation­al vehicles, boats, campers, trailers and other vehicles, an associated office, and an apartment; and a 0.25-acre lot for a neighborho­od park.

 ?? File photo
/ Union Democrat ?? Thetuolumn­e County Board of Supervisor­s voted 4-1Tuesday to allow developers of the Valley Vista project on Golf Links Road in Jamestown to move ahead.
File photo / Union Democrat Thetuolumn­e County Board of Supervisor­s voted 4-1Tuesday to allow developers of the Valley Vista project on Golf Links Road in Jamestown to move ahead.

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