Published: August 8,
By ERIN MAYES
After 13 years of meetings, surveys, delays and
frustrations, Copperopolis finally has a community plan.
The 54-page plan is a guide to the town's growth
and details what direction Copperopolis should go in terms of commercial and
residential development, transportation and more.
"It's taken what most people might think as far too
long to bring this thing forward, but there have been reasons for that," said
Russ Thomas, Copperopolis Community Plan Update Committee chairman. "The fact
that we hung in there and have a plan that's essentially complete is probably
the most remarkable thing."
The county is required to adopt comprehensive,
long-term plans for communities' development so that future planning decisions
may be based on that plan.
Thomas said most residents, when surveyed, said
they moved to Copperopolis for a slower, more rural way of life.
But the current county General Plan — an
overarching land-planning document taking in all of Calaveras County — envisions
Copperopolis being able to accommodate a population of 100,000, Thomas said.
The new community plan, if followed, would ensure
Copperopolis' 39 square-miles don't hold more than about 35,000 people, he said.
The committee said it expects more than 11,000
homes to be built in Copperopolis by 2023. Copperopolis has about 1,500 homes
now, according to 2000 U.S. Census data.
The community plan specifies where commercial
development should take place: in historic Copperopolis, at the intersection of
Little John Road and Reeds Turnpike and the intersection of Copper Cove Drive
and O'Byrnes Ferry Road.
The plan's section on residential use states new
homes should minimally disturb the environment and match the rural and historic
nature of the community.
It also says property owners and developers should
be encouraged by county officials to add to the county's stock of low- and
The plan's chapter on open space and natural
resources asks that new developments provide their own water systems, to ensure
an adequate water supply.
Smaller, intensive agricultural uses are to be
encouraged, as are foot and bike paths. And, to preserve "enjoyment of the
nighttime visual environment," the plan asks that lighting be limited to the
least amount necessary.
The plan's chapter on economic growth asks that
job-generating land uses and tourism-oriented industries be encouraged.
Many other elements are included in the plan, which
can be viewed at
Thomas said the next step is for the county
planning department to schedule town hall meetings, likely during September, and
then complete an environmental impact report. Then, the Copperopolis Community
Plan will be considered by the county Planning Commission and Board of
He said the project wouldn't have been possible
without a $40,000 grant the committee received from the Great Valley Center in
Modesto, which supports groups that promote the economic, social and
environmental well-being of the Central Valley.
The group used the money to hire land and community
planners to help them put the plan together and survey the community.
Thomas also gave kudos to interim county Planning
Director Bob Sellman and Planner Julie Russell, who also helped get the group
"whipped into shape."
Contact Erin Mayes at firstname.lastname@example.org or