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Coalition takes on planning in county

Sonora Union Democrat

Published: May 24, 2006





By CHRIS NICHOLS



Several Calaveras County citizens groups have joined together to urge county leaders to include slow-growth policies as they update the county's general plan.

The general plan is a comprehensive guide to the county's growth. It hasn't been fully updated in two decades.

The newly formed group — the Calaveras Planning Coalition — will provide a forum for citizens to discuss land use ideas and lobby county leaders, coalition organizers said.

"This organization unites a full spectrum of concerned groups throughout Calaveras County with a central focus on intelligent planning for our county," said Don Wells, a member of the Lake Tulloch Alliance, one of the several groups joining the coalition.

Other groups include Citizens for San Andreas, MyValleySprings.com and the D2 Planning Group, a group based in the county's northeastern Supervisorial District 2 communities, including West Point and Glencoe.

Two environmental groups — the Twain Harte-based Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center and the Foothill Conservancy, based in Calaveras and Amador counties — will also participate in the coalition.

All the groups have advocated slow-growth policies, and conservation of the county's open spaces and rural character.

Mike Dell'Orto, project manager for the proposed Ponte Ranch project, a 1,000-home Valley Springs development, said he didn't mind the citizens' groups uniting.

"It's always good for citizens groups to get together," Dell'Orto said this morning. He declined to say whether such activity would slow development in the county.

Group members have already worked together, coordinating presentations to county supervisors about the general plan.

The plan, akin to a county constitution, has guidelines on such topics as public safety, land issues, housing and traffic.

Supervisors recently agreed to hire private consultants to outline how to approach the general plan update, a task county leaders say could take several years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For more information about the coalition, contact Ward La Valley at 754-3317 or e-mail CAP@Goldrush.com

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