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County questions Oak Canyon credits

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

In donating land, developers of a proposed Copperopolis housing project expected to get credit for a portion of their building fees.

Calaveras County officials said they never made such an agreement.

Developers of Oak Canyon Ranch — designed to span 3,251-acres south of Highway 4 — donated 40 acres of land to the county for the recent extension of Little John Road. The value of the land was to be determined through an appraisal, which has not been done.

In return, said Maury Froman, one of the developers, the county agreed two years ago to subtract the land's value from Copperopolis Benefit Basin fees.

The basin fees — $1,271 per new house — were approved 3-2 by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Monday.

Fee revenue will pay for future road construction and improvements to Reed's Turnpike, Copper Cove Drive and O'Byrnes Ferry Road.

"We have an agreement with the county that we get credits, and we're going to expect to receive those credits against our fees," Froman said Wednesday.

Plans for Oak Canyon Ranch call for 2,275 houses and 1,200 other lodgings — such as hotel rooms, apartments and condominiums. The project also has room for a number of commercial buildings.

Without credits from the county, Oak Canyon Ranch might have to pay up to $2.9 million in Benefit Basin fees, if the $1,271 fee supervisors approved Monday stands. People who build their own homes in the development will have to pay the fees themselves.

Oak Canyon will also pay fees for each of its 1,200 other lodgings, and fees based on the square footage of commercial buildings. Those fees, eligible for credits, could also be part of agreements with the county.

"We're still going to be one of the largest — if not the largest — contributor to the basin. We're still going to be paying the fees," Froman said.


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