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Oak Canyon plans before commission


Following years of public hearings, studies and plan changes, a proposed 3,251-acre housing development in Copperopolis is ready for its most important review.

The Calaveras County Planning Commission is scheduled to vote tomorrow on whether to approve the environmental impact report, development agreement, specific plan and zoning code for Oak Canyon Ranch.

But judging from the size of the project's documents and past, lengthy public debates, Commissioner Wes Hodgson said tomorrow's vote may be tabled for at least two weeks.

"I don't think there'll be any action on it (tomorrow)," he said. "I think we'll have a big discussion and then dig into it as much as we can."

Should commissioners approve the documents, Oak Canyon developers can take their plans to the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors next month for final approval.

"We're excited and looking forward to getting it started," project co-developer Maury Froman said early today.

Developers would still have to fine-tune their maps and seek building permits before construction of the project's proposed 2,275 houses could start.

Also in the Oak Canyon plans are two golf courses and a resort area with shops, restaurants and space for 800 visitors — perhaps hotel rooms and time-shares. There will also be 400 full-time residential units, such as condominiums and apartments.

The project would be south of Highway 4 on both sides of Little John Road, north of Copper Cove Drive.

Most planning commissioners reached yesterday said they have concerns about Oak Canyon Ranch, but wanted to wait until tomorrow's meeting before commenting.

Hodgson was the exception.

He said he likely won't approve the development unless there's some guarantee it won't be fragmented or changed.

"I'm not against it, attitude wise," Hodgson said. "I think it could be a fine program."

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