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Parrotts Ferry apartments dropped

A proposal to build an 80-unit apartment complex at Parrotts Ferry and Union Hill roads in Columbia is dead.

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday reversed a series of approvals that had allowed what was going to be the Stonewood Sonora apartments to move forward.

The reversal was made upon request from the apartment complex’s developers Golden State Holdings and RC Equities.

The developers have also withdrawn their application to build the six residential buildings, a clubhouse, pool, and covered and uncovered parking that were all part of the project, County Counsel Sarah Carrillo said.

The developers abandoned the project as the result of a lawsuit filed in June by Tuolumne County Citizens for Responsible Growth, a group claiming that the county skirted state environmental laws when it allowed the complex to move forward without more thorough studies of potential traffic, wildlife and groundwater impacts.

A full environmental-impact report would identify all of the potential impacts on the environment and account for how the developer could lessen or avoid those impacts.

Such reports, however, are often arduous and expensive.

The Board of Supervisors in May approved a special use and design review permit for the apartment complex without a full environmental report, in what proved to be a controversial decision.

In a letter to the county, RC Equities managing member Gary Simning said fighting the lawsuit in court would be a “waste of time and money.”

Citizens for Responsible Growth — which has also fought Wal-Mart’s proposed expansion and the Mountain Springs housing development — asked the Tuolumne County Superior Court to halt the project until the county or developers completed a full environmental review, which the group contended is required by state law.

The project’s backers said it would fill a need for quality rental units and boost the local economy.

The Tuolumne County Planning Commission rejected the proposal, and the developers appealed that decision to the county Board of Supervisors, which overturned the commission’s decision.

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