Housing plan could go to state

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

A plan to bring more affordable housing into Calaveras County could move closer to reality Monday.

Calaveras County supervisors are scheduled to vote on a draft version of the county's updated housing element. If supervisors endorse the plan, it will move on to the state for further review before coming back to the board for a final OK.

The housing element is part of the county's general plan. It lists policies and guidelines to help bring more affordable housing for low-income residents.

The Calaveras County Planning Commission two weeks ago recommended approval of the housing element and sent it along to supervisors.

However, some planning commissioners said they only voted for the plan because state law requires counties to have a certified housing element. Those commissioners said the market would eventually provide affordable housing, despite escalating prices of new homes and property.

A handful of audience members at that meeting disagreed with commissioners, saying the update is necessary.

The draft housing element calls for measures such as waiving fees for renovation of dilapidated buildings and hiring a new county staff member to pursue housing grants.

One measure calls for large projects, such as Saddle Creek in Copperopolis, to address the housing needs of people who work seasonally at such developments.

Another section states that any new development of more than 10 houses should meet affordable-housing needs, either by providing it on-site or contributing financially to low- or moderate-income housing elsewhere.

If the housing element is written into the general plan, it would not need to be upgraded again until 2007.

Contact Scott Pesznecker at spesznecker@uniondemocrat.com .

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