Big-box ordinance stalled in planning

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By ERIN MAYES

A proposed Tuolumne County ordinance that would limit "big-box" stores to 60,000 square feet could stop Home Depot's bid to build a 90,000-square-foot outlet in East Sonora.

As now written, the draft ordinance would not affect Home Depot, because its application to build at Mono Way near Hammond Ford has already been filed.

But Bev Shane, Tuolumne County Community Development director, said the board of supervisors could adopt the new rules and then impose them on the proposed home-improvement center which also includes a 25,000-square-foot garden center and 7,000 square feet of outdoor sales.

"In the past, the board has generally not applied new rules to projects in the pipeline," Shane said.

But if the board were to deviate from this traditional stance, as is its right, Home Depot could be rejected as too large.

For the time being, however, the proposed big-box ordinance can't seem to escape the clutches of the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors Planning Committee.

The committee's members continued yesterday to haggle over definitions and requirements in the ordinance, just as they have every month since July.

Members said yesterday they're anxious to approve the ordinance's language and move it to the county's planning commission for review.

"We've got a Home Depot that's in a holding pattern out there and we've got to get this thing moving," said member Sharon Marovich, who sits on the county's Historic Preservation Board. But planning committee members were able to make a few decisions yesterday, including an amendment requiring developers to make sure landscaping fits in with the natural topography.

Also, developers will have to follow the county's hillside guidelines, including rules on building parameters and color, as well as landscaping.

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The Union Democrat
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