Copper project awaits last OK

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

An ambitious housing and commercial development in Copperopolis is one step away from breaking ground.

Yesterday, the Calaveras County Planning Commission voted 4-1 to approve the environmental impact report, zoning code, development agreement and specific plan for Oak Canyon Ranch.

The 3,251-acre project would have 2,275 houses, two golf courses and a resort area with shops, restaurants and 800 tourist-accommodation units, such as hotel rooms and time-shares. Also in the resort would be 400 full-time residential units condominiums and apartments.

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

Now that Oak Canyon developers have the commission's blessing, they must get the same nod for their project from the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors.

Developers are scheduled to ask supervisors for that final OK Dec. 15.

The board's approval would guarantee the developers can begin construction.

"We're happy, but again, this is just one step in the process," Oak Canyon Ranch co-developer Maury Froman said. "We look forward to being here on the 15th and hopefully being approved."

A couple people in yesterday's audience said commissioners did not listen to or read all the information on the huge project.

"The documents are flawed because they don't even attempt to spell out exactly where wastewater will go, or what development of the resort will look like, or where all the water is going to come from for full build-out," said John Buckley, executive director of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center.

"It's sad to see how much information is missing, but most commissioners couldn't care less."

Only Commissioner Suzanne Kuehl voted against Oak Canyon Ranch.

She said the project's planning documents aren't specific enough like how big and how many parcels there will be, where they will be and how they will get water.

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