Angels panel to alter element



Unless Angels Camp planners more clearly address special-needs housing, its new General Plan Housing Element could be rejected by the state.

Special needs housing ranges from battered women's homes, to homeless shelters to accommodations for the mentally ill.

If the requested information is not forthcoming, the California Housing and Community Department has warned, the city's Housing Element won't be approved.

Angels Camp's Housing Element, sent to the state in August for review, was scheduled to be adopted by the end of the year.

Now, state planners say, changes must be made.

"Special housing needs have always been somewhat of a controversial issue in small jurisdictions,"said Amy Augustine, Angels Camp's general plan consultant.

Augustine informed General Plan Committee members of the necessary revisions yesterday afternoon. They decided that special-needs housing would be allowed on properties zoned multi-family residential, as long as a use permit is also secured.

The Housing Element first sent to the state said that if a homeless shelter or other such use were proposed in Angels Camp, the city would help find a location and might waive or reduce application fees.

But HCD planners said that wasn't specific enough. They want to see exactly where such housing would go, Augustine said.

City officials yesterday decided that permits for special needs housing would be issued if a project were compatible with the neighborhood for which it is proposed.

The city would ask adjoining property owners for input. Typically, environmental reviews would be conducted.

The revised Housing Element will be sent back to the state with a request for a response by the committee's next meeting, Jan. 6.

Augustine said she's not sure if the committee's changes will be specific enough to satisfy HCD.

If HCD approves the changes, the Housing Element will go to Angels Camp planning commissioners on Jan. 8 and then to City Council members on Jan. 20 for final approval.

Augustine said her goal is that the element be OK'd by the end of January, a month after its original deadline.

The Union Democrat
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