Housing limits up for debate

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Calaveras County landowners who want to build more than two houses on their properties will have to jump through more hoops if county supervisors approve a key zoning-code change Monday.

Under the current code, landowners can build up to parcel density limits set forth by the county general plan. For example, someone who owns 100 acres of land zoned "general agriculture" with adequate road access could build 20 houses, because the general plan allows one house per 5 acres on general agriculture land.

Supervisors could change it so that all landowners could only build two houses after getting initial building permits.

With the change, landowners could still build up to their density limits, but would need additional tract maps, permits and environmental reviews for anything beyond one primary residence and one accessory dwelling.

"The benefit is that we won't have unfettered, uncontrolled development without the impact being addressed," county Planner Diana Hurlbert said.

Supervisors directed county planners on Jan. 28, 2002, to begin work on the proposed zoning code change.

Valeska Gallagher, executive officer of the Calaveras County Association of Realtors, said her association supports the change because it won't reduce the number of houses people can build.

"We support the clarification of the current zoning in order to make them understandable, as long as they are kept in the spirit of the zoning regulations," Gallagher said.

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