Greenley Road lot eyed for new homes

By Alex MacLean / The Union Democrat

Tuolumne County will ask the City of Sonora to rezone a portion of land off Greenley Road for a possible housing development at the site.

The county has applied for rezoning 16 acres of a 28.4-acre parcel it owns behind the main branch of the Tuolumne County Library at 480 Greenley Road, that it is selling to a private landowner.

The Sonora Planning Commission is expected to consider the county's rezoningapplication after a public hearing Tuesday evening. It will then have to pass the City Council before the land can be rezoned.

According to meeting documents, the potential buyer has indicated a preference for developing senior housing on the site in a mix of both attached and detached units.

After close of escrow, the landowner will submit applications to the city in order to develop the land, the documents stated.

Meeting documents also stated the project site is subject to a city ordinance for hillside preservation that would limit the overall density of the development from anywhere between about 96 dwelling units to about 150.

"It is hopeful that we're starting to see applications come in for projects," said Rachelle Kellogg, the city's community development director. "The economy seems to be turning a little, and that's good news for the city and county as a whole."

The property in question is bordered to the north by the Sunrise Hills Commercial plaza, to the south by Sonora Elementary School, to the east by the library and to the west by the Sunrise Hills subdivision.

In the application, the county asks that the land be rezoned for a multi-family residential use. The action also requires amending parcel's land use designation in the Sonora General Plan 2020 from "public" to "high density residential."

"Every project depends on where it's situated, and rezoning this property to a multi-family residential use is compatible with that area on Greenley Road," Kellogg said.

Planning consultant Amy Augustine said the city is "far away from reviewing development plans" and the public will have chances to provide input during the process.

"Everyone will be able to see the plans and comment on them," she said.

The potential buyer, Eric Lemke, said he didn't want to confirm or deny whether he was purchasing the property or comment on any future plans for the site.

The county has been looking to sell the property for more than a year now.

Documents from an April 2011 county Board of Supervisors meeting stated that the county wanted to sell the land behind the library along with several other parcels to raise money for infrastructure improvements at its proposed Law and Justice Center site.

The Sonora Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and vote on the county's application at it's meeting Tuesday that starts at 5:30 p.m. located in City Hall at 94 N. Washington St.

The Union Democrat
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