Columbia apartments on docket

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m. Tuesday, 2 S. Green St., Sonora.

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will discuss the fate of a large, controversial Columbia apartment complex.

The Stonewood Sonora apartments' developers, RC Equities and Golden State Holdings, is appealing the Columbia Area Planning Commission's decision last month to reject a request for a special use and design review permit for the 80-unit project slated for five acres at Parrotts Ferry and Union Hill roads.

The Columbia commission also recommended against the project should it come before the board.

The board is scheduled to consider the appeal at 1:30 p.m.

Opponents to the complex have raised various concerns to the commission and to the county Community Resources Agency. They include concerns about increased traffic in the area, environmental impacts, crime, effects on the local water table and stresses on the road system.

Some critics also have said the location is an historic mining site and should be preserved and have raised concerns about possible effects from on-site rock blasting.

The complex would consist of six housing buildings, a clubhouse, pool, covered and uncovered parking. The proposal calls for a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments, and plans also indicate the property could house some retail businesses.

RC Equities is also seeking discounted water and sewer connection fees from the Tuolumne Utilities District, though the request has not yet reached the district's Board of Directors. Under the proposed discount, the developer would pay $50,000 each for one sewer and one water connection for the complex instead of the estimated $491,994 for water and $296,460 for sewer.

The developer is looking for the discount to ease project costs, and district's finance committee considered the request in March.

TUD officials have said a counter offer would likely set the fees higher than the developer's request.

Also on Tuesday's agenda:

• A proposal to increase and add numerous fees related to probation services. The county Probation Department is looking at increasing fees for administration costs and services related to probation violation, community service and supervision, as well as adding new fees charged to parolees for programs like electronic monitoring, juvenile work programs and transfers.

According to meeting documents, the department has been forced into a recent overhaul as a state directive shifted supervision of offenders deemed low-risk from the state to local municipalities.

• Further discussion and possible approval of correspondence for the Merced River Plan, the National Park Service's plan for overhauling Yosemite Valley and some upcountry operations.

• A presentation on the Central Sierra Child Support Joint Powers Agreement. The organization provides child support services in Alpine, Amador, Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

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The Union Democrat
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