Board has full plate of agenda items

By Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat June 03, 2013 11:30 am

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

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors will hold multiple public hearings on zoning and land-use issues Tuesday.

The public will have an opportunity to sound off on proposals to set the rules for mobile and “cottage food” operations, to ease a requirement for a solar power farm near Sierra Conservation Center and to lower a fee charged to developers called a Growth in Government Expenditures and Revenue (GIGER) fee. All three items are scheduled for the board’s afternoon session, which begins at 1:30 p.m.

According to meeting documents, the county’s food rules call for cottage food operations  — small, home-based businesses — outside of the city of Sonora to be allowed without a special zoning permit in any residential property.

The ordinance would define a “mobile food vendor” as a vehicle like a van, truck, trailer or pushcart from which food or beverages are sold. This would not include catering companies or stationary outdoor food vendors, like food trucks that stay in the same location.

Under the rules, mobile vendors could operate in all zoning districts except open space as long as they comply with state retail food laws, secure permits from the health department and stay at one location no longer than two hours. That rule would be different in the event of a flea market, fair or festival, where the mobile food vendor could stay for the entire event.

For the solar project, proponents of Ecoplexus are asking the county to waive a condition for building the plant requiring them to get approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency on their study for the threatened California tiger salamander. Representatives with Ecoplexus have said Fish and Wildlife officials have recently imposed stricter requirements than expected on the major solar power project to protect the salamander species.

The county is also looking to change the GIGER fee program, which is in place to collect fees that reportedly offset impacts that new growth has on local services.

Also scheduled for Tuesday’s meeting:

• A presentation and discussion on the county’s 2013-14 budget, which county officials are assembling.

• A presentation and possible vote to extend or amend the Area 12 Agency on Aging Joint Powers Agreement.

• A proposal to forge a cooperative agreement between the county and Mi-Wuk/Sugar Pine Fire Department to run fire services in the small fire district.

• A vote to move on re-establishing a special water policy committee for Tuolumne County, and to seek out a special water attorney to help re-establish a county-level water agency.

• A proposal to extend a contract with Manteca Ambulance Service for local emergency medical services.

• A discussion on how to proceed with managing the solid waste transfer station in Groveland.