Housing project's EIR being analyzed

April 27, 2003 11:00 pm

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

The environmental impact report for a huge housing, commercial and golf course project proposed in Copperopolis is finished, and developers are still leafing through it.

"It's big," said Maury Froman, co-developer of the Oak Canyon Ranch project.

Indeed, the report is large — the summary itself spans 133 pages — but then again, so is Oak Canyon Ranch.

Plans for the 3,251-acre site south of Highway 4 around Little John Road call for 2,275 houses, two golf courses, shops, restaurants and other facilities, and possibly a convention center or day spa. There's also a planned resort area that could have 400 homes and 800 units for tourist accommodations, such as hotel rooms and time shares.

The project's EIR describes the project's impact on the environment, culture, services and infrastructure of surrounding areas.

And the EIR addresses "mitigation measures" for each potential problem — in other words, ways the developers could ease impacts of the project.

"We've just seen the documents along with everyone else," Froman said Friday. "While everyone else is analyzing it, we're doing the same thing."

On Mondays, The Union Democrat will look at issues brought up by the EIR and the proposed mitigating measures.

People and public agencies have 45 days to review and comment on the EIR. Comments can be written and mailed to the Calaveras County Planning Department at the government center, 891 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas, CA 95249, or made verbally at the May 15 Planning Commission meeting at the Calaveras County Government Center.

John Buckley, executive director of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center in Twain Harte, opposes project.

"This supplemental EIR makes it clearer than ever that this proposed new city ... would significantly and permanently harm many resources and values that are important to Calaveras County residents," Buckley said.