Traffic on horizon with Oak Canyon

May 05, 2003 12:00 am

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Few cars are on the road in Copperopolis.

Unless slowed by the occasional big rig, people can usually drive uninhibited through town, often pulling up to stop signs without another vehicle in sight.

In coming years, though, that could change.

The environmental impact report for Oak Canyon Ranch — a large-scale housing project planned for Copperopolis — says the project would have a significant impact on traffic in the area.

Oak Canyon Ranch has plans for 2,275 houses and could bring almost 7,000 new residents to Copperopolis. Plans also call for two golf courses and a resort area with restaurants and shops, along with an additional 400 lodging units for permanent residents and 800 tourist accommodation units, such as motel rooms and time-shares.

And with all that development will come droves of vehicles.

The public has until June 6 to review and comment on the EIR. There will be a public hearing about the EIR at the Calaveras County Planning Commission meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday.

After the public comment period, a county-hired consultant will revise the EIR, which would then be certified by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

County Public Works Director Bob Kawasaki said he is carefully looking over the traffic segment of the EIR.

"I think there are a fair amount of questions," Kawasaki said. "But it is a pretty good document."

According to the EIR, the traffic on some Copperopolis roads could increase significantly in the next 20 years.

The EIR consultant graded various sections of Copperopolis roads using "A" through "F," with "A" being the best mark. The more congested a road is, the worse its letter grade.

Kawasaki said an "A" or "B" signifies free-flowing traffic and a "C" — the minimum standard allowed by the county Public Works Department for new construction — stands for free-flowing traffic at slower speeds.

A "D" means some stop-and-go traffic, and "E" and "F" roads are consistently stop-and-go.