Angels Camp City Council is considering a plan to rezone 30 parcels of land for business attraction and expansion, prompting some residents to wonder whether the change would be beneficial.
“I hope you listen to people before you change zoning and allow businesses we don’t need,” Patti Spence, a co-owner of Spence Ranch Feed & Supply, on Highway 49 less than a mile north of the Angels Camp city limit, said at a Tuesday council meeting.
Mike Fullaway, owner of Calaveras Lumber and Sonora Lumber, said he is concerned about traffic and clear communication about the rezoning plan from city staff. Fullaway also sent a letter in advance of the meeting to ask the city attorney, Doug White, to review the ordinance rezoning 30 parcels to determine whether it’s subject to provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act.
Amy Augustine, contract planner for Angels Camp, said rezoning was first included in a general plan approved in February 2009. Hundreds of parcels have been and still are being rezoned for consistency with the general plan.
The 30 parcels being considered now are among those hundreds that have been and will be rezoned for consistency with the general plan.
Rezoning the 30 parcels came before the Angels Camp planning commission and the elected council in 2015, Augustine said. About three landowners objected to the rezoning based on existing and future land use plans, and two landowners withdrew their parcels from the proposed rezoning.
Now at least three business owners, including Spence and Fullaway, have publicly shared their perspective of the plan. The council pulled the rezoning plan Tuesday night without voting on it.
The other business owners to sound off on the rezoning plan are Ronald and Donna Broglio, who own two of the 30 parcels being considered for rezoning.
“While we have in the past opposed any changes, both parcels are now in escrow and the new buyer indicates that they are not opposed to BAE zoning,” the Broglios said in a letter to the Angels Camp council submitted before Tuesday night’s meeting. “Therefore, we are not opposed to your changing our zoning.”
The Broglios also said they hope the Angels Camp planning commission and council “will not be tricked by two business owners who do not want competition.” The Broglios said in their letter that one business owner who said he was concerned about traffic was not fooling anyone, and the other business owner is not inside city limits.
Donna Broglio said Friday her family goes back in the Angels Camp area to the Gold Rush, and her husband is owner and publisher of SierraSentinel.com, which she described as the leading website for politics in Calaveras County.
The business the Broglios own at 389 N. Main St. is called ALCAL Calaveras Glass. The other parcel the Broglios own that is being considered by Angels Camp for rezoning is 407 N. Main St.
“We’ve owned this property since 2001,” Donna Broglio said in her office at 389 N. Main St. “About 10 years ago the city came and told us they wanted to change the zoning from suburban commercial to BAE and we filed a complaint at the time, because we thought it was downzoning. You can’t do as much with a BAE parcel as suburban commercial.”
Now the Broglios are in escrow to sell their two parcels to Sonora-based California Gold Development Corporation, which handles properties for new Tractor Supply Company stores. Augustine said Tractor Supply Company, also known as TSC, has a pending application for a site plan review currently undergoing environmental review by the Angels Camp planning department on two parcels included in the proposed rezoning areas.
“Our opinion is you can’t fight competition,” Donna Broglio said. “You can’t fight new businesses.”
Broglio talked to her Realtor and referred questions to Scot Patterson with California Gold Development Corporation in Sonora. Patterson could not be reached for comment.
On Thursday, Fullaway emphasized there is inconsistency in the general plan, what’s permitted, and “the zoning they’re trying to change it to.”
Fullaway added, “My biggest issue is the city has the opportunity to look to Sonora and Jackson on whether we’re doing our best to develop businesses in the best way to serve the community. I think the city general plan doesn’t take traffic flow into consideration. I don’t want to see this town become a traffic jam.”
On Thursday, Patti Spence said she and her dad have owned their family business for 40 years and they consider their place within the Angels Camp sphere of influence.
“We carry the same things here at our business as Tractor Supply,” Spence said. “There’s six businesses in town that already sell what Tractor Supply sells. My point is there are so many other types of businesses we need. Clothing for example. A place where you can buy socks and underwear.”
It’s fine to have competition, Spence said, but Angels Camp needs to bring in businesses that don’t already exist in town. A Tractor Supply store will bring a lot of traffic to Angels Camp.
“We can do the competition but they need to come in the right way,” Spence said. “They need to look at the traffic congestion and how it will impact existing businesses. The zoning process needs to include a detailed traffic and economic and environmental studies. We just want to make sure this is right. The city needs to be accountable and do it correctly.”
Augustine said future steps for the proposed new Tractor Supply store in Angels Camp include completion of the environmental review, and public notice announcing availability of an environmental document with 30 days for public comment.
The planning department will then respond to public comments, schedule a public hearing before the planning commission for more public comment, and then make a decision related to the proposed TSC, Augustine said.
Augustine said the decision of the planning commission can be appealed to the Angels Camp City Council within 15 days, and another public hearing would be held.
Contact Guy McCarthy at email@example.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.