Developers with local builder Miramont Homes are planning to break ground Friday on a site for 38 new homes in the area called La Cobre Mina in Copperopolis.

Mike Lemke is president of Miramont Homes, which he owns with his brother Eric Lemke. Mike Lemke said Eric Lemke is sole owner of Lemke Homes.

The pace of home-building slowed significantly in Calaveras County from 2010 to 2016, with 175 housing units built over that period.

“We hope this work at La Cobre Mina helps kick start other local projects that have been languishing,” Mike Lemke said.

According to a U.S. Census Bureau FactFinder report for Calaveras County, there were 4,676 housing units built in the county from 1970 to 1979, 6,041 housing units built from 1980 to 1989, 5,275 housing units built from 1990 to 1999, and 5,770 housing units built from 2000 to 2009.

La Cobre Mina was conceived of in the early 2000s, and it’s one of the projects that failed back in 2006, Mike Lemke said Monday. The principal developers went into bankruptcy and vaporized after the project crashed.

The Lemkes bought properties in Unit 1 of La Cobre Mina, Mike Lemke said. Today there are a total of 27 homes in Unit 1, with nine of those homes built by the Lemkes.

The 38 new homes are going to be in the area known as Unit 2, Mike Lemke said. Unit 2 was never completed, and the county revoked entitlements in that area. The Lemkes have been working with the county to get planning permissions to complete La Cobre Mina.

“For five years we’ve been re-entitling it into a residential subdivision,” he said. “Finishing up utility lines and paving up the roads. It’s been a real rehabilitation effort.”

The 38 new homes in La Cobre Mina will amount to a finished buildout, completing the neighborhood, Mike Lemke said. La Cobre Mina is unrelated to the Copperopolis Town Square project, another uncompleted plan that is sitting idle.

Copperopolis Town Square has 26 businesses open, according to a Castle & Cooke website about the property. Property managers have a few spaces available for lease, they are anxious to lease their commercial spaces, and they are offering “special incentives.”

A planned subdivision of 580 homes called Sawmill Lake off Little John Road was never built.

Town Square was approved, but Sawmill Lake subdivision came up against roadblocks. Castle & Cooke submitted development plans to the county four times between 2007 until 2013. They proposed a hotel, a resort and 10 miles of walking trails in early 2013.

The development would have removed 4,000 oak trees, Dave Haley, then-vice president of Castle & Cooke Calaveras, said in 2013.

The Calaveras Board of Supervisors turned down the idea in February 2013 but left open the possibility of the company coming back with a revised plan. Debbie Ponte, a Calaveras County supervisor at the time, told The Union Democrat the proposal was “not a perfect project” in 2013.

Rebecca Willis, the county planning director back then, told The Union Democrat the Castle & Cooke project did not mitigate the loss of trees, would urbanize a wildlife area, and left questions about sewer and infrastructure to serve additional homes.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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