A vote on the fate of the proposed Terra Vi Lodge resort east of Groveland was delayed until Thursday due to an “inadvertent error” in which a local environmental group’s comments were not addressed in the final analysis for the project.
The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors listened for more than two hours on Tuesday as 44 people voiced their opinions on the proposal, with six of them speaking in support. The hearing was to consider appeals seeking to overturn the county Planning Commission’s approval of the project on Dec. 1.
John Buckley, executive director of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center in Twain Harte, spoke near the end of the public-comment period and raised objections about how responses to the bulk of the points he made in written comments were not included in the project’s final environmental impact report.
Buckley said the omission of the points his center made were an example of mistakes made due to the “rushed” nature of the approval process, an argument that many detractors of the project have also made.
County Supervisor Sherri Brennan, who serves as board chairwoman, announced a 30-minute break at the end of the public comments and returned with the rest of the board about 45 minutes later to read a prepared statement that said the hearing would be continued.
“Based on Mr. Buckley’s comments, the county and consultant reviewed the comments and responses and confirmed the bulk of Mr. Buckley’s comment letter was not responded to due to an inadvertent error,” she said reading from a paper.
Brennan said based on the omission, the hearing would be continued until 9 a.m. Thursday to give county staff time to prepare an errata responding to all of Buckley’s written comments submitted during a public review period earlier this year.
Buckley said prior to the break that the board should not certify the final EIR due to a number of inconsistencies in assessing the project’s environmental impacts and adequately mitigating them as best as possible as required under California law.
The project involves the construction of a lodge with 100 guest rooms, seven detached cabins totaling 26 additional guest rooms, five apartment buildings each containing four units each for employee housing, a public market, and emergency helipad, all of which would cover about 18% of a 64-acre property at Sawmill Mountain Road and Highway 120 about five miles west of the Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite National Park.
County officials have estimated the resort could generate as much as $650,000 per year in additional Transient Occupancy Tax revenue if approved and constructed.
See Friday’s Union Democrat for full coverage of the debate and decision over the Terra Vi Lodge project.
Contact Alex MacLean at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 768-5175.