General plans play an important role in protecting scenic foothill landscapes
Rebecca Willis, the new Calaveras County Planning Director, has been busy getting the general plan update process rolling again. In the past two months Ms. Willis has brought new maps depicting natural resource areas and the draft economic and water elements back to the Calaveras Board of Supervisors. These are all critical components of the new general plan and have the potential to protect and enhance the county while ensuring a sound local economy.
The natural resource element and associated land use designation will identify large geographic areas where some type of active resource production or protection should remain. The next steps are to identify where this type of designation is and isn’t most appropriate, taking potential land use conflicts into consideration. For example, it’s not generally a good idea to provide for a mineral processing plant near existing residential development.
The board of supervisors voted to continue to expand work on the water element, which details the existing water supply, needs, costs, conservation, and environmental concerns. We are hopeful that this time around they will adopt some of the detailed suggestions we submitted some time ago.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that Calaveras continues to struggle through the greatest recession since the Great Depression, the board rejected the work done on the economic element to date and dropped this optional general plan element from future consideration. Thousands of dollars were spent developing the draft.
Calaveras County intends to complete the general plan in the coming year. Keep your eye out for more important meetings, which we announce on the website and sometimes through the NewsNotes e-news. If you’d like to become more involved, please contact the Foothill Conservancy office at 295-4900.