Zoning changes recommended | RecordCourier.com

Zoning changes recommended

by Jo Rafferty

Zoning and general plan amendments paving the way for a time-share project in Markleeville were recommended Wednesday night by Alpine County planning commissioners.

The proposal for the 25-room lodge, 49 time-shares and commercial property has proved contentious in the past year, and the decision this week was met with the same disapproval by some audience members and letter writers.

The night before, members of the group Friends of Markleeville met to decide on the issue of suing the county for its Dec. 21 decision to allow a lesser environmental study (mitigated negative declaration) instead of a more comprehensive environmental report (environmental impact report).

Nancy Thornburg, 45-year resident of the county Friends of Markleeville member declined to say what the group’s decision had been. Thornburg said they would wait to see what develops at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday before any decision would be made.

“We’re trying to avoid suing, if we can,” said Thornburg.

The Planning Commission also received five letters of opposition to zoning and general plan amendments.

“They didn’t even consider those,” said Thornburg.

Questions raised included why changes were needed when the project itself had not been approved and whether the shift from Commercial-Residential to Planned Development could lead to larger projects on the 36 acres.

Planning Director Brian Peters said recommendations for zoning, general plan and the tentative map are all separate.

However, these items were all considered as one in the negative declaration, according to a letter written to the commission by Amy Skewes-Cox and Robert Twiss.

“The negative declaration covered a linked, three-part set: project, rezoning and tentative map. These three actions have now been separated, which would be OK; except that the negative declaration did not cover such a split and the range of options given to the developer in a separate rezoning was not taken into account,” said the letter.

The new tentative map has not yet been submitted by the developer Tom Abdoo of Markleeville U.S.A., since the Mahalee Lodge/Markleeville Village project reduction last month.

Peters said specifications within the amendments would not allow any upgrades to the project.

“It’s very specific for the project that’s being proposed,” said Peters.

Letters to the Planning Commission also addressed two subjects: inadequate fire safety and sewage water disposal.

Citing the lack of 20-foot set backs from cabin property lines and “contradictory” sewage disposal engineering reports, Robert Leonard of Markleeville said, “This development can be an asset to the community only if it is done correctly. Approval of anything less is not in the interest of fire safety and public health of future residents and their neighbors.”

The Planning Commission will present its recommendations before the board of supervisors in February, according to Peters. The new tentative map will be submitted early next week, possibly going before the county technical advisory committee by its meeting of Jan. 11.

— Jo Rafferty can be reached at jrafferty@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 213.