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Proposed Development of the Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:28 pm
by Jay Bunten
This topic is for the discussion of concerns, issues and comments concerning the proposed development of the Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch (The old Abbott property)

The proposed development is as follows:
The construction of a two story 14,124 square foot building with a tasting room, laboratory, sales office, gift shop and food service area with indoor and outdoor dining, and a 105 stall parking lot.

I've also included a poll question on this topic.

Betty Powers list of concerns

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:44 pm
by Jay Bunten
Betty Powers has replied to the County's "Notice to Property Owners" with the following list of concerns. I have posted it here with her permission.

    The area is a rural residential area with no commercial development.
    The home ownership in the area is on 1/4 to five acre lots and the area is heavily forested with abundant wildlife. Any commercial development would impact the overall environmental quality of the area including the local wildlife, vegetation and lifestyle sought by the purchasers of property in the area. This area has never, to my knowledge, been zoned for any commercial development, other than as a milling industry, many, many years ago and long since abandoned.
    The only access to the apple ranch in question is Kewin (Kuien) Mill Road for which there is no traffic control and maintenance is minimal. This is a narrow, winding and steep road and is already congested with the number of residents currently living in the Cedar Ridge Ranch development as well as the Comstock Ranch development. It is the only road in and out of the area and, there is already concern for evacuation for wildfires or any other emergencies that may occur. Having a commercial development with numerous employees and tourists/visitors will only exacerbate this issue
    We only have a volunteer fire department; therefore any problems/emergencies/fires that are a direct result of the operation of this commercial development will not have proper response time and may result in direct impact on the neighboring homes.
    There is no law enforcement available except from Sonora (10 miles) or Twain Harte (6 miles) and no traffic enforcement except for the casual appearance of a local sheriff deputy or California highway patrol in the area. Invariably, when there is a public presence in this type of establishment there is a need for law enforcement presence.
    There is additional traffic congestion with the Belleview School at the beginning of Kewin Mill Road plus the added traffic on Phoenix Lake Road/Big Hill Road/Longeway Road for vehicles accessing this proposed commercial operation.

Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch Development

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:10 am
by betty
I have been informed by third party that the develpment projects will also include live music. Not sure if the intention is for casual entertainment or full blown concerts.

My concerns have also been forwarded to the elected city council representative for this area, Teri Murrison. I intend to follow up with her and encourage anyone opposing this project to do the same. I have asked for time to obtain signatures on a petition as well.

Betty Powers

cedar ridge apple ranch

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:27 am
by squinne
I think we should be able to talk to the owners of this and look at what they are wanting to do. Most of what your concerned about is what taxes are for..
the place is pretty far off the road... The only concern is around the back side toward the ditch what activities are going to be closest to the neighbors?
thats my only concern.. I dont believe its any different that Sierra glen ranch is it ?? is that a bad place ?? any comment on that ??

Additional concerns and explanations

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:36 am
by Jay Bunten
The “Notice to Property Owners” stated that if the Community Development Department didn’t receive your comments by February 1, 2008 they would assume that you had no objections. Considering that this notice was only sent to those who lived within a 1000 feet of the project, thus leaving out a significant number of residents who might have input on the subject.

I’m the last one to knock new development and, yes, we don’t have all the facts yet. But this doesn’t mitigate the need to inform of all of the residents.

This project appears to be much larger than Sierra Glen and Sierra Glen isn’t in the middle of 1500 home subdivisions. I also understand that Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch has applied for a license to sell alcohol which Sierra Glen doesn’t do.

The project appears to be a tourist supported business and doesn’t seem to provide any significant value for the residents.

Tuolumne County hasn’t properly maintained the roads in the County for years. Adding additional traffic, caused by a business entity, would put Kewin Mill Road under additional stress.

Currently Cedar Ridge is a destination with residents coming and going from their properties. Having a business in the area brings non-residents into to the area which would increase safety concerns that may require additional law enforcement.

cedar ridge apple ranch

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:52 am
by squinne
one last comment , SInce Tuolumne county seems to not allow much new growth anyway I dont think there is much danger of this passing. However in the way of roads and law enforcement, shouldnt the apple ranch pay the extra taxes ? to improve the road up there ?? again I think this is too much for the cedar ridge residents and the county. I will be shocked if it goes thru. One of these days there will be a shift though and the county is going to need more money .. and maybe the government will be pro growth ... But I think that will be a cold day in hell

THIS IS CRAZINESS!! People Unite!!

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:53 pm
by tinalan
First of all I would like to address the comparison of this project to Sierra Glen Apple Ranch. a.) Sierra Glen does not have parking for 105 cars.. b.) Sierra Glen does not have a 14,000 sq ft two story building on its property. c.) Sierra Glen was here before all of us and is still in (practically) its original state as a fully functional apple farm.

The other big issue is the exit road out of the neighborhood in case of forest fire. It has always been a concern and an unsolveable problem getting another paved road out of the neighborhood, this will only add to that congestion and danger, don't forget the southern california fires a few years ago where a neighborhood quite similar to ours went up in flames and people could not escape and were trapped in their cars trying. A bargaining tool with this company could be to make them pay to grade and pave Mt Elizabeth Road to Twain Harte to give everyone another option for escape.

Public Forum at County Supervisors Office?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:55 pm
by tinalan
Please anyone post if you hear when a public forum to oppose project will take place...

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:41 pm
by lpoffth
I would not be totally opposed to the idea of this, but agree that the business should be responsible for building AND maintaining another exit road out of Cedar Ridge (Mt Elizabeth?) should an emergency be imminent, and also be responsible for the maintnence of Kuien Mill road, that is already and almost constantly in poor repair.

Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch Development

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:24 pm
by betty
I have been in contact with Teri Murrison regarding my objections to the limited notification/time contraints for the proposed development. I have copied her latest response. I was referred to her when, in fact, Paolo Maffei is the supervisor in charge of this district. He is, unfortunately, on vacation until Feb 5th. I feel all those with concerns need to call and request notification and do not waste a second to be sure there is a fair voice for all. Please see Supv Murrison's reply:

Hi Betty,

Here's Renee Hendry's response below. It sounds like you will get a letter (I'd call and request to receive notification just to make sure) and can go testify before the Planning Commission. If they deny the project, it sounds like it then comes to the BOS. I would suggest you send letters to each of the Planning Commissioners too.

I won't be able to get a copy of your letter to Supervisor Maffei for a few days - do you mind faxing it again (to the same number 533-6549?


Dear Supervisor Murrison:

The process for a Conditional Use Permit involves accepting a complete application with details concerning the proposed use, notifying neighbors within 1000 feet (if the parcel is greater than 5 acres), notifying Advisory Agencies (such as Public Works, Fish and Game and Environmental Health), going out to the site, determining if special studies would be required (such as a Cultural Study or plant study), receiving comments from neighbors and Advisory Agencies, setting conditions for the use (such as road improvements, turning bulbs, hours of operation, etc), writing the agenda report and presenting the project before the Planning Commission. The neighbors and/or interested parties are sent a letter with the time and date of the meeting so that they may attend and present their reasons for approval or denial. The Planning Commissioners decided whether the project is approved, denied or returned to Staff for a revised proposal. The applicant can appeal a denial of the project before the BOS.

The AE-37 zoning district does allow agricultural processing facilities as a permitted use. The part of the project that is Conditional is the proposal for a restaurant and gift shop that would be located on the top floor of the agricultural processing facility. I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you’d like any other information.

Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch Development

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:53 am
by betty
I received another email from Supervisor Teri Murrison and she feels it may be too late to stop the process for the development but to be sure to attend the Planning Commission Public hearing to voice your comments. Supervisor Paolo Maffei is the supervisor for our area and is on vacation until Feb 5th but leave messages/emails for him as well. A personal visit or mailed comment to the Planning Commision before Feb 1st is extremely important as well. Get the word out to everyone you know, whether pro or con, so the powers that be know people want to discuss the options.

Betty Powers

Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch Development

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:52 am
by betty
Those interested in receiving notification of a public hearing on the development of the apple ranch should contact Renee Hendry - Planner II at 209-533-5633 and request your name/address be added to her mailing list. You can always send written comments to the Community Development Dept at 2 S. Green St Sonora 95370 before Feb 1st however, you will not receive notification of the time/place for the public hearing unless you are on the original property owner notification, (those within 1000 ft of the proposed project). Please contact Renee to add your name/address as soon as possible.


Thanks Betty

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:46 pm
by tinalan
Thanks Betty for all the hard work you are doing to take responsible action against this plan, I will do what I can too and make the call to teri. The concern I have right now is that there are 4 people involved with this dialogue/blog and their are the hundreds of other residents who don't know so how to get the information out? I have a list of Ladies Auxiliary Members phone numbers, I can call them but that is about 20 people, if a giant sign was put up on the welcome to cedar ridge sign that says STOP THE CEDAR RIDGE APPLE RANCH BUILDING PROJECT! and then direct them to go online to get this info, maybe that would help, but time is so short now and the snow is so high, a limiting factor...let me know what you think...tina

Reply to Tina

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:13 pm
by betty
I agree, time is of the essence. I would suggest a sign too, but, instead of "Stop Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch" perhaps "Attn: Projected Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch project" then direct people to the website. I might also suggest if a data base is still available for former CRRPOA members and addresses to send notices or call. It's pretty late for sending mail notices but not too late to advise calling Renee Hendry to ask to be added to the mailing list for public meeting information. Talk to friends/neighbors, or anyone you meet on a walk or dog walk or whatever. Just get the word out. I will go door to door if need be, after the snow storm of course!

I did receive a phone call today from Teri Murrison, which I felt was really considerate of her. She informed me that this is still in the beginning stages and just get the word out and do what we all can to get input on this project. Perhaps a meeting later next week would be in order? I don't keep in contact with a lot of people but will be more than happy to get involved in this project. This is something that "We the people" must do.! I'll wait to hear from you on your thoughts.


More Information

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:40 pm
by gkellehe
I have a home in the Cedar Ridge area, but did not receive the notice as my property is not within 1000 ft from the location of the project. I called Renee and she provided me with the information. I asked about the live music and she said there are no plans for live music at this time and the facility could not accomodate large concerts. Most of the structure will be used for apple storage and fermentation and the restaurant will only seat 10 to 15 people.

She also told me that the owners are very environmentally friendly. The fact that they have already planted many new trees and are organic is actually good for the environment. They won't pollute the land with pesticides and other chemicals. I also "googled" Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch and found more information.

I think this can be a win-win situation, especially if they agree to make road improvements.

I asked if traffic studies could be conducted and she said that could be a possiblity.

I also think that the new facility could increase the value of our homes in Cedar Ridge.

Lets not oppose this project without understand all the facts.