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Special use permit approved for school

A special use permit has been issued for the property that could be the next site of Plumas Charter School.

Zoning Administrator Tracey Ferguson, who also serves as the county’s planning director, approved the permit with conditions following a public hearing Dec. 11.

The decision is the latest step in the process to build a new school. Yesterday, Tuesday, Dec. 17, the Central Plumas Recreation and Park District Board of Directors was scheduled to discuss whether it would agree to sell the proposed school site to the charter school, as this newspaper went to press.

The zoning administrator included several conditions in issuing her approval, which must be met. Additionally, she explained that there would be several more steps in the process to build a school on the site including obtaining a lot line adjustment, working with Caltrans, applying for building permits, etc.

Despite the hurdles, charter school supporters who filled the meeting room welcomed the decision.

Taletha Washburn, the executive director of Plumas Charter School, told those assembled that the school “had been actively seeking a site for a number of years” and had just been through the “disappointment and nondevelopment of the Kelsey Lane” site.

That site, a strip of land between Quincy Junction Road and Kelsey Lane near Quincy High School, proved too expensive to build on for the charter school, but could be used as part of the payment for the site it wants to buy adjacent to the recreation district fronting the highway in East Quincy.

“This is a great location to have a permanent home,” Washburn said. “There is also the potential for a great partnership.”

James Shipp, general manger of the recreation district, told the zoning administrator that it would be a “unique experience having the charter school as neighbors” and added that he saw the potential for it “benefiting all community members.”

That was the theme addressed by those who spoke during the public hearing.

Scott Davis, who serves on the recreation district board, had said one of his concerns about the land sale to the charter school, was the school’s plans to use the playground and other amenities for its recesses, lunch periods and afternoon recreation. He worried that the usage would prohibit the general public from accessing the area.

Todd Johns who has children who attended charter and Plumas Unified schools, said, “I think this is a wonderful opportunity to educate kids that flourish in charter school and will expand services to the community. I don’t see why this would change that property or access.”

Teacher Casey Peters said that it would be nice to have a permanent location for the school and that it would lead to more utilization of the park.

Ferguson addressed the issue of the public’s ability to access the park and Washburn and Shipp assured her that any issues would be dealt with as the relationship proceeded.

Some of the conditions of the special use permit include:

– Obtain all building permits within 18 months.

– A dust control plan must be submitted to the air quality district.

– Drainage and grading plans submitted to public works.

– Encroachment permit obtained by Caltrans.

– Updated memorandum of understanding with National Park Service for parking area.

– Compliant driveway.

– Site configuration shall not entail any structures or paths crossing property lines.

– School grounds shall be fenced.

–Plumas Charter must supply crossing guards if necessary.

– Construction noise plans.

– Landscaping requirements.

Washburn said that she had no issues with any of the conditions.

The recreation district was scheduled to discuss the land sale yesterday in closed session.

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