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June 25, 2013
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Nevada County supes to hear Yuba River Charter School appeal


The Nevada County board of supervisors will hear an appeal regarding the Planning Commission’s recent approval of Yuba River Charter School’s proposed facility.

Supervisor Terry Lamphier said many of those protesting the project live in proximity to the proposed site at the intersection of Rough and Ready Highway and Adam Avenue in Grass Valley.

If you are living in proximity to a large project, you have a right to make sure all the details are addressed by decision makers, Lamphier said.

Supervisor Nate Beason said the appeal had enough merit to be heard by the board during the afternoon session of the July 16 regular meeting.

Yuba River Charter School received approval from the Planning Commission in late May to construct a new 23,000-square-foot, $8.5 million school on the 16-acre site.

Commissioners voted 3 to 1 (with R. Douglas Donesky dissenting and Ruth Poulter absent) to approve a proposal that calls for six separate buildings, several K-8 classrooms, a library, a main lobby, about 800 square feet of administrative space, an art studio, an amphitheater, general parking and several play fields for different grade levels.

A large piece of the project proposal was to use Environmental Protection Agency funds to remediate a portion of the property that contains a high concentration of lead.

The northernmost 3-acre portion of the site was once part of the Kenny Ranch project and housed Grass Valley’s burn dump in the mid-1950s.

Remediation activities are slated to include removing contaminated soil, hauling it to an approved disposal site and capping the disturbed area, all of which will be monitored by the Department of Toxic Substances, said Nevada County Senior Planner Tod Herman.

“It’s crucial for making sure we can clean up the site,” said school Director Caleb Buckley. “This long-term dump site will finally get cleaned up.”

Many of the opponents of the project expressed concern that traffic will increase dramatically at an intersection that already has sight-line problems.

Speakers at the May commission meeting also cited fears regarding the school’s plans to install a septic tank, rather than getting connected to a treatment plant.

Finally, commissioners expressed concern that a settling pond, designed to capture water that flows off impervious surfaces such as parking lots, is inadequate.

Project proponents said the settling pond will be altered to accommodate greater capacity — approximately a half-acre.

The board of supervisors was already scheduled to decide whether to grant the project a requested rezone of the property. The site is comprised of three different parcels with varying zoning, all of which allow for schools as one of the uses.

The board will field both the appeal and the possible rezone in July.

Yuba River Charter currently occupies the former Nevada City Elementary building and has an annual lease agreement with the Nevada City School District. Yuba River expects to move into the new location June 2015 and plans to extend its three-year lease with the Nevada City School District, which is set to expire June 2014.

“Right now, we’re confined to a city block with blacktop,” Buckley said.

“With the new location, we’ll be able to have a playground, outdoor spaces, a lot more parking, solar power and all new buildings, so it will be much more efficient to run.”

The school year for Yuba Charter includes two semesters, with the first beginning in mid-August and ending in mid-December and the second spanning January to late May or early June.

The school provides public education to about 300 students using a 30-person staff, including 10 teachers, a principal, an administrative manager, librarian, custodian and other assorted support staff.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email mrenda@theunion.com or 530-477-4239.


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The Union Updated Jun 27, 2013 04:36PM Published Jun 28, 2013 05:48PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.