Nevada City to review county’s Bank of America site plans
January 18, 2013
Even though Nevada County doesn't need Nevada City to sign off on its proposed use of the former Bank of America building to house the district attorney's office, symbolic support is still being sought.
A public hearing will take place today at Nevada City's planning commission meeting about granting a conditional use permit to the county regarding its plans to vacate the current district attorney's office on the second floor at 100 Union St. and purchase the building that Bank of America vacated in March 2012.
Normally, if an applicant wants to house offices on the first floor of a building in the General Business Historic District of Nevada City's merchant-heavy downtown, it would need to obtain exemptions to 2006 and 2010 ordinances prohibiting non-retail use of ground-level space.
These ordinances stemmed from an effort to foster more tourist-friendly businesses during a proliferation of real estate offices downtown during housing-boom years, noted Nevada City Councilwoman Sally Harris at the Jan. 9 City Council meeting.
“(T)hey are submitting the application voluntarily to ensure the city supports the move.”
— City Planner Cindy Siegfried, in a report
However, the county is exempt from complying with city regulations, noted City Planner Cindy Siegfried in a report to the planning commission.
"(T)hey are submitting the application voluntarily to ensure the city supports the move," Siegfried wrote.
In addition to also considering the purchase of the office space it leases above Friar Tuck's restaurant to house its probation department, the county is also considering the purchase of property in Grass Valley's Whispering Pines Business Park.
Today's planning commission consideration comes a week after the Nevada City Council passed a similarly symbolic supportive measure, which outlined the city's preference that the county retain its court services offices near the Nevada County Courthouse in downtown Nevada City.
"Making that a reality is in my mind of major significance to Nevada City today and in the long-term future," stated Paul Matson, a former councilman and a chairperson of the Nevada City Courthouse Committee, in a letter to the planning commission.
"The vitality and jobs those offices add to the well-being of our town is very important and highly beneficial, not to mention the efficiencies that accrue from being so near to the courthouse," Matson said.
The Courthouse Committee was formed to help retain the courthouse in downtown Nevada City amid calls from the state to possibly move to another site as part of any renovation, update or replacement of the 148-year-old courthouse.
Final approval of the former Bank of America building purchase will require Nevada County Board of Supervisors approval. County officials indicate that the two purchases would save the county as much as $200,000 annually.
Nevada City's planning commission is scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. today at Nevada City Hall. An agenda and reports on this matter and others can be found on the city's website,nevadacityca.gov.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4236.