Grass Valley Council OKs new produce ordinance |

Grass Valley Council OKs new produce ordinance

Christopher Rosacker
Staff Writer

Stores providing produce in Grass Valley will have to post signs about their locally grown products under an ordinance passed by the town's city council Tuesday.

Passage of the produce ordinance will require a second reading before it is adopted, but if it garners second passage, it will require all produce providers to post signage alongside those products claiming to be locally or regionally grown. The signs will inform customers that a store representative is available to indicate where exactly those agricultural products were grown, said Tom Last, Grass Valley's community development director.

The consumer will then be left to make his own determination as to whether it meets the subjective interpretation of locally or regionally grown

"We're basically making a sign that says go ask somebody if you want to know more," said Councilman Jason Fouyer, the lone dissenting vote on the ordinance.

With Councilman Howard Levine absent from Tuesday's meeting, the produce ordinance passed 3-1 and would basically match a similar ordinance Nevada County has already adopted, Last said.

"The ordinance was received without too much fanfare," said Jeff Pylman, Nevada County's agricultural commissioner.

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Grass Valley initially broached the topic in September 2012, Last said, when council was considering eying a mile radii determination for what constitutes "local" and "regional" when it comes to food.

However, subsequent attempts to reach out to 13 of Grass Valley's produce providers yielded only one responding organization: BriarPatch Co-op.

There was concurrence that it is too difficult to define local or regional at this time, Last reported to the council.

At its Tuesday meeting, council also reviewed the police department's survey of its residents to gauge their opinions of law enforcement's effectiveness and foci.

"Normally alcohol and drug abuse are rated the highest," said Police Chief John Foster. "This year, burglaries jumped up there."

More than 89 percent of those who responded to the survey expressed an "excellent or "good" rating of the Grass Valley Police Department — a 2.3 percent increase over the previous year, Foster reported. Part of that approval involved a 9.2 percent increase in level of satisfaction of the department's crime prevention tactics, putting that approval at more than 43 percent.

Surveyors outlined drug abuse, burglary and alcohol abuse as the top three community problems in that order — with more than 62 percent of those questioned choosing the first of the three options.

"We did see a significant spike in burglaries across the county this year," Foster said. "The other one to note is that vandalism jumped a bit."

Foster said his officers would make a point to personally contact those who provided their addresses among the 141 out of 600 responding surveyors.

"We feel there is great value in making direct contact with the citizens," Foster said.

The council also made a $4 million adjustment to its Dorsey Interchange budget to bring it in line with already-approved budgets of the Nevada County Transportation Commission and its statewide counterpart.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.

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