Dorsey Marketplace in Grass Valley closer to construction, still years away |

Dorsey Marketplace in Grass Valley closer to construction, still years away

Five years after first being proposed, the Dorsey Marketplace is closer to construction than ever before.

The Grass Valley City Council on Tuesday voted 4 to zero to certify the project’s environmental impact report, approve initial permits and begin the rezoning process to allow for the 28.6-acre mixed-use development. Vice Mayor Ben Aguilar recused himself.

The council approved Alternative B, which includes 104,350 square feet of commercial space, 8,500 square feet of office space, 172 apartments with solar panels and 14 electric vehicle charging stations.

According to project manager Warren Hughes, while the next step — a second reading of the rezoning ordinance, a necessity to allow a retail development with housing at the Dorsey Drive site — is likely at the next meeting, there is still a lot of work to be done.

According to Community Development Director Tom Last, after the second reading scheduled for May 14, the applicant will need a variety of additional approvals from city staff but won’t need to come back before the council.

“We still have a long way to go after the approval in terms of getting through what is now going to be an extended appeals period and still designing the project, getting through building permits, those sorts of things,” Hughes said.

Hughes said because of how long the process will take, he and retailers he’s contacted are not concerned about the economic fallout from COVID-19 affecting the project.

“We think it will take long enough that this whole situation will have resolved itself, things will be back up and running smoothly,” he said. “It’s not something that’s going to happen next week or next month or probably next year at this point.”

During the council’s Jan. 28 public hearing on the project some residents were concerned about the development’s economic effect on existing businesses and being able to control which businesses will come into the marketplace. Those concerns were addressed Tuesday through a general use restriction agreement that would ban a variety of businesses, including second-hand stores, massage parlors, bargain variety stores, adult book stores and tobacco shops.

The council incorporated recommendations from the Planning Commission to include solar panels on all apartments, include electric space and water heating, and identify which of three drive-thru locations will not be used for a food-related business.

During the public hearing the majority of the comments were in favor of the project, with those opposed wanting more housing, smaller units for affordability, and better air quality and traffic mitigation.

“This project isn’t perfect,” council member Jan Arbuckle said. “But I think the applicant has done what the Planning Commission asked and what we have asked.”

April 30: This article was updated to clarify the project’s next steps.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email or call 530-477-4229.

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