Chauncey Poston: Put neighborhoods first
Chauncey Poston and his wife, Theresa, came to Nevada County in 1978 when he was part of a federal effort to reclaim old mine sites.
Poston’s plan for the Malakoff Diggins moonscape never bore fruit, but the couple felt they had “come home,” he said, and stayed. They both made a career in real estate, and now work for Coldwell Banker Grass Roots Realty.
In his campaign, Poston has been walking door-to-door, “hitting the bricks and pressing the flesh,” he said. The people he meets “are all concerned about growth, traffic, crime and drug use.
“The rate we are growing at is alarming to most citizens,” Poston said. “They’re all afraid of losing their sense of community. They’re very afraid of being in Anywhere U.S.A.”
Much of that fear comes from discussions surrounding four large housing projects proposed for areas slated for annexation in coming years. City Council members should ask developers, “What are you going to bring to the community that would justify the numbers?”
Allowing large developments is not necessarily a mistake, Poston said. He would be willing to see some growth beyond the 2020 General Plan numbers of 644 housing units for the four proposed developments.
Greater density, for example, “allows you to build more efficiently, make better use of utilities and is better at creating open space,” Poston said.
The mistake comes from not planning for the supporting infrastructure. “Not having the infrastructure in place to handle what is happening, that would be a mistake,” Poston said.
He observed that his home ” a 1906 Sears & Roebuck catalogue house near downtown Grass Valley that has been restored ” was gradually expanded as children were born to the original owners. Modern houses could be built similarly: On a modest scale, but designed so they can easily be expanded as the need and means arise,” he said.
“I want Grass Valley to become a model,” Poston continued. “As a society, it’s obvious we have to make some paradigm shifts.”
He does not want new growth to create a burden for existing tax payers, however.
Care for what’s here
Poston also wants to see more clarity from policymakers for the developers, who complain about wasting time, energy and resources on following changing political directions. “We need to do a better job of telling them from the beginning what the requirements are,” Poston said.
The city’s Redevelopment Agency could be harnessed to revitalize neighborhoods that have deteriorated, he said.
“People have inherited homes, they turn them into rentals, (and) there’s no money invested,” Poston said. “That’s how neighborhoods cycle down.”
Poston also said the city needs to make “a monumental effort to renew our neighborhoods and create affordable housing opportunities at the same time.”
To reduce traffic congestion, Poston would increase city funding. He said another concern is air quality. Poston said he would work with officials at the state and regional level to reduce the smog that flows up hill to create respiratory problems for the young and elderly.
“Let’s take care of the Grass Valley we already have,” Poston said. “It’s the residents of the neighborhoods who are the voters, not the future people.”
To contact Staff Writer Trina Kleist, e-mail trinak@theunion. com or call 477-4231.
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