Commercial development proposed for empty downtown lot passes key step
Plans for a retail and office space project on an empty downtown lot passed a key step Tuesday night when city planning commissioners OK’d the plan.
Grass Valley Planning Commission members were effusive in their praise of the proposal for the corner of East Main and Richardson streets. The commission approved the project on a 4-0 vote with commissioner Rey Johnson absent.
LaVonne Mullin of WCS Properties, LLC proposes retail on the ground floor and office space on the second floor of a two-story, 3,194-square-foot commercial building. The building would rest on a 7,400-square foot property within the city’s redevelopment district.
The City Council, which also sits as the city’s Redevelopment Agency, could grant final project approval at its July 31 council meeting or a subsequent meeting, said Community Development Director Joe Heckel.
“I think it’s a very good looking building,” said commissioner David Emanuel. “It’ll make a great gateway.”
Architect Brent Daggett’s designs call for a mixture of Gold Rush styles, evoking the flavor of an 1880s street.
Daggett’s building plans include a brick body, iron shutters along the front, and a steel balcony, according to a city staff report from Associate Planner Dan Chance.
Having that type of design, at that intersection, is crucial to attracting more people downtown, said Chairwoman Eleanor Kenitzer.
Commissioner Ralph Silberstein praised the plan as well but wanted more landscaping and fewer parking spaces.
“We should get rid of a parking spot and get another tree in there,” Silberstein said.
That’s not a good idea because parking is key for shoppers and business owners, said Howard Levine, Grass Valley Downtown Association executive director.
“Every time we lose a parking space we lose a valuable asset in the downtown,” Levine said.
“I look at trees that way,” Silberstein responded.
If ultimately approved, construction of the project could start by late summer or early fall, Daggett said.
To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4234.
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