Dwelling on the future: Nevada City prepares draft to aid cottage dwelling development
Nevada City has acknowledged its need for more housing.
Particularly, city officials want to offer shelter for the elderly, disabled and low-income individuals.
In 2017, talks began to incentivize construction of a cottage dwelling development, or collection of one-floor, small-unit spaces between 500 and 1,000 square feet. After working on cannabis ordinances, city planner Amy Wolfson said she has returned her focus to the development effort.
“I want to be a part of bringing affordable housing to the city,” she said to a group of eight public officials and county residents Monday.
Wolfson was leading the community through a workshop to negotiate a new draft on the cottage dwelling development that will be given to the planning commission July 18, she said.
The meeting’s main concern — and the general tension around creating low-income housing — was how to provide shelter for those most in need without hurting a developer.
“We’re trying to encourage affordable housing but at the same time we want developers” to invest in it, said Wolfson.
The discussion offered a few decisions for the draft: make the units energy efficient but not necessarily have them reach the state Tier 1 or Tier 2 code elective standards; allow accessibility for the disabled; and have at least 30 percent of the units affordable for low-income residents.
Former Grass Valley City Council member and current developer, Steve Enos, said he has been constructing small unit homes in California, Nevada and Arizona — with most of his success coming outside the Golden State, he said.
Developing affordable housing in California is difficult for many reasons, he said, part of them relating to strict regulatory processes.
“The more rules, the more costs,” he said, adding the more predictable, simple and cost-efficient by which a unit can be constructed, the better.
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