Grass Valley homes to be demolished, making way for hotel |

Grass Valley homes to be demolished, making way for hotel

A two-story, 74-room hotel is in the works for Grass Valley, but not before 11 homes are demolished in the process.

On Tuesday the Grass Valley Planning Commission approved the development of the West Olympia Hotel project slated for East Main Street and West Olympia Drive in a 3-to-zero vote.

According to project engineer Sean O’Neill, work is not likely to be done over the next summer due to the pandemic, meaning demolition would not begin until 2022. The 39,500-square-foot project will include a fitness center, pool and would target mid-tier customers.

“I understand that they would like to stay where they are,” Commissioner Elizabeth Coots said of the tenants. “But this has been a long time coming and still will be.”

As part of the conditions of approval, the developer will give six months’ advance notice before eviction and the demolition permit would not be issued before a building permit, giving tenants more time before they are forced to move.

Road and sidewalk improvements to both streets are also required by the conditions of approval.

According to the project’s mitigated negative declaration report, the displacement of tenants was not deemed “substantial,” because an estimated 23 people would be displaced compared to the nearly 7,000 housing units in Grass Valley.

The report also found the homes had no historical significance, despite claims from some public commenters who felt the cottage or cabin-style homes were a representation of early miner dwellings. It also noted the area is zoned Office Professional, meaning the residential use would be phased out eventually.

The Department of Toxic Substances Control found that because Highway 49 used to run through the area, soil could have been exposed to aerially deposited lead from car gasoline. Soil samplings will be taken.

According to resident Kathy Tillett, in anticipation of the project — which came before the city as a 99-room hotel in 2018 — maintenance on the properties has declined. She asked the commission not to allow the demolition if COVID-19 is still a significant factor in 2022.

“If COVID is still present, I don’t think it would be right to kick us all out,” Tillett said.

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

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