Grass Valley determines no EIR needed for Gilded Springs project |

Grass Valley determines no EIR needed for Gilded Springs project

A proposed 30-lot residential subdivision off West Main Street in Grass Valley was farmed by Greg's Organics until last year.
Photo by John Hart/For The Union

Grass Valley city staff have released an initial study and mitigated negative declaration for the Gilded Springs residential project bounded by West Main and Alta streets.

Nevada City architect Tobin Dougherty is proposing 27 higher-end residences on nearly 7 acres off Linden Avenue that was once an orchard and more recently was farmed by Greg’s Organics. He got plenty of pushback from the outset, as a number of neighbors protested the development at a Grass Valley Development Review Committee meeting more than a year ago.

Residents in the area have continued to express a number of concerns including traffic on the already-busy Main Street corridor and the Alta Street “raceway,” as well as the effect of the development on the property’s many springs.

The city’s initial study was released on June 4, triggering a 30-day public comment period. The study and mitigated negative declaration are available online and in the Community Development Department at City Hall.

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According to the document, city staff determined there are no significant adverse effects on the environment from the Gilded Springs project and no Environmental Impact Report is required.

City Planner Lance Lowe has said the development is consistent with Grass Valley’s General Plan and with the current zoning of the parcels. Three floor plans have been proposed: 1,400-1,750 square-foot cottages, 1,800-2,100 square-foot “porch” houses, and 2,175-2,400 square-foot estates, with pricing expected to start in the $400,000s and going up to the $700,000s.

Access, parking and circulation are extensively discussed in the study, with primary access via a newly constructed Ben Taylor Crossing at West Main Street. The city is recommending that connection be made right turn only. A narrow one-way connection onto Alta Street will allow ingress to the development only.

A habitat restoration and enhancement plan has been prepared for Peabody Creek (aka Rhode Island Ravine), that will remove invasive Himalayan blackberry and replace it with native plant species.

Possible drainage issues will be addressed with runoff being directed to “bioretention systems” or to Peabody Creek. The study noted seasonal groundwater fluctuations of at least 7 feet through much of the site, but no wetlands have been documented or mapped within the project.

“Historically … residents located downslope and adjacent to the project site have experienced minor flooding,” the report stated. But the hydrologist found those drainage and flooding issues are likely caused by spring flow and groundwater discharge or surface runoff, and possibly an undersized storm drain system. “It is highly unlikely that runoff from the project will affect flooding conditions along Linden Avenue, provided that drainage features are appropriately designed and sized,” the report continued.

The study found that traffic volumes are not expected to be significantly impacted by the project, but did add some requirements to route traffic flow and eliminate the ability of drivers using the Ben Taylor Crossing to cut through the area.

Once the 30-day comment period is over, the project is expected to go to the Grass Valley Planning Commission, possibly by July 16.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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