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40-unit subdivision proposed

The Union StaffA rendition of the proposed housing project.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Forty moderately priced houses could be built sometime next year on five acres off of Nevada City Highway that are slated to be annexed into Grass Valley.

The one-, two- and three-bedroom, one-story houses could be sold for $175,000 to $225,000, developer Bill Ross of Smartville said Tuesday after city officials completed a preliminary review of the project. Construction could begin next summer, he said.

The subdivision, named The Highlands, will be off of Nevada City Highway next to House of Print and Copy.



This will be work force housing, project architect Lee Hayes said Tuesday.

“Everybody is screaming for this type of housing. … It’s so badly needed,” he said. “We can’t just become a rich man’s community. Not everybody can afford a $500,000 house.”




“To buy a home in this area is next to impossible,” added Hayes, who is based in Grass Valley.

The preliminary plans show one-, two- and three-bedroom houses sized 686 to 1,088 square feet with covered porches.

The Planning Commission will have to adopt the plans – possibly early next year – before the project can be built.

Half the property is under the county’s jurisdiction and scheduled to be annexed into the city, along with neighboring properties. In order for the project to go forward, the Nevada County Local Agency Formation Commission will have to agree to have the land annexed into the city.

Ross said he will not seek state, city or federal grants to subsidize the project.

The subdivision is being developed as a “planned-unit development,” a type of zoning that allows construction on smaller – and cheaper – lots.

Joe Heckel, community development director, said a mechanism will have to be put in place to ensure the houses remain affordable when they are sold.

The city recently applied for a $35,000 state-administered grant to find the best way to promote more work force housing. If approved, the city will have to contribute $8,750 to the study.

The funds would pay for a study to identify properties within the city limits available for such projects, design a model work force housing project that can be replicated, and draw new city rules for housing of this type.

The October residential median sale price for a house was $244,000 for Grass Valley and $285,500 for western Nevada County, Nevada County Board of Realtors’ data show.


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