Annexation of Bear River Mill site on agenda for Grass Valley City Council |

Annexation of Bear River Mill site on agenda for Grass Valley City Council

Tonight’s Grass Valley City Council meeting will feature a public hearing on the potential annexation of 120 acres of land at the southern tip of the city’s sphere of influence, near Highway 49 and McKnight Way

The acreage in question includes a majority of the former Bear River Mill site and several prominent industrial enterprises that are currently outside city limits.

Four specific businesses have sought a pre-annexation agreement with the city, including Hansen Brothers Enterprises, Kilroy’s Auto Dismantling, Rare Earth Landscape Materials, and Vulcan Materials.

According to a report from city staff, all four businesses have some common operating characteristics such as loud noise, light pollution, and hours of operation that occasionally take place in the middle of the night.

Those factors could become serious issues, given the city’s plans to zone some of the nearby land for residential use.

At a January meeting of Grass Valley’s planning commission, Orson Hansen of Hansen Brothers Enterprises voiced serious concerns about problems that might arise if the city allowed developers to build housing near his business.

“It will lead to problems,” Hansen said.

“We’re noisy. Sometimes we’re very early, sometimes we’re very late,” he said. “There’s lights and there’s backup alarms, and there’s no way around it.”

The residential aspects of this plan haven’t changed since Hansen made that comment. But Tom Last, Grass Valley’s community development director, said those issues are addressed by the plan in its current iteration.

Last told The Union that the pre-annexation agreement being sought by those four industrial companies, including Hansen Brothers Enterprises, will allow them to continue operating without changing their practices to accommodate incoming development.

“This agreement just gives them another layer of assurances that the city’s not going to put conflicting land uses next to them or zone them out of existence,” Last said. “The council wants to protect those businesses. They’re excellent job creators.”

The city also hopes this annexation will address economic issues, including $200 million in annual retail leakage and the need for vacant commercial properties with industrial zoning.

“Our inventory of industrial land is very low in both the city and the county,” Last said. “Over the past year and a half, there have been businesses looking to expand, and there’s very little room for them to do that right now.”

The Grass Valley City Council will meet at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 125 East Main St.

Other items on the agenda include the county’s abandoned vehicle abatement program and a $100,000 budget amendment to cover $337,699 public works contract for modifications to the city’s sewer system that will cost significantly more than anticipated.

To contact Staff writer Dave Brooksher, email or call 530-477-4230.

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