BriarPatch Co-op to expand parking lot, build solar panel system |

BriarPatch Co-op to expand parking lot, build solar panel system

BriarPatch Co-op will redesign an existing parking lot to add 37 more parking spaces to its store at 290 Sierra College Drive. Construction is set to begin as early as June.
Teresa Yinmeng Liu/ |

When customers do their day-to-day shopping at the BriarPatch Co-op Community Market in the near future, they will have more space to park their cars while enjoying the shade of a pedestrian walkway constructed under a new solar array system.

During a meeting Tuesday, Grass Valley’s Development Review Committee approved a plan proposed by the co-op to redesign a parking lot in order to add 37 more parking spots.

Also stamped for approval was a solar panel system that would be built over the center parking stalls.

“BriarPatch needs to expand their parking lot to accommodate the patrons and to improve circulation for the site,” said Kevin J. Nelson of Nelson Engineering, who represented the co-op during the meeting. “That’s the primary goal and reason for the project.”

The completed project will provide a loop through the lot for customers, so that instead of hitting a dead end as they drive to the west, patrons will be able to circulate around the central walkway.

The redesign will bring the total number of parking spaces at the shopping center to 170.

The co-op’s facility at 290 Sierra College Drive has continued to face parking deficiency problems since opening in 2007, and many customers have resorted to park on the surrounding streets.

Over the years, the co-op made several attempts to expand the existing parking lot in order to accommodate increasing patron demand. In 2006, the shopping center expanded their parking lot and added 32 more spaces to the west.

The Development Review Committee approved the addition of 52 new parking stalls to the south of the existing lot, but that expansion never took place.

Along with the parking expansion proposal, BriarPatch also plans to construct a solar array system that will sit atop the center parking stalls.

“Using a cleaner energy source to power our store aligns with BriarPatch’s policy to be an environmental steward through our business practices,” said BriarPatch General Manager Chris Maher.

A carport measuring 260 feet by 50 feet will support the solar array system. Representatives of the co-op told The Union that a pedestrian walkway will also be built underneath the solar system to provide access to customers.

According to a news release, it is estimated the new solar system will provide more than 35 percent of the store’s electricity needs.

Committee members approved the solar array with the condition that the store leave a 24-foot wide aisle in the parking lot to allow a fire truck to navigate with ease in the event of an emergency.

BriarPatch representatives said they plan to begin work in June and finish by mid-September to avoid conflict with a busy time for sales.

“The business at BriarPatch tends to pick up when school is in session,” said Nelson. “So hopefully by then the parking lot will be done and all the construction will be finished.”

Officials said they anticipate parking to be impacted during construction, but they will leave some parts of the parking area open while working on the expansion, so customers will have access to vicinity.

For more information on the site plan of the expansion, please visit:

To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, please call 530-477-4236, or email

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