Complaint filed over polluted hotel site |

Complaint filed over polluted hotel site

The owners of the yet-to-be built Nevada City Hotel on Hollow Way have filed a complaint in Nevada County Superior Court this week against the previous owner of the land for allegedly not disclosing that the site was contaminated.

Construction of the 68-room hotel stopped in May after a toxic layer of bright purplish soil left over from a gold-processing plant was discovered on the 1.7-acre site. The layer contains high levels of arsenic and lead said the complaint, which alleges breach of contract against the previous site’s owner, Riebe’s Automotive Parts Inc.

Neither Riebe’s owner Bart Riebe nor Mike Snegg, Nevada City Hotel LLP’s managing partner, could be reached for comment Friday. An ore-processing plant which used toxic chemicals to extract gold operated on the site, according to the complaint filed Wednesday.

Construction started after the lawsuit filed by a group who opposed the hotel plans was settled in January.

The site was purchased for $325,000 from Riebe’s Automotive Parts Inc. of Auburn on Feb. 11 and work began May 1, said the complaint. It also names Holdrege and Kull Inc. of Nevada City, a company that does soil testing.

The site cleanup, added construction costs, profit losses and the possibility that the hotel may never be built add up to damages exceeding $2 million, the complaint said.

Nevada City Hotel’s representatives are seeking unspecified damages and reimbursement for all court costs. They also want the real estate deal rescinded, according to the complaint.

Nevada City City Manager Mark Miller on Friday said the latest information the city has is that the owners will continue to clean up the site.

City officials on Friday said they understand the hotel project will proceed.

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