Council: ‘No’ on Managed Growth Initiative |

Council: ‘No’ on Managed Growth Initiative

All five Grass Valley City Council members formally opposed the Managed Growth Initiative late Tuesday, citing potential impacts ranging from crimping low-cost housing to endless and costly lawsuits.

The initiative would limit all future city councils “in providing for the best science, planning concepts, construction techniques, development patterns and infrastructure placement to meet the needs of city residents and businesses,” read, in part, the resolution council members passed 5-0.

No one urged council members to reconsider.

“You’ve got the support of everyone I know,” said area resident Don Herrmann. “You need flexibility. You can’t do this, locking something in for 30 years.”

If voters approve the Managed Growth Initiative in November, the land-use portion of the city’s general plan – conceived to remain in effect until 2020 – would be largely locked in until 2038, unless amended by a vote of city residents.

Initiative supporters say it would give residents a needed voice on projects that would increase the density or the intensity of use of properties slated for development.

But housing for buyers at the low end of market likely would see fewer options. Smaller lot sizes and other land-use variances that make such projects economically viable for developers would require a general vote under the initiative, Community Development Director Joe Heckel told council members.

Many developments in the works on the cutting edge of design – for mixing residences with offices and retail – also would require a general vote, Heckel said.

The initiative also could expose the city to lawsuits seeking to define such matters as which current projects would be affected, according to a staff report.

“We’re not talking about just one lawsuit, but a continuing risk of more than one lawsuit during the 30-year period the initiative would take effect,” City Attorney Ruth Ann Ziegler said. “The city can’t recoup it’s (legal) fees if it wins” a suit, under state law, she added.

To contact City Editor Trina Kleist, e-mail or call 477-4230.

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