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County OKs mini-storage

A proposal for a mini-storage business just outside the Nevada City limits was approved by the Nevada County Planning Commission after an emotional, four-hour public meeting Thursday.

The 47,400-square-foot facility would offer 273 storage units on Gracie Road, in Nevada City’s sphere of influence.

The project came before the county after Nevada City Council members declined to annex the property. Nevada City code does not allow for mini-storage facilities.



Brothers Roy and Ron Arashi have said a mini-storage is the best use for the land.

Planning commissioners agreed, saying the business is a passive industrial use, while a high-density residential zoning ” another option for the property ” would bring traffic nightmares.




The project’s fate has been followed in Grass Valley, where people opposed to the Managed Growth Initiative on November’s ballot say that measure would lead developers to go just outside city limits to win approval from the county, leaving the city to deal with impacts, but with few means to address them.

Industrial vs. residential zoning

At least 20 people spoke for and against the project for more than an hour. Some voiced concerns of water run-off and toxic soil left from the sawmill that formerly occupied the site.

Others worried about property values declining and the impact of additional light in the night sky. Neighbor Erin Minett collected 269 signatures from people opposed to the project.

Supporters praised the developers as good neighbors.

The sawmill operated there until the mid-1980’s. The brothers said they have improved the neighborhood since they bought the land seven years ago by cleaning up what had become a dumping site.

After the Arashis won approval, Melinda Solis-Day fought back tears.

A neighborhood resident for 25 years, Solis-Day and her family own Nevada City Self Storage, a business bordering the Arashis with 56 vacant units. She plans to appeal the project to the county Board of Supervisors, she said, and has 10 days to do so.

“They’re paving over a little bit of paradise to put in a mini-storage. It’s not an industrial zone. They’re breaking my heart,” said Minett.

The three parcels fronting Gracie Road are zoned for industrial development.

Nevada City’s General Plan, however, designated the parcels as planned development or mixed use and estate residential development.

They plan to build a modern facility while keeping the charm of Nevada City, the brothers said. Proposed building materials include brick siding, Hardie Plank or board and batten walls and a galvanized corrugated metal roof.

“We’ve gone a long way to make sure our facility looks nothing like a mini-storage,” said engineer Roy Arashi, 26.

Several industrial businesses already exist in the area, he added.

“These businesses are what give this neighborhood its special character. Those that don’t like this are maybe living in the wrong part of town,” Arashi said.

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail lbrown@theunion.com or call 477-4231.


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