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County to review housing program

Hopes of salvaging Nevada County’s unused second-dwelling program will be addressed Wednesday by a recently formed task force.

Since the program formed a year ago, no one has taken part. It was supposed to attract up to 30 projects a year over three years. The most commonly cited obstacles are fire restrictions and handicapped-accessibility requirements.

The program prohibits homeowners from building second homes on their property if they live in a “high risk” fire zone – a classification that includes most of the county.



And since second dwellings are limited to 1,000 square feet, some people who have inquired about the program showed frustration about design requirements. Last week, for example, a frustrated south county woman told county supervisors that handicap-accessibility rules require bathrooms that take up roughly 20 percent of the floor space.

After debate about whether the meetings should be open to the public – Board Chairwoman Sue Horne was concerned public input would bog down the recommendation-forming process – a task force was formed.




The supervisors’ decision to form a task force – rather than an ad hoc committee not bound by the Brown Act – came after Task Force Chairwoman Barbara Bashall, of the Nevada County Contractors Association, encouraged transparency to avoid controversy.

On Wednesday the task force will discuss accessibility standards, the permit process, deed restrictions, fire safety and other issues.

The eight-member group must report recommendations within 45 days.


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