Fate of four developments awaits study | TheUnion.com

Fate of four developments awaits study

The fate of four major housing developments in and around Grass Valley hinges in part on a key study examining the economic impact of the proposals, but the study has been held back by repeated delays.

Its release is now expected in early March, city Community Development Director Joe Heckel said.

The city has put the four developments – which encompass about 1,700 acres and plan for more than 3,000 residences – on hold until the study is completed.

The City Council kicked off the study in late 2003 in response to concerns that the four developers are proposing major changes to the mix set out in the 1999 General Plan, the city’s governing document.

In general, the developers would like to build hundreds of additional residences than are laid out in the General Plan.

Mayor Gerard Tassone downplayed the importance of the study, which will compare three scenarios: growth according to the General Plan, growth according to current plans by the developers, and growth according to “market demands.”

“I don’t think it’s the critical pass to tell us how much (to grow),” Tassone said. “It’s just a key piece of information.”

The release of the study won’t give a green light to the developments, Councilman Mark Johnson emphasized.

“I see us taking at least another 12 to 18 months to process (the results) and then see where we’re going to go,” Johnson said.

He said he believes it is particularly important to examine the cumulative effects of the developments, which could take several months.

But developer Brian Bisnett, who is planning the Kenny Ranch proposal off Alta Street and Rough and Ready Highway, said that although he expected the study to take a long time, the delay represents “real money” to the property owners.

“I just hope it gives the city the answers it needs so it can go forward with some pretty complex decision making,” Bisnett said.

Two views of future growth

Following is a comparison of Grass Valley’s four proposed “special development areas” with the expectations laid out by the city’s General Plan:

SouthHill Villages

175 acres

General Plan:

• The city’s governing document doesn’t specify land-use plans for the former Bear River Mill site, but the intent was commercial development, which includes businesses and stores. The City Council then requested the addition of residences, Community Development Director Joe Heckel said.


• Open space – 109 acres.

• Residential – 175-unit multi-family, 80 cottages, 57 large-lot houses.

• Commercial – 138,000-square-foot complex with grocery store, Longs Drugs, clothing, retail, and restaurants and 43,200-square-feet of office space and studio lofts.

North Star

760 acres

General Plan:

• Open space – 175 acres.

• Residential – 363 units on 312 acres.

• Commercial – 20 acres.

• Industrial – 117 acres.

• Employment center – 123 acres.

• School -Three acres.


• Open space and parks – About 310 acres, includes 18-hole golf course, swimming and tennis center and baseball diamonds.

• Residential – 312 acres of 180 affordable houses, 667 small single family houses, 981 large single family houses, 146 multi-family units for seniors, 60 condominiums above stores, 106 large multifamily units.

• Commercial – Nine acres of small shops.

• Business park – 44 acres of offices and other uses.

• Public – Nine-acre school, amphitheater, fire station.

Kenny Ranch

355 acres.

General Plan:

• Open space – 96 acres.

• Residential – 100 units on 150 acres.

• Commercial – 22 acres.

• Employment center – 88 acres.


• Open space – 155 acres.

• Residential – 10 acres small lot houses with 74 affordable and 22 market rate, 96 condominiums on 20 acres, 118 acres of large lots with 88 to 124 houses.

• Commercial – Nine-acre shopping center with grocery store, laundry facility, 12 apartments, cafe, gas station, and building supply store.

• Business park – 20 acres includes 200,000 square feet of offices, 30,000 square feet of storage space, and 29 apartments.

Loma Rica

452 acres

General Plan:

• Open space – 165 acres.

• Recreation – 50 acres.

• Residential – 121 acres with 180 houses.

• Planned employment – 115 acres.


• Open space – 203 acres.

• Parks and organic farm – 101 acres.

• Residential – About 1,000 residences with 42 percent multifamily, 6 percent single family attached, 28 percent small lot single family, 15 percent medium lot single family and 8 percent high-end single family.

• Business park – About 250,000 square feet office and commercial.

• Industrial – About 290,000 square feet industrial and large commercial.

– Becky Trout

*All numbers do not add up because of rounding and the omission of some land uses such as streets.

Sources: Grass Valley General Plan, Sanderson Company, Carville Sierra, Kenny Ranch, Catlin Properties

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