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Funding for park sought – maybe

Nevada County supervisors voted 4 to 1 Tuesday to pursue a $400,000 grant, which may or may not be used toward the purchase of 154 acres of Loma Rica Ranch land.

The supervisors decided the next order of business should be to work with the property owner and Grass Valley to determine the fate of the 452-acre ranch, which Supervisor Peter Van Zant said has been “fought over, thought over and discussed for years.”



Property owner Fred Knoop is offering the 154 acres for sale to any party that can come up with the $2.4 million price tag.




In the meantime, Grass Valley resident Ester Finster cautioned the supervisors not to drag their feet, considering all the development going on in the county.

“If some big developer comes in tomorrow and purchases this property, we’ll lose the opportunity,” Finster said.

But first, the major players involved in the property need to iron out how much of the ranch should be preserved in open space, park and recreation, and how much should be developed.

An annexation agreement between the county and Grass Valley calls for 53 acres of the property to be set aside for open space.

But the county proposes to buy the additional 154 acres, and is considering a potential purchase of 372 acres to create the Loma Rica Ranch Regional Park.

The proposal would leave intact 80 acres for a mixed use of affordable housing and business opportunities.

“It seems the ultimate goal is to tie up 372 acres in open space and parks and leave only 80 acres for housing,” said Supervisor Sue Horne, who voted against the resolution. “I’m concerned about the balance.”

Nevada City Planning Commissioner Laurie Oberholtzer said there’s “lots and lots and lots” of public support for the proposed regional park.

“I’m so shocked that there’s any opposition to this,” she said.

In the spirit of keeping its options open, the county submitted the $400,000 grant application prior to the Feb. 1 deadline, said Tim Snellings, the county’s director of intergovernmental relations.

But if the county changes its mind or if the county’s plans don’t fit in with what Grass Valley and the property owner have in mind, the application could be withdrawn, Snellings said.

County staff will meet with the property owner and Grass Valley officials Feb. 13, to talk about the future of the property.


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