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Grass Valley reviews O’Reilly Auto Parts proposal

The Grass Valley Development Review Committee met Tuesday morning to review a conceptual development application that proposes to demolish an existing two-story office building, located next to the Dollar General on Nevada City Highway, and construct a new building for an O’Reilly Auto Parts business.
John Hart/jhart@theunion.com | The Union

The Grass Valley Development Review Committee met Tuesday morning to review a conceptual development application that proposes to demolish an existing two-story office building, located next to the Dollar General on Nevada City Highway, and construct a new building for an O’Reilly Auto Parts business.

O’Reilly’s corporate architect, Mark Bergquist, submitted an application to demolish the 16,000-square-foot office building that currently houses several local offices, including the FREED Center for Independent Living, a local disability resource center.

In its place, Bergquist proposes an 8,860-square-foot building with 35 parking spaces for an O’Reilly Auto Parts store that would relocate to 2059 Nevada City Highway, from its current location at 121 Olympia Park Road.



“(The move) is all based upon the expansion of all their stores,” Bergquist said. “This year, they’re expanding a little over 100 stores. They’re wanting to compete with AutoZone and cover all the market zones.”

Bergquist said the O’Reilly company does not currently own the property, which is up for lease through Sperry Van Ness Highland Commercial, but added that they plan to acquire it before moving forward.



“O’Reilly does not have this property under contract,” Sperry Van Ness Managing Director Lock Richards said. “This is just a hypothetical exploratory thing at this point. They do not control the property, they are not under contract, they’re doing this to see if they could potentially locate there. … If this does go into contract the tenants’ leases (are in) control, they’re not going to get ousted or anything like that. They would get whatever notice is required in their lease.”

The current .87 acre site is zoned for commercial use, and the new auto shop is proposed for the southern property line, while a trash enclosure will be located on the eastern side.

On Tuesday, Grass Valley Senior Civil Engineer Trisha Tillotson gave feedback on potential concerns she had for the project, which included minimal space between the driveway and the street’s intersection, and insufficient backing space on the property.

Tillotson also said the property needed a sufficient oil and water separation system, a sewer backflow device, and grading and tree removal permits.

A traffic study may also be required, based on the parking space additions, said Tillotson.

Grass Valley Deputy Fire Marshal Jeff Wagner stressed the building’s need for up-to-code fire sprinklers and an onsite water supply.

Wagner said the property needed to provide space and access for fire services in the event of a fire, along with fire lane signage.

Planning Commissioner Yolanda Cookson stressed the importance of the building being aesthetically appealing.

“There has to be some variation, otherwise it’s going to look like a baby Dollar General,” said Cookson. “I just need something more than what we’re seeing here. Just because it’s an auto parts store, it can be a beautiful auto parts store. Aesthetically, I would like it to be a prettier place.”

City Architect Tony Rosas concurred, asking that Bergquist come back with more design ideas and samples for the committee to look at.

“We don’t like to stymie anybody, but the architecture is very important to us,” Rosas said. “It really is important to our community. That’s why people come here, that’s why they visit, that’s why we live here, and we just have a little higher standard than you’re going to get from the valley from Sacramento down to Fresno. A lot of that architecture is pretty standard.”

Community Development Director Tom Last said the next step for Bergquist is to come back for another conceptual review, then file a formal application that would be considered for approval by the Planning Commission. That process could take around five months, and Bergquist said there would be an additional two months on his end before they would begin construction.

FREED Executive Director Ana Acton said her organization knew the building had been up for lease as early as two months ago and that they will eventually be looking for a new location if the proposal goes through.

“We’re looking to find a location that is centrally located, and near public transportation,” Acton said. “We have a couple years left on our current lease, so we’ll be working with the developer and the realtor to make that transition as smooth as possible to move to a new location if this does come to fruition.”

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.


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