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Housing project one step away

For John Martin, waiting for final approval and construction of a collaborative housing project at the corner of Freeman Lane and West McKnight Way is like waiting for the birth of a child.

One key step took four hours of laborious public discussion at the Grass Valley Planning Commission meeting before commissioners approved the proposed 70-unit housing project in a 4-to-1 vote.

“We just can hardly wait,” Martin said, telling commissioners that he and his wife, Claudia, are excited to be closer to having a new home.



The City Council will consider final approval in 30 to 60 days.

If approved by the council, the housing would be the second of its type in the area. CoHousing Partners, the Nevada City-based developer that brought the collaborative housing movement to the United States, completed a 34-unit cohousing project in Nevada City in 2006.




Potentially, the Martins’ new home is in a project called Wolf Creek Village in Grass Valley. It is a cohousing development, which means the residents got together to design their housing complex with a walkable, anti-sprawl neighborhood design.

Clusters totaling 70 homes are expected to have a mix of young families, single residents and middle-aged and older citizens, according to CoHousing Partners.

The Martins’ excitement was muted by several concerns from commissioners and citizens in the surrounding neighborhoods.

They addressed several contentious points during the long debate, including whether enough parking is included, whether corrugated siding is a good design idea and whether more specific requirements are needed for the homeowners’ covenants and restrictions document.

Tony Sorci, a resident of neighboring Carriage House, was one of several who said the project should be considered incomplete because some issues remain unresolved.

“I’m not opposed to this project, but I’m opposed to the extensive removal of trees,” Sorci said citing one of his concerns.

City leaders said the project would retain 41 percent of the trees.

More parking was needed, some said, including Commissioner David Emanuel. He cited parking as one of the reasons he opposed recommending the project.

Plans call for 115 parking spaces, and that meets city requirements, according to city staff. More stringent standards aren’t needed because the senior housing component of the complex requires less parking.

Emanuel also said he didn’t like the color scheme.

The commission’s vote allows rezoning of the 8.26-acre parcel from commercial to high density residential.

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To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail gregm @theunion.com or call 477-4234.


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