Initiatives put ag land in jeopardy, bureau says |

Initiatives put ag land in jeopardy, bureau says

Two growth limitation measures on the Nov. 4 ballot in Grass Valley would hike the development pressure on agricultural land and open space outside the city, the county Farm Bureau said Tuesday.

Citing fears of disaster for the local economy, the Nevada County Farm Bureau came out against the Limited Growth Initiative after earlier opposing the Managed Growth Initiative.

“The initiatives would push economic growth from within the Grass Valley sphere of influence into the unincorporated areas,” a Farm Bureau statement said. “This would encourage sprawl and place additional pressure on the conversion of farmland and rangeland for development, limiting open space.”

That could lead to economic disaster for Grass Valley, as services and purchase points leave the city limits, the Farm Bureau said.

The bureau’s latest position is in response to the Limited Growth Initiative, offered by Grass Valley Mayor Mark Johnson, city historical committee member Peggy Levine and community volunteer Dennis Cassella. It would limit the number of new housing units to 2,820 by 2020 and force votes on annexations and boundary changes.

The Farm Bureau already had come out against the Managed Growth Initiative from Friends of Grass Valley, a coalition led by Grant Cattaneo and Laurie Oberholzer. That plan would require a citywide vote on most developments that seek changes to the city’s general plan.

Cattaneo has denied any economic consequences, saying his Managed Growth Initiative would simply allow Grass Valley to remain a small town with votes on general plan amendments for growth.

Mayor Johnson said he doubts his Limited Growth Initiative would create lawsuits against the city or push developer costs higher, as detractors have said.

The Farm Bureau has been joined in its opposition to both initiatives by the county’s Economic Resource Council and the Grass Valley/Nevada County Chamber of Commerce.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call 477-4237.

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