Key vote Tuesday on Yuba Highlands
Yuba County Supervisors on Tuesday will decide whether to give a developer the right to build 5,100 homes next to the Spenceville Wildlife Area.
Western Nevada County residents worry the Yuba Highlands project could interfere with wildlife at the reserve, pour traffic into county roads, increase the level of ozone flowing up the hill on warm days and encroach on Beal Air Force Base nearby.
“It’s the whole shebang. It’s the shooting match,” said Yuba County Supervisor Hal Stocker. He represents the fifth district where the project is planned and has voted against it in the past.
Developer Gary Gallelli has said the project would create 9,700 new jobs and pour $840 million into the local economy.
Supervisors meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Board Chambers at 915 8th Street, Marysville, to decide whether to approve the developer’s area plan for the project. Locals are organizing carpool rides and will depart at 4:45 p.m. from the Eric W. Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City.
Overturning the Yuba Highlands project would become more difficult if the county approves the area plan and the accompanying entitlement paperwork, said Richard Thomas, chairman of Friends of Spenceville. He predicts litigation would follow if supervisors approve the development.
Stocker predicted supervisors Dan Logue, John Nicoletti and Don Schrader would approve the project.
“If one of those did not vote for the project, I would be surprised,” Stocker said.
Several hurdles remain before work can begin, including approval of transportation, water and sewer plans.
“I don’t know how it will work if it gets approved, because there are so many questions that haven’t been answered,” Stocker said.
Opposition groups say the project will encroach on Beale Air Force Base and the state’s protected 12,000-acre Spenceville Wildlife Area. They also say residents would have to commute to work, increasing traffic on a road proposed to pass across the reserve.
“It’s 20 miles from anywhere,” Thomas said.
In May, supervisors filed a motion of intent to reject an appeal to the project’s environmental report. A large crowd from Nevada County attended the hearing, and Thomas predicted another big turnout.
“You can kind of work hard and reach a burn-out” when fighting projects like this, Thomas said. “I hope we haven’t reached that point.”
To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4231.
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