NC affordable housing plan moves forward
A plan to limit the size of future residential developments in Nevada City passed its first test Monday.
The Nevada City City Council voted 4-1 for a resolution restricting the size of every new project to the construction of no more than 35 units per year. Larger developments would have to be phased in.
Thirty percent of new houses in residential developments of four or more lots would have to be 1,500 square feet or smaller. Twenty percent of new houses would be required to have a second unit of 350 square feet to 650 square feet.
The idea is to provide affordable housing while tailoring new projects to the city’s size, proponents claim.
City Attorney Jim Anderson said Tuesday he will draft an ordinance, a step that could take a few weeks.
City Councilman David McKay first proposed the guidelines more than a year ago. The city needs to specify what it wants from developers, he said Tuesday. The proposal is also designed to promote affordable housing, he added.
“We know what fits this town,” McKay said.
Planning Commissioner Laurie Oberholtzer worked with McKay on the proposal.
A 100- to 200-unit project would overwhelm the character of the city, Oberholtzer told the council Monday. The 35-unit limit is a number that makes sense, she said.
“It’s really not Nevada Cityish to grow in big spurts,” Oberholtzer said.
Councilman Pat Dyer voted for the proposal, saying it will help provide affordable housing in Nevada City.
But Councilman Steve Cottrell said he could not support the resolution, calling it too restrictive and unnecessary.
“I think Nevada City has been very successful in dealing with projects on a case-by-case basis,” he said. “I don’t think we need this ordinance.”
Planning Commissioner Ruth Poulter said the proposal will do “zippo” for affordable housing. A 600-square-foot rental goes for $1,000 a month in Nevada City, said Poulter, who works in real estate. A 1,500-square-foot house costs $300,000, she added.
Skip Lusk, executive officer of the Nevada County Board of Realtors, said Monday the current median asking price for a house in Nevada City is $407,000. One of the biggest factors in the price of a house is often the land cost, Lusk said.
City Planner Paul Cogley said the ordinance could include affordable-housing language to make sure the city meets its affordable-housing goals.
The goals, set by the state, are included in the city’s housing plan. The city’s plan is currently out of compliance; it is scheduled to be updated in 2003.
But Anderson said, “I need more direction before I can write an ordinance regarding affordability,” he said.
Cogley said the ordinance may have to be reviewed by the city’s Planning Commission for comment.
How They Voted
Nevada City City Council vote on a resolution limiting the size of future residential developments in the city.
Pat Dyer …………….Yes
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