Nevada City Bungalows project stalled | TheUnion.com

Nevada City Bungalows project stalled

Project applicants for a six-unit Nevada City townhouse project dubbed The Bungalows, have not been in contact with the city following an Advisory Review Committee meeting held in November of last year.

A tentative subdivision map and site plan were provided in September for the 601 Searls Avenue project that depicted the 1,300-square-foot units surrounding a central garden area with raised planter boxes.

The review committee was tasked with weighing environmental and zoning concerns from the city's point of view as well as those of other agencies including CalFire, Caltrans, and the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District.

The group consisted of Planning Commission Chair Dan Thiem, Commissioner Steffen Hawkins-Snell, and City Planner Amy Wolfson.

“It (deed restriction) can look bad on the title when trying to sell the property. In all practical purposes, developers are trying to shy away from that.”Amy Wolfson

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"I haven't heard anything from him or his architects," Wolfson said. "Essentially he needed to ensure that two of six units were affordable, he might be trying to redesign some of the units. I made it pretty clear in the (review committee) discussion."

Project applicant Steve Bowden did not return calls as of press time.

"The developer didn't want to do a deed restriction," Nevada City Planner Amy Wolfson said.

Nevada City requires that 30 percent of all units in a subdivision must be made affordable to moderate and below moderate income levels.

Having a deed restriction or an affordability plan outlined for the two units allows the city to meet the affordability requirements outlined in the city. However, this can be a deterrent for developers.

"There's some issues with deed restrictions from the developers standpoint," Wolfson explained. "It can look bad on the title when trying to sell the property. In all practical purposes, developers are trying to shy away from that."

The idea of a tiny house community was brought to the city's strategic planning workshop in June and, according to Wolfson, translates into the desire to have affordable housing.

As a result, Wolfson plans on proposing some incentives for developers to provide affordable housing in Nevada City, but that decision will be up to the city council.

"There is a recognition by council members that affordable housing is needed right here," Wolfson said.

To contact Staff Writer Elias Funez efunez@theunion.com, or call 530-477-4230.