Nevada City Planning Commission addresses seating, trail issues in Sugarloaf recommendations |

Nevada City Planning Commission addresses seating, trail issues in Sugarloaf recommendations

Residents might have more seating options in the future while enjoying panoramic views of Nevada City from atop Sugarloaf Mountain.

During a meeting on Thursday, the Nevada City Planning Commission recommended staff to include a provision in the master plan that will guide the use of benches and picnic tables on the 36-acre natural reserve.

“They want to make that a possibility,” said Parks and Recreation Supervisor Dawn Zydonis. “They don’t want it completely written in the plan that we will not allow any more benches or picnic tables.”

Three donated chairs sit on Sugarloaf now, but the current policy restricts the construction of further benches on the mountain, Zydonis said.

Another issue that spurred some disagreement among commissioners and residents was how mountain bikes should use Sugarloaf Mountain.

The center of the debate was whether the city should build a trail that both hikers and bikers could use.

Opponents of a shared trail pointed to the difference in speed between the two user groups as a possible concern; proponents argued that having more than one trail goes against the recommended policies of “being light on the land.”

Zydonis said many people gravitated toward having shared usage on Sugarloaf, but she will discuss the issue with trail designers to work out a solution.

The draft plan is composed of the community input taken from several public meetings, as well as material from a draft master plan developed in 2011 to secure county funding.

“As with any public project, there is a diversity of public opinions, but we did have a lot of consensus on the two items,” Zydonis said.

According to a survey collected by the staff after a Dec. 8 workshop, most residents wanted to add more connections between the mountain and the town, as well as to trails, sidewalks and bike lanes. But many people also saw “minimal uses” and “minimal impacts” as important principles to uphold.

Nevada City purchased Sugarloaf Mountain from the Mull family for $450,000 in 2011. Since then the city has been working toward annexing the open-spaced property so it falls within the city limit.

Zydonis said part of the reason for that effort is so the city doesn’t have to go through the county when it comes to the regulation of the property.

“Even though a lot of the ordinances are very similar,” Zydonis said, “it is still best to fully own it and feel fully be responsible for it.”

The revised draft plan will be submitted to the city council in a February meeting.

“There are a lot of ideas, they are all good ideas,” said Zydonis. “It’s just figuring out what we feel is best for the city.”

To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, please call 530-477-4236, or email

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