Nevada City Planning Commission asks for further review of proposed formula business ordinance |

Nevada City Planning Commission asks for further review of proposed formula business ordinance

The Planning Commission of Nevada City handed a potential formula business ordinance back to the city staff for further review during a special meeting Thursday at the city hall.

Through a vote of 4-0, with Vice Chair Pamela Meek abstaining, commissioners asked city staff to conduct a review of some of the city’s existing measures, such as its zoning ordinance and architectural review guidelines.

Commission Chair Brad Croul said the commissioners made the move because they wanted to look at “basically strengthening our existing ordinances, instead of creating a new one, to see if we can keep the same results.”

Staff developed a draft ordinance after a June 25 special meeting of the Planning Commission. Some suggestions offered by the commission members during that meeting included allowing flexibility in some industries and applying the ordinance city-wide.

“As currently proposed, the ordinance prohibits all retail and restaurants, but it will allow certain service industries throughout the city with the condition of use permits,” said City Planner Amy Wolfson in regards to the drafted regulation.

Commission member Dan Thiem said he was not ready to support the measure in its current form, because he could spot some flaws.

“We wanted to encourage local entrepreneurship, but not necessarily to discourage certain types of businesses,” explained Wolfson. ”We don’t really know how that’s going to impact us in the future. It will remain to be seen what the staff reflects.”

During a regular city council meeting on May 27, city officials reviewed options to regulate big-box stores in Nevada City. The three alternatives discussed by the council ranged from least restrictive to most restrictive.

Option B, which falls in the middle of that spectrum, prevailed. Under this ordinance, regulations would apply to chain stores that specialize in retail businesses in the historic district or citywide.

In addition, the ordinance would require businesses to apply for a conditional user permit and or cap; some restrictions would be anticipated.

The City Council then passed the matter to the Planning Commission for review and recommendations.

In April, the city council held a town hall meeting; the overwhelming majority of the participants wanted the city to implement a measure to control the use of formula businesses in the city.

Attendees also questioned how regulation of gas or real estate chain businesses that already exist in the city should be enforced.

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

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