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Nevada County to vote Aug. 12 on outside events ordinance

Keri Brenner
Staff Writer

A second public hearing and vote on Nevada County’s proposed outside events ordinance has been postponed until the Aug. 12 meeting of the board of supervisors.

Nevada County Counsel Alison Barratt-Green said the delay from the original July 22 meeting date was at the request of some of the public members of a subcommittee working on revisions to the proposed regulation.

“Some of the public members wanted to have one more subcommittee meeting before the matter comes before the board,” Barratt-Green said. “So we pushed (the vote) back.”

The third and final subcommittee meeting, which was not open to the general public, was on Thursday. Earlier meetings were June 4 and July 1.

“Some of the public members wanted to have one more subcommittee meeting before the matter comes before the board. So we pushed it (the vote) back.”
Nevada County Counsel Alison Barratt-Green

“We will be proposing some revisions (to the supervisors) based on comments we’ve received,” Barratt-Green said of the progress so far. “Not everyone will be getting what they want.”

Barratt-Green said while some business people are predicting huge economic losses to the local wedding, tourism and events industry, “there are many, many very legitimate venues in Nevada County that will not be impacted at all.”

She said, for example, venues that already have or are applying for a conditional use permit — “churches, Harmony Ridge Resort” — will not be affected by the ordinance.

Two other wedding and event venues have decided not to apply for a conditional use permit, but not as a result of the proposed ordinance, Barratt-Green said.

“It was their business decision not to go forward,” she said.

At the same time, however, a manager for Sysco Inc., a major Northern California catered food distributor, told The Union this week that eight events at two large venues in the Truckee-Tahoe area have canceled their plans in Nevada County as a result of the proposed ordinance.

The events, which included at least one large wedding and multiple activities from Silicon-Valley-based corporate clients, have moved their events to Mariposa and El Dorado counties, he said.

“No one’s even mentioning the impact in eastern Nevada County,” said the manager.

Barratt-Green said the county was working hard to balance all the competing interests of those who want to enjoy Nevada County’s beautiful outdoor settings in their own ways.

“We have residents and neighbors who have a right to quiet enjoyment of their properties,” she added.

The proposed ordinance would required private property owners in residential neighborhoods who want to hold commercial for-profit events to get a temporary permit, limited to four a year. Weddings and events-industry venues, planners and related vendors said their livelihoods would be destroyed by such restrictions.

A survey done by Nevada City Chamber of Commerce estimates a loss of up to $30 million to the Nevada County economy if the ordinance goes through as planned. Other area business leaders have said they are also concerned about the economic impact.

“While the GVDA supports ensuring the proper controls are put in place, it is not clear that the ordinance as currently written strikes the right balance for everyone,” Steve Rosenthal, treasurer of the Grass Valley Downtown Association board of directors, said in a letter to The Union published Thursday.

“We would like to see more time for public comment and input before a potentially harmful ordinance is put into place.”

Barratt-Green said members of the public who would like to contribute comments on the proposed ordinance may do so at the board of supervisors general email mailbox: bdofsu pervisors@co.nevada.ca.us.

To submit a letter to the editor of The Union, email letters@theunion.com.

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email kbrenner@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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