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New housing on horizon for Nevada County?

One big piece of the real estate market puzzle that has been missing for years is new home development, local realtors say.

In the last 14 years, for example, Grass Valley’s City Council has approved the construction of 14 residential projects, but only a few of those developments actually got off the ground.

Community Development Director Tom Last told The Union last year the projects were approved in the mid-2000s, right before the economy crashed. Currently, only three developments in the city’s sphere of influence are moving forward and only one of those has gotten as far as selling homes.

Ridge Meadows, which sits on a 9.2-acre site on Ridge and Upper Slate Creek roads, has building permits in hand for all 37 lots, said Christine Fore from Homes by Towne. There are 16 homes under contract and 20 under active construction with 21 sites left to sell; none have closed yet, she said.

In the last 14 years, Grass Valley’s City Council has approved the construction of 14 residential projects, but only a few of those developments actually got off the ground.

“We got all our permits at the end of last year so that we could start construction when we were ready,” Fore said.

Fore said there have been some challenges with selling a new home development in Nevada County.

“We hoped to sell out faster, but no signage is a big deal,” she said, explaining that would-be buyers don’t drive around looking for new home developments in Nevada County the way they would in, say, Lincoln or El Dorado.

Some units were sold as soon as they were released, she said, adding, “I don’t anticipate having any problem selling (the rest). “We’re right on par to sell at a pretty decent rate.”

On the Berriman Ranch property, Homes by Towne is developing 30 units near the southern boundary of Grass Valley. According to Last, the developer has submitted an improvement plan. A tree removal permit has been issued and the plan is to stabilize the soil for winter for a next year start, Last said. They still have to submit a final map.

Rob Wood, principal planner at SCO Planning, confirmed last week that Homes by Towne has begun clearing operations.

A development formerly known as Makiah Woods is now Timberwood Estates, a Hilbers Homes project. The 9.25-acre, 46-unit project on Brunswick Road, across from Town Talk Road, has an improvement plan but no final map, Last said.

“They’re getting very close,” Last said. “I doubt they will break ground this year.”

According to builder Conrad Luna, the project is still wading through red tape and is currently six to eight weeks away from getting its needed permits.

“We’re planning on dropping timber and grading,” he said. “At least get the building pads in. If we have a normal winter, we hope to break ground in early spring, so it would be a 2018 project.”

Luna said they were working on plans to price the homes.

“We’re out to bid on the site work,” he said. “We probably won’t know that for a few months.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lkellar@theunion.com.

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