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New water district could open area up to more development

A proposed water district that would stabilize the drinking supply for an area in southern Nevada County could provide a link for more development.

The Nevada Irrigation District Board Wednesday unanimously approved the formation of the Ranchero Treated Water Group Project for 119 parcels on East Hacienda Drive, Pioneer Way and several other roads – but it is not a done deal. The district would open the north of Lake of the Pines and along Magnolia Road to more development.

Property owners still have to vote to set up the district, which would charge them an annual fee for the water service and an estimated $50,000 per hookup.



NID Associate Engineer Tonia Tabucchi Herrera estimated the project’s 7 miles of water mains, hydrants, meters and valves would cost $6 million to build.

“There’s a large group of people out there interested in getting water from NID,” Tabucchi Herrera said. “The reasons are they have wells that are not producing or going dry.”




While the project would benefit a number of paying homeowners, directors Nick Wilcox and Nancy Weber noted that bringing new water into the area could influence future zoning, growth and NID’s interests.

“NID has an overarching interest in this to regionalize the system,” Wilcox said.

Even if parcel owners vote down the water district and the idea dies, NID is still looking at possibly laying pipeline from Alta Sierra to Lake of the Pines to loop its system, according to Chief Engineer Gary King.

Another proposed project for the Brewer Road area south of Alta Sierra in 2013 also could help link the system toward Lake of the Pines, he said.

The board voted unanimously to send notices of possible eminent domain proceedings to owners of 19 properties that have strips of land NID wants for easements for three major projects.

The board at first looked at 20 properties, but one of them settled just prior to the meeting.

Projects include the Lower Cascade Canal/Banner Pipeline Project on Banner Mountain, the Cement Hill Water Supply Project near Nevada City and the Mt. Vernon Road Siphon Project in Placer County.

NID has negotiated with the landowners around the projects over the past few years, and 19 remain who have not accepted the district’s offers to buy the easements.

The parcel owners and NID could end up in court with an eminent domain condemnation proceeding, in which the agency must prove the public needs access to the land. The landowners can protest that, as well.

If the agency succeeds, a hearing would be set to establish the market value of the land in question.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4237.


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