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Noise study ordered for bus barn

School officials took another step Monday toward what they hope will be a better bus barn by ordering a noise study of the current location.

The site on East Bennett Street, where school buses have been housed since 1961, includes buildings that aren’t safe for employees, but is a good central location for students, school district superintendents say.

Nevada Joint Union High School District, which owns the four-acre property along with the Grass Valley, Nevada City and Pleasant Ridge school districts, applied in May to rezone a portion of the bus barn, tear down two old buildings, and rebuild one.



The county Planning Commission denied that request June 27, stating that the industrial use is inconsistent with the county’s or Grass Valley’s General Plan.

School officials appealed to the county Board of Supervisors in August, but the board told them they must conduct a noise study and obtain the blessing of Grass Valley before they can rebuild the facility.




Grass Valley city staff support the project, according to city manager Gene Haroldsen.

Monday, school officials decided they would pay about $3,400 for a study of noise levels at the site.

Results may be available in five or six weeks, said Ken Baker, an engineer at Nevada City Engineering.

Even if noise levels turn out to be above the 45 or 50 decibels of ambient noise allowed in the neighborhood, the supervisors may decide that there’s an “overriding public benefit” to having the bus barn where it’s been for 41 years.

School officials have searched for three years without success for another centrally located site zoned for industrial use.

Moving the 61 buses farther out from town could drive up the costs of transporting 13,000 children.

The school districts expected the building to be rebuilt two years ago for $350,000, but the new conditions may double the cost.


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