Planners embrace senior housing |

Planners embrace senior housing

In another sign that the county’s large elderly population is drawing economic interest, a major senior housing project was unfurled by the Grass Valley Planning Commission Tuesday night.

Commissioners did not vote on the matter, but they embraced the proposed Gold Country Village. It would put 160 apartments and 15 home lots on 15 acres on East Main Street near Sierra College Boulevard, according to developer Zach Stamas, of Roseville.

The village also would include a new home for the Gold Country Community Center, an organization used primarily by seniors that is now housed at the Nevada County Fairgrounds; but the group is losing its lease and has been looking for a new home for months.

The city has been working with Stamas and the existing senior center to incorporate the center into his project, city Planning Director Tom Last said.

“The senior center there will be a nice fit,” Stamas said. As for the housing, “You have to have the demographics for a project; you can’t just like the area, and our research shows it’s needed in the community.”

With relatives who live in the Grass Valley area, the developer said he was well aware of senior needs in Nevada County. Stamas currently has senior housing and other apartment complexes in Rocklin, Roseville and Sacramento.

The village would sit next to the soon-to-open Chapa De Indian Health Program clinic ” which serves all people ” and be within walking distance or short bus and taxi rides to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, doctors, restaurants and shopping.

“This is a really exciting project, and I like the idea,” said Commissioner Eleanor Kenitzer.

“I like the project,” added Commissioner Larry Hoffman. “Senior living and the senior center there are good things to have.”

Plans include the 2,350-square-foot senior center, plus a 3,300-square-foot community building, Stamas said.

The proposed development also would build an extension of Joerschke Drive to go across Main Street and up the hill. The road could one day lead into Sierra College for a second access to the school and the surrounding neighborhood, Last said.

While the Gold Country Village is pondered, Nevada City officials are looking at plans to turn about 40 motel rooms at the Northern Queen Inn into senior apartments.

Earlier this week, Last said there was no particular trend toward senior housing units in Grass Valley, but western Nevada County’s strong elderly demographics apparently are drawing market interest.

Six years ago, Eskaton Village opened near Nevada Union High School. Its 137 apartments and 130 small homes have been filled or near capacity ever since, marketing director Tracie Jarosh Krause said.

“They say the economy is having a downturn, but we’re really busy,” Krause said.

“Adult children have their parents moving up here” to keep them close by and because Bay Area and Los Angeles prices for senior facilities are much higher, she said.

Idaho-Maryland Mine EIR

In other news, commission members set a 2 p.m. Oct. 21 date to visit the Idaho-Maryland Mine, after which a regular Planning Commission meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The long-awaited environmental impact report for the mine will be ready sometime in October, with a 45-day public review scheduled before any Planning Commission or City Council votes are cast.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call 477-4321.

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