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Poston: City needs to plan for growth without gridlock

Chauncey Poston hears plenty about housing and planning for Grass Valley’s future as a real estate agent and as a member of the Grass Valley City Council.

In both roles, the first-term council member and Coldwell Banker Grassroots Realty agent must navigate the city’s biggest conundrums. That’s not getting any easier, he said.

“There are 40,000-plus people on city streets during the day,” Poston said of his town of a little more than 13,000.



While those added people may visit the city to shop, work or vacation, they still expect a certain standard, said Poston, 59.

“The city needs to satisfy the needs of the community with services (people) come to know and expect,” Poston said.




Housing that working people can afford to buy or rent is one expectation the city isn’t meeting, Poston said.

“We have to get a good handle on the affordable housing issue,” Poston said.

The type of affordable housing available and the income criteria for low-income home buyers could be part of the problem, he said.

The city itself needs to plan better, Poston added.

Planning for

the future

In the past, Grass Valley hasn’t planned for key infrastructure improvements as well as it should have, but that is changing, Poston said.

The city set aside funds planning for anticipated vehicle and technology replacement in the new budget, Poston said. But planning for future city growth is more difficult to gauge with the recent downturn in the real estate market, he said.

Builders have received approval to erect more than 600 new houses around town – but haven’t built them, Poston said.

Also, the potential of large developments proposed in the next 13 years remains uncertain. Proposals for Kenny Ranch and Northstar already have been slashed.

And when asked when the real estate downturn could turn back up, Poston replied, “I have no idea.”

Whatever happens with the real estate industry, the city needs transportation improvements in the short term, Poston said.

“The key would be for us to grow and not hit gridlock,” Poston said.

But the city doesn’t have enough money to pay for all of its transportation needs, and another half-cent sales tax measure appears likely, Poston said.

“I’m beginning to come to that conclusion,” Poston said. A half-cent transportation sales tax earned a majority of votes last year but failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

The Dorsey Drive interchange at the Golden Center Freeway and street repaving top the list of concerns that a new tax measure could pay for, but council members haven’t agreed to move ahead.

“We need to get Dorsey Drive funded,” Poston said.

City officials tabbed the interchange as costing $20 million or more.

Arriving in Grass Valley

The councilman holds a bachelor’s degree in natural resource planning from Humboldt State University. He and his wife, Teresa Poston, arrived in Grass Valley in 1978 when he was part of a federal effort to reclaim old mine sites.

Poston’s plan for Malakoff Diggins never materialized, but the couple liked the area so much they decided to stay.

The Postons have been married for 30 years. They have a 28-year-old son who lives in San Rafael.

In his spare time, Poston golfs, skis and fishes.

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To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail gregm@theunion.com or call 477-4234.


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