Scaled-back Kenny Ranch plan could go forward |

Scaled-back Kenny Ranch plan could go forward

A significantly scaled-back Kenny Ranch housing project with beefed up open space on the outskirts of Grass Valley could proceed as a Nevada County project instead of a city project.

It is the third development to come before local governments in recent weeks with changes to vastly reduce once-ambitious proposals as the housing market remains unstable, and local residents prove their resolve to oppose large developments in western Nevada County.

Developers of Deer Creek Park II, outside Nevada City, and of Northstar, just south of Grass Valley, also have brought in greatly reduced plans this spring. They come after years of public anguish and hundreds of thousands of public and private dollars spent in studies and engineering work.

Grass Valley City Council members approved the first step toward taking the Kenny Ranch subdivision out of the city’s future development plans. But city leaders said at a special meeting late Monday they want an agreement with the county to protect the city’s interest in how the project unfolds.

Kenny Ranch, considered one of the city’s large development areas, originally included 389 single-family homes within 107 acres at Ridge Road and Rough and Ready Highway, west of the city. The plans included 20 acres for a business park, 12 acres for commercial and office space and 187 acres for open space.

But revisions to the 2005 plans unveiled Monday scaled back the development to 77 houses – closer to what general plans for both the city and county had allotted to the property’s more than 300 acres in the first place.

The new plan enlarges open space to 235 acres and puts it under management by the Nevada County Land Trust, said Jon Blinder, of property owner Deer Creek Partners. That land would remain open space in perpetuity, he said.

The revised plan eliminates business park and commercial/office space, but increases acreage for Hospice of the Foothills – which breaks ground at 10 a.m. Friday on a parcel donated by owner Phil Lester – and a fire station.

“We have listened to what the community wants,” Blinder said.

The developer no longer seeks a footprint of several hundred homes, Blinder said.

“It’s 77 and out,” Blinder said.

Council members said they saw little reason to stop Deer Creek Partners from moving ahead with the new plan.

“This project was never contiguous to the boundary of Grass Valley,” said Councilman Chauncey Poston.

While Kenny Ranch falls within the city’s sphere of influence, up to 400 acres of unincorporated property between the city limits and the proposed development, would need to be incorporated to connect it to the city, Poston said. “To me, that was a burden.”

“It’s an area probably better suited for county development,” said Mayor Mark Johnson, referring to the number of bikers who use Rough and Ready Highway and Bitney Springs Road.

Still, one council member expressed disappointment that the business park and commercial/office space portion of the plan was scuttled.

“I’m a little concerned about our loss of the business park,” said Councilwoman Jan Arbuckle. “I would hate to give that up and have all that future revenue from the property go to the county.”

An update on processing the project application with the county, considering a development agreement among the city, county and developer, and proposed changes to the city’s 2020 General Plan could come back to the City Council in one to two months, Community Development Director Joe Heckel said.


To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail or call 477-4234.

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