Slope-building restrictions may be eased |

Slope-building restrictions may be eased

Almost a year after the Nevada County Board of Supervisors asked planners to tweak restrictions on building slope-straddling homes, the issue is set to go before the public.

Currently, the county’s zoning regulations prohibit a home from being built on slopes steeper than 30 percent when there are other areas on a property that are less steep. Based on those guidelines, supervisors about a year ago upheld the decision not to allow a building permit for a home overlooking the South Yuba River in the Washington area.

Although the board agreed to deny the building permit, members later voted 4-1, with Supervisor Barbara Green dissenting, to have the county planning department study the possibility of changing the regulation.

“There has been a lot of concern expressed by this Board of Supervisors that the regulation is too restrictive and it needs to be modified,” said Stephanie Wagner, an associate planner with the county.

What is now being proposed, and what the county Planning Commission will address on March 11, is allowing construction of a single-family home on slopes of 30 percent or more if the parcel was created before Oct. 12, 1981, regardless of whether there are alternative building sites less than 30 percent.

Such a slope can be illustrated by a rise of 30 feet over the length of 100 feet.

The current regulation states that if a parcel has no areas less than 30 percent and was created before 1981, the owner can build but must have an approved management plan to address engineering and erosion issues.

According to the county zoning regulations, the purpose of the steep-slope restriction is to “preserve the natural, topographic and aesthetic characteristics of steep slopes and to minimize soil erosion, water quality impacts, earth movement and disturbance and the adverse impacts of grading activities.”

Wagner said the planning department “knows how many undeveloped parcels are in the county, but we don’t know how many are constrained by the regulations.”

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