Study forecasts housing needs |

Study forecasts housing needs

The first study examining the effects of four massive developments proposed for Grass Valley has found that the city will need to annex 100 acres for commercial and office development and space for 2,180 households in the next 16 years.

Spaced six to an acre, the residences would take up 363 acres of new city space.

The study was released a year after city leaders – using money from developers who hope to build Kenny Ranch, Loma Rica Ranch, SouthHill Village and Northstar – hired Applied Development Economics to figure out the implications of the developments.

The four developments are proposing nearly 3,400 residential units and numerous stores and offices.

Mayor Patti Ingram called the first section of the report “tremendously interesting.” It compiles current trends based on surveys and census statistics to project how the city will grow in the next decade and a half.

The development of housing, commercial and office space predicted by the report is also expected generate 4,500 jobs.

These growth projections are slightly higher than previous estimates contained in the city’s General Plan, Community Development Director Joe Heckel said.

Several trends are driving the expansion. Household size in western Nevada County is shrinking – down from 2.53 people per residence in 1990 to 2.46 in 2003. With fewer people per home, more homes are needed.

And at $288,000, Grass Valley’s average home price is attractive to many Placer County workers, though it remains unaffordable for most Grass Valley residents.

Although they have little money and are generally older – 22 percent are over 65 – Grass Valley residents have access to plenty of jobs, the report states. The city has 1.7 jobs per residence, which the state of California considers a healthy balance.

But western Nevada County has a “severe shortage” of jobs – there are only .7 jobs per residence, the report states.

Grass Valley also has significantly fewer homeowners than surrounding areas. Only 44 percent own a home, well below the 79 percent of western Nevada County residents who are homeowners.

The report is available on the city’s Web site at Click on “study” under the SDA section.

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