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The news that Western Sierra Medical Clinic is opening a clinic in Penn Valley is tremendously significant. The clinic, which is expected to open later this year, will offer numerous services, including primary care, pediatrics, specialists and dental services.

Over 1,000 Penn Valley residents who are currently driving up the hill for medical services will soon be able to receive care much closer to home. Many of you may even be able to walk from your homes. This is especially good news for veterans living in the area, who can utilize some of their medical benefits at local, private clinics.

With fewer cars driving up the hill, it will make a positive difference for air quality and individual costs. We can also expect to see another benefit in the way of jobs. The clinic will add new employees, who, in addition to the clients coming from out of the area, will use local products and services and serve those who will no longer need to drive out of Penn Valley.

This new development is one of several projects that will benefit our Penn Valley economy — including the new sewer connection, improvements to Penn Valley Drive and progress toward a new Cultural Center with expanded library services. All exciting changes!

As mentioned in the article that ran in the Sept. 25 issue of TWI, I am reaching out to community members to help identify what types of medical services you feel are needed in Penn Valley. I personally would like to see urgent care included in the services offered at the new clinic.

Therefore, I invite you to call me at 265-1480, e-mail me at or write to me c/o the Board of Supervisors office, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City, CA 95959 and let me know your thoughts.

I also plan to hold the discussion at a community meeting in the next few months. As soon as I have set a date and location I will announce it in an upcoming edition of TWI.

You also may be aware that the Board of Supervisors is considering changes to the current Hazardous Vegetation ordinance. The current ordinance essentially helps property owners to meet the state’s requirement for 100 feet of defensible space, if part of that 100 feet extends onto a neighboring unimproved parcel of five acres or less.

In May 2015 the Board directed staff to make certain changes to further reduce fire risk to residential structures and save lives. Staff brought back a draft ordinance on Sept. 22 that incorporated the following key changes:

• Removes the five-acre minimum size requirement, making it apply to all parcels regardless of size.

• Requires both improved and unimproved parcels to assist in meeting defensible space requirements on neighboring properties.

• Requires 15 feet of clearance on each side and 15 feet of vertical clearance along roads for emergency ingress and egress.

• Requires unimproved parcels in residential zones to provide a 50-foot fuel modification break, if adjacent to improved parcels.

Public members who spoke at the hearing were generally supportive of the proposed changes, but after a number of questions and Board discussion, the ordinance was returned to staff for further modifications. We expect it to be brought back to the Board for adoption by the end of this year, which should give property owners ample time to prepare for the next fire season.

Finally, also on Sept. 22 the Board of Supervisors approved moving forward with the Property Assessed Clean Energy program, or PACE.

As I reported earlier, the County had issued a Request for Proposals for a third party to administer the program. The program that was selected, Placer County’s mPower Program, will work with applicants directly to secure loans they can use to make certain clean energy retrofits such as solar.

Staff is now preparing the necessary documents to establish mPower Placer as Nevada County’s PACE program provider. Once the documents are finalized, we expect the program to be operational by March 2016. Businesses interested in becoming an approved contractor should contact mPower through their website,

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