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Traffic near proposed homes bemoaned

Judy Cartoscelli was raking leaves in her front yard Thursday afternoon, but you couldn’t hear her over the roar of the cars hurtling down the hill in front of her Red Dog Road home.

“Oh, it’s awful,” Cartoscelli said. “I’ve sent pictures of the accidents to the Board of Supervisors. It’s like a freeway here,” on the last long hill into Nevada City. “If they went the 35 mph speed limit, it would be all right, but they don’t.”

Cartoscelli said most of her neighbors are dead set against the proposed Deer Creek Park II subdivision three miles east, a project that would bring an estimated 1,600 to 2,000 more cars near their homes every day.



“It’s a safety issue,” Cartoscelli said. “I’ve had mailboxes wiped out three times.”

An inordinate amount of the traffic is from SUV drivers, “who think they can go fast because they have four-wheel-drive,” Cartoscelli said. “All the accidents in the snow have been four-wheel-drives out here.”




Cartoscelli and her neighbors’ concerns echoed many others offered earlier this week at a hearing about the subdivision. Three different appeals to the subdivision’s environmental report were rejected by the board.

But the supervisors clearly stated to developer Lance Amaral that they would not speed up the pace of the five-years-and-counting project. In addition, the board will not completely reject the appeals to the environmental report until some questions are answered about how report was conducted.

In the meantime, Amaral expressed relief that the supervisors passed the environmental report.

“Finally, maybe we can start talking about the project,” he said. “After five years, now we can agree on the facts.

“Nobody has been willing to talk,” he added. “But I’m here – give me a call.”

Five questions asked

On Dec. 12, the supervisors hope to receive answers to five remaining questions about the environmental report. They ordered county staff to :

• Clarify the daily trip numbers along Red Dog Road and Boulder Street into Nevada City.

• Outline Red Dog Road improvements that would handle more traffic and fire evacuations.

• Explain how three heritage oaks will not be damaged on the 580-acre property.

• Clarify septic design issues.

• Show that fees and construction of trails would satisfy the recreation impact of the subdivision.

Not all neighbors are pitted against the project.

Karen Howe lives two doors down from Cartoscelli and hopes another road can be cut one day that is higher up the mountain to relieve her road traffic. But as the wife of a contractor who makes a living from growth, she can see the need for housing in an ever-expanding Nevada County.

“I know a lot of my neighbors are against it, but building is going on all over up here,” Howe said. “Traffic is the main issue, and they need a second way out for fire (from the subdivision). But the development is here. That’s the way of the world right now.”

About one-half mile west, where Red Dog Road becomes Boulder Street in Nevada City, Lex Matteini also sees both sides.

“I feel divided,” he said looking out his back window at Deer Creek, his refuge from the Boulder Street noise out front. “Nimby-ism goes too far and people need a place to live.” (Nimby-ism refers to the acronym for “Not in My Backyard,” a sentiment of some who oppose growth.)

For Matteini, it’s more of a philosophical issue about how growth is handled in Nevada County, particularly near and within Nevada City and Grass Valley.

“I’m disinclined to encourage all the cars,” Matteini said. “I’m not against growth, but I would like to see it not be single detached homes where everybody (depends on) a car to get everywhere. We need more high-density places in downtown Nevada City and Grass Valley.”

A few doors down on Boulder Street, Larry Cain of Fresno has a second home that he will one day move to permanently. While fixing the place up the past few years, he constantly heard cars and trucks banging on the potholed pavement in front of his home.

“It was just deafening,” Cain said. “They just got the road paved, but with the load of traffic and trucks, it’s not long before the road deteriorates again. This street really can’t handle a whole lot more traffic.”

ooo

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.

What’s next?

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors will consider appeals to the environmental impact report on the Deer Creek Park II subdivision one final time at its Dec. 12 meeting. Their meeting will include answers and clarifications to five questions raised in this week’s hearing by residents about how the study was handled.

The meeting will start at 9 a.m. at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City. The time when the matter will be heard has not been determined, but can be found a few days prior to the meeting on the county’s Web site under “Supervisors Agendas” at http://www.mynevadacounty.com.

– Dave Moller


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