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Traffic vote delayed for third time

For the third time, the city of Grass Valley has delayed a vote on a resolution that would lift traffic restrictions at a busy intersection and allow nearby developments to move forward unimpeded.

The vote had been scheduled for Tuesday, but Mayor Gerard Tassone said Thursday that discussion and a vote on the resolution have been rescheduled for the following City Council meeting.

That meeting starts at 7 p.m. March 28.



Sacramento lawyer William Abbott, who is working with the city on traffic issues, continues work on the legal opinion and a written response to the council. City Attorney Ruthann Ziegler will review the opinion.

The intersection of East Main Street, Idaho-Maryland Road and the Golden Center Freeway has been at the center of traffic concerns for several years.




Under current city policy, adopted in January, an improvement to solve the intersection’s congestion must be funded and a contract signed before new developments planned for the area could move ahead unimpeded.

Currently, several businesses planning developments in the area have conditions imposed to reduce their projects’ traffic impacts. Their projects are at various stages of the planning and construction process.

The single-lane roundabout being proposed for the intersection is expected to receive approval by the California Department of Transportation in the near future. A contract could be signed in 12 to 14 months, Tassone said. That trigger would remove the conditions on the businesses.

But several of the business owners involved say waiting will cost them tens of thousands of dollars.

In February, a subcommittee of Tassone and Councilwoman Lisa Swarthout proposed lifting the restrictions at the intersection altogether. An outpouring of public comment, including a legal opinion presented by Citizens Concerned About Traffic, prompted the council to postpone the vote until March 2.

The March 2 vote was delayed so that Abbott could be present to explain his legal opinion to the council.

The debate is being fought on technical legal terrain involving arcane language in a part of the city’s General Plan, called Policy 7CI. The policy gives the council the option of relaxing its guidelines for wait-times at intersections, which is the stumbling block for the affected businesses.

The legal debate is over whether the situation at the East Main/Idaho-Maryland intersection meets the conditions for applying Policy 7CI.

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To contact staff writer Trina Kleist, e-mail tri nak@theunion.com or call 477-4231.


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